Power Generation Plant and Soundproofing – a brief introduction
Over the years, there has been a general increase in the use of power plants, from smaller generating plants owned by individuals to large industrial power generation plants. This increase may be attributed to the trends of development which seems to be taking over the global front currently.
With these changes with regards the need for more power, there is the prevailing issue of noise pollution by power generation plants which has been ever-present but is gradually becoming a point of concern for communities and individuals who suffer the effects of noise pollution, especially those emanating from the power generation plants.
While innovations such as industrial soundproofing and industrial silencers have played a role in curbing some of the issues associated with noise pollution from power generation plants, many other factors continue to serve as bottlenecks towards an effective campaign against noise pollution. Some of these factors include:
- Lack of scalability of power plants
- Insufficiencies in the design of power plants
- Challenges with heat management in power plants due to soundproofing materials
Why Noise Reduction is important
Noise reduction in power plants is of utmost importance owing largely to the issues associated with persistent noise pollution, especially with regards health. Common noise sources include:
- Fan Intake & Exhaust (PA, ID, FD fans)
- Piping and ducts
- Steam Exhaust
- Centrifugal Blowers
Noise reduction in power plants is of grave importance as the employees are exposed to health issues which may not manifest immediately. Some of these issues include:
- neurobehavioral change
- psychological stress
- reduced speech intelligibility,
- permanent hearing loss
These factors may also affect those who may be directly affected by the noise from power generation plants.
When Noise reduction in the industry is crucial (limits and tolerance)
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA, the permissible thresholds or permissible exposure limit for noise exposure is set at 90Dba over the course of 8 hours.
To grasp a full understanding of what 90 Dba is, a whisper perhaps between two friends is approximately 30dBA. A regular conversation between two parties is set at approximately 60dBA while a mower operates at 80dBA.
Based on OSHA standards, a noise level increase of 5 Dba translates to an exposure period of half the time. This implies that a worker who is exposed to 95dBA should work for only four hours under such conditions.
Below is a table to ensure better understanding:
How is this covered by international standards
A number of health and safety organizations around the world have set certain thresholds, mostly within the aforementioned ranges. Some of these organizations include the ISO, ANSI ad WHO to mention but a few.
Which solutions are implementable
Thanks to technological advancements, there are solutions to the menace of noise generation in energy plants. The most common of these solutions, especially for individuals and small-scale business owners are industrial silencers and industrial soundproofing. Some other solutions include:
Duct Silencers – These components offer an incredibly high level of sound reduction in airflow applications. It is mainly applied in stacks, larger ID fans, building ventilation and so many other applications.
Mufflers –While these share a similar concept to the duct silencers above, its mode of operation differs in that it ensures noise reduction in energy plants in that the mufflers are applied to motors or compressed air pipings within the system in a bid to eliminate exhaust noise. Some of the more common applications of mufflers include blowers, compressors and generators.
Acoustical Louvers – Due to the challenges associated with poor designs of some power generation plants and a resulting inability to inculcate a sound proofing system without risking rising temperatures, acoustical louvers provide sound reduction with little to minimal restriction of airflow within the power plants. For the most part, acoustical louvers are used in place of standard louvers for a high level of noise reduction while retaining the effective ventilation of their system.
Duct and Pipe Lagging – While this sounds pretty hands on, it is quite the process to go through with. it simply refers to eliminating breakout noise which is being generated from pipe and ductwork. Hence, the piping or ductwork is neatly wrapped with a barrier absorber composite to keep noise within safe thresholds.
Sound Enclosures – Sound enclosures are arguably the most effective solutions noise control in power generating plants, especially amongst newer designs. With sound enclosures, the power generating plant is simply enclosed, while access for heat dissipation as well as maintenance are made readily available. Sound enclosures are particularly effective in Enclose blowers, pumps, fans or other equipment generating high noise levels.,
Absorptive Panels – Absorption panels serve as an active form of noise reduction in Energy plants. In most cases, these panels are available as an additional feature to generating sets, especially industrial based sets. To large extents, it significantly reduces noise levels in areas of application. It is normally installed to either side of the wall of the generating power plant in a bid to mitigate the noise effects from the power plant.
All in all, the need to match up with the world’s seemingly unchecked noise generation levels in light of increasing power generation cannot be understated. Hence the need for all hands to be on deck in an effort to ensure that noise reduction, particularly in energy plants becomes a reality that everyone embraces.