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SGS Portugal has managed and supervised all quality-related activities during the upgrade of the Sines Thermal Power Plant in Portugal for the Hitachi-Cobra Consortium.

SGS enabled the smooth workflow in the most critical and complex stages of development.

The main environmental impact caused by the combustion of fossil fuels in thermal power plants is the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particles.

In May 2006, Energias de Portugal (EDP) announced a desulphurisation project with the objective of reducing SO2 in the Sines Thermal Power Plant.

Flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) is a catalytic chemical process used to remove sulphur from natural gas and refined petroleum products.

The purpose of removing the sulphur is reducing the sulphur-dioxide emissions that result from using fuels in gas or oil-burning power plants.

The desulphurisation project ensures future energy production of the plant is in accordance with the Portuguese law DL178/2003, also known as the LCP Directive, which implements the European Directive 2001/80/EC on the limitation of emissions of certain air pollutants into the air from large combustion plants.

A consortium between Hitachi and Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios SA was the main subcontractor for this project and was responsible for the turnkey solution for the desulphurisation plant engineering, design, construction and implementation, as well as for the initial operations.

The project consisted of four units, one in each of the concerned production groups.

Alejandro Suarez Serrats, director of the desulphurisation project, said: ‘There were 800 workers on site, with more than two-million working hours.

‘Additionally, we needed a lot of extra resources for support, transport and elevation.’ Due to SGS’s experience in power generation and in similar desulphurisation projects, the Hitachi-Cobra Consortium assigned SGS Portugal to manage and supervise all quality-related activities during the upgrade.

SGS proved to have competent, experienced professionals, enabling smooth workflow in the most critical and complex stages of the development.

SGS paid particular attention to the continuous availability of dedicated technical staff for the evaluation of technical conformity with engineering specifications of both materials and equipment used during the project.

Throughout the evaluation of technical conformity, continuous quality supervision was implemented during the production of in-line equipment, filters, instrumentation, pipes and plates for several tank assemblies onsite.

The quality supervision by SGS aimed to avoid failures in future operation caused by poor material quality or wrong choice of material.

It also ensured that performance tests of the equipment on manufacturers’ premises were carried out before delivery to the plant site.

In addition, the SGS team onsite assured conformity with engineering specifications during project execution.

Activities involved included mechanical testing, non-destructive testing, pressure equipment certification, equipment licensing and CE marking.

SGS services during assembling and instrumentation, electrical and automation activities focused on reviewing the subcontractors’ specifications, evaluating their conformity with requirements, monitoring the tests, testing the welds and final commissioning.

SGS also provided the consortium with an entire support team, the job of which was to calculate and verify equipment and structures under different circumstances of the project or before changing specifications onsite.

The team also assisted in finding proper materials and welding solutions and elaborating corrosion and anti-corrosion plans.

In addition, SGS consulted with the official authorities and handled all details related to licensing.

The SGS team provided real-time information and participated proactively in resolving any difficulties.

SGS SA – Industrial Services

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