There are 18 hydroelectric generators at the Hoover Dam. These generators tend to build up with grease, dirt and oil with use.
The dirtier the generators get the harder they work to run, which leads to the generators heating up. According to Paul Price, Bureau of Reclamation, the generators are more efficient the cooler they are so the goal is to keep the generators free from foreign debris as much as possible.
Previous cleaning method
Before dry ice cleaning, they were hand cleaning the generators with long brushes. The cleaning process required them to reach into small, hard to access holes and in some cases use solvents. Some generators were being cleaned in place, while some were taken apart and given a more thorough cleaning.
Dry ice blasting provided a clean that didn't require disassembly or the use of abrasive solvents that could potentially harm the parts. With dry ice blasting, cleaning time was significantly reduced and the manual brushes were completely eliminated. The results were impressive and the cleaning was much easier.
Dry ice cleaning is effective in the power generation industry because it features:
- Better cleaning results
- Dry cleaning process
- No secondary waste stream
- Improved operational efficiency
- Non-abrasive touch
- Clean in-place option
- Reduced risk of unplanned production stoppages and costly repairs
- Environmentally responsible