2022 Horizons Symposium

Baltimore, Maryland, USA • April 21 – 22, 2022

A Study of Iodine Vapor Infusion to Mitigate Fouling of Cooling Tower Water
Joel mcelrath

Joel McElrath
Principal Technical Leader
Electric Power Research Institute

Joel McElrath is a Principal Technical Leader at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in the Chemistry and Radiation Safety program area of the Nuclear Power Sector. His current research activities focus on pressurized water reactor primary chemistry controls, optimization of demineralizer and filtration applications, open and closed cooling water chemistry control, and chemistry services supporting the implementation of EPRI technology.

Mr. McElrath joined EPRI in 2009. He previously served for 23 years in various capacities in the Chemistry Department at the Palisades Nuclear Plant.

Mr. McElrath received a BS degree in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan and his MBA degree from the Grand Valley State University.

Mr. McElrath has twice been an EPRI Technology Transfer Award recipient. In 1997 he received the award for initiating the silica operating limits relaxation program. Also, in 2001 the award was granted him for leadership in implementing plant demonstration of zinc injection in a PWR.

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Effective treatment of biofouling is essential to maintain thermal performance and cooling of essential systems at steam generation power plants. Alternatives to chlorine treatment are needed where sites severely restrict residual chlorine discharge and to reduce environmental impact. The effectiveness of the I2 vapor infusion technology was tested and compared with traditional chlorine treatment in a cooling water flow loop at the Water Research and Conservation Center in Smyrna, Georgia. The flow loop consisted of two steam-heated condenser tubes connected to a single mechanical draft cooling tower. Make-up water for the tests came from the Chattahoochee River. A total of four tests were performed from April to October 2021. Heat transfer and pressure drop data were measured for the condenser tubes, water samples were taken to measure microbiological activity, fouling coupons were inserted in the cooling tower basin, and fouling deposits were observed following each test. I2 vapor infusion is a promising alternative to chlorine treatment for mitigating biofouling in condenser tubes. This technology also demonstrated the potential to mitigate buildup of sediment in condenser tubes.

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