In June, the first 'commissioning' activities for the Ecluse project were started. This marks the start of the commissioning of the steam and condensate network. During this phase, all newly-installed parts are thoroughly tested and gradually put into operation. The figure below gives a schematic overview of the different steps towards final usage. The terms are further clarified below.
As soon as the different parts of the installation have been mechanically finished, cleaned and strength-tested, they are given the status 'Mechanical Complete'. At this moment the construction is formally completed and the commissioning can begin.
During ‘cold commissioning’, no steam or condensate is introduced into the Ecluse installation. At present, only the supporting utilities (electricity and instrument air) are operational. This phase mainly serves to ‘dry’ test the control and protection of the entire system; the functionality of the various valves, signals and controls is checked extensively.
During ‘hot commissioning’, the various parts of the installation are filled (step by step) with steam and condensate and put into operation: first the condensate pipe and then the steam pipe. During steaming, the last remains of loose dirt are removed from the system to ensure the cleanliness of the system. Finally, the steam is distributed to the various customers with sufficient flow, pressure and temperature.
Once the entire network has reached its operational pressure and temperature, it must be demonstrated that the installation works safely and correctly within the agreed process parameters. After successful completion of the performance tests, the formal transfer of the installation - the delivery - takes place.
In June, our contractor (AHP) started with the cold commissioning of the condensate pipeline between Indaver/Sleco and Lanxess. The hot commissioning of this part of the network will take place in the coming weeks. AHP will then install the steam pipe at the site of Indaver/Sleco (steaming).
During steaming, steam is blown through the pipe at high speed in various sessions and discharged into the atmosphere. Steaming is not a continuous process. There is a heating phase, a blow-through phase with the power required per step and then a cooling phase. A steam plume is generated during the heating and cooling phase. No high noise emission is expected. During these two phases the contractor guarantees to generate well below 80 dB during a period of 20 to 30 minutes. Ecluse takes the necessary measures in terms of safety and the environment, but some noise during the blow-out phase during a period of 30 to 40 minutes is inevitable (approx. 90 to 100 dB). AHP cannot exactly predict how much noise there will be during a working day. AHP assumes a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 5 periods per working day with intervals of at least 1 hour. The number of periods per day and the number of working days that AHP will blow is dependent on the progress and is difficult to determine.
From mid-August, the cold and hot commissioning of the steam pipeline from Indaver/Sleco will take place from the sites of DP World and Ineos Phenol to the valves at Monument Chemical and Fort Liefkenshoek. This part of the steam blowing process will produce the most noise during a period of 30 to 40 minutes (approximately 105 to 110 dB). AHP cannot predict exactly how much noise there will be within a working day. AHP assumes a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 5 periods per working day with intervals of at least 1 hour. The number of periods per day and the number of working days that AHP will blow is dependent on the progress and is difficult to determine.
If all goes well, the steam pipeline between Indaver/Sleco and Monument Chemical can be commissioned in early September. Subsequently, parallel steam blower actions will be carried out on all branches of the network: to Ineos Phenol, Ashland and Lanxess. The noise level will be considerably lower at this stage than in July and August. It is AHP's aim to produce no sound above 80 dB between 22.00 and 07.00 hours. AHP cannot predict exactly how much noise will be produced in a working day. AHP assumes a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 5 periods per working day with intervals of at least 1 hour. The number of periods per day and the number of working days that AHP will blow is dependent on the progress and is difficult to determine.
A demarcated safety zone will be set up during steaming. From the end of September, Ecluse is expected to deliver the first steam to the customers.
The Ecluse steam and condensate network will be completed during the course of October and then taken into commercial service.
The contractor has installed all 15 pipe bridges on the Ecluse route. The longest, crossing several railways and the public road near the Geslecht, has a total length of 50 meters and a height of 12 meters. The pipelines on the bridges on the site of Monument Chemical are ready to be connected to the rest of the network. All the other pipelines on pipe bridges have already been connected.
Once installed, the pipes are insulated with rockwool. The insulation layer of the steam pipes is approximately 240 mm thick while the condensate pipe has a 60 mm insulation layer. To protect the pipelines from weather influence, they are covered in aluminium plates. These insulation works are in full progress now. Behind Fort Liefkenshoek, they are almost finished. On the Ketenislaan they are beginning. During the month of April, the first tests of the ECLUSE pipelines will be carried out.
Around 20% of the ECLUSE network's total length of 5 kilometres is underground. The longest underground passages are on the Ineos and DP World sites (approx. 600 metres and 200 metres respectively). The underground works have now been completed. The restoration and completion of the sites is ongoing.
At the beginning of 2018, the contractor continued the welding work along the Geslecht from the site of Ineos Phenol in the direction of Ashland. The second part of the pipe bridge over the public road was installed on January 19, after having been postponed twice because of adverse weather conditions. The network contains a total of 15 pipe bridges. The longest conduit bridge is located at the Geslecht and crosses several railways, the public road and the adjacent pipeline. It is made up of three parts, is 50 meters long and 12 meters high. The height of the bridge over the road is approximately 6 meters.
The transport network has a total length of approximately 5 kilometers, of which 20% is underground. The longest underground passages are situated on the site of Ineos (about 600 meters) and DP World (about 200 meters). The underground works on the sites of DP World and Ineos are expected to be completed in February.
In the piping zone behind Fort Liefkenshoek and along the Ketenislaan, most of the welding work has been completed. Insulation works on steam and condensation pipes have been started in the zone behind Fort Liefkenshoek and will continue systematically in the direction of Lanxess. The mechanical works are expected to be completed around April/May.
The construction of the Ecluse network is progressing steadily. A lot of work has been done on the DP World site, where the Ecluse route will be located underground. From Fort Liefkenshoek along the Ketenislaan towards the Lanxess site, the erection of the expansion loops and the interconnection of the prefabricated piping is in full swing. Early 2018, the contractor will continue the welding work along the Geslecht, starting from the site of Ineos Phenol and progressing in the direction of Ashland. This also includes the erection of the expansion loops and the interconnection of prefabricated piping. On Saturday the 18th of November, a pipe rack was installed over the railway tracks along the Geslecht. The tracks were temporarily put out of service in order to place the structure under the high-voltage overhead power lines, using a 700 tonnes crane.
The contractor is continuing the construction of the Ecluse network. A lot of work has been done at the INEOS Phenol site, where the piping will be placed underground. Over the past few months, the contractor has laid more than 50% of the transport network on-site.
Concrete drain wells have been placed at the site of DP World and a few public areas. These drain wells serve as a juncture between underground and above-ground sections of the pipeline.
At the sites of Indaver, Lanxess, Momument Chemical and in public areas, preparations have been made for the installation of pipe racks.
The welding work is now in full progress both behind Fort Liefkenshoek and towards the Lanxess site. In the next few weeks, the elevation of the expansion loops will begin, along with the connection of the different network components.
The last couple of months the contractor has been busy with preparatory work alongside the 'Ketenislaan', the 'Geslecht' and behind the Fort Liefkenshoek. After levelling, pile driving and placing the sleepers, the welders started the first welding jobs for the construction of this part of the Ecluse route. The piling of the poles on the route has been completed, screw piles still need to be screwed into the ground on some places on the Ecluse route. The screw piles will for instance be used to support the new pipe bridge, which will be placed across the railway alongside the Geslecht.
On May the 2nd, the contractor started the piling of the poles at the rear of the sites of INEOS Phenol, ADPO and Monument Chemical. The work will then move along the Ketenislaan for the rest of this route. The placing of the poles on this part of the route will take about 5 weeks. The steel tube poles are placed at a depth of 14 to 20 meters. These poles will serve as the foundation for the installation loops and expansion loops. The 'Waaslandhaven' port area used to consist of fertile polders, so a solid foundation is essential for stability. Extension loops are provided to accommodate fluctuations in temperature in the steel pipelines. At the same time, preliminary groundwork will be carried out for the placement of the concrete sleepers that will support the pipelines. Approximately 240 poles, 660 sleepers and 15 pipe bridges will be put in place for the entire project.
In March, in preparation for the delivery of the steam network components, two temporary buildings were constructed on the sites near Monument Chemical.
One plot is intended for storage of the materials, the other to prepare all the pipelines. The pieces will be merged, welded and finished once they have been delivered to Doel.