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04.03.2006

Befesa utilizes the "pigging" technique to clean the pipes of the Iberdrola-owned Lada thermal power plant

The Asturias Regional Offices of Befesa TLI has completed the extraction and subsequent cleaning of more than 500 meters of piping at the Iberdrola-owned Lada thermal power plant, which needed to be done before the pipes could be dismantled. A team of 5 comprising technical experts and laborers emptied out the entire circuit and prepared the product in tanks to be transported to the fine product management facility. For this purpose, high vacuum pumps were utilized together with the necessary mobile steam production units. The extracted product was managed as a fuel substitute as the extraction operation minimized the utilization of water and other products and this allowed it to be energetically valorized.

Following the extraction process, a pigging operation was performed. This technique consists of the launching of a projectile made of special material through the pipe. This diameter of the projectile is slightly greater than the interior diameter of the pipe. It is pressure-driven by a liquid or gas. The projectile, commonly known as a "pig", pushes the residual product along while also scraping the pipe walls.

In this case, several launches were made to recover as much of the product as possible and decontaminate the inside of the pipeline, which meant it could then be cut and dismantled with all the required occupational and industrial safety assurances.

Befesa has managed different types of pigging projects. It is a technique that can be used in a wide range of operations, such as:

  • The cleaning of pipelines to enable changes of pipeline product.
  • The cleaning of pipelines prior to the start-up of new facilities in order to remove objects, dirt, incrustations, etc.
  • The cleaning of pipelines for their subsequent dismantling.
  • The cleaning of pipelines to extract incrustations.

Moreover, there are special pigs that enable the registering of thicknesses, the detection of imperfections, the carrying out of inspections, etc.