Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Chemical and Paper Engineering

First Advisor

James Springstead

Second Advisor

Qingliu Wu


Steam leaks occur in aging power systems due to heat energy loss in the valves of that system. A model was developed and programmed using Excel to determine the amount of heat energy lost in an aging power plant steam pipe valve system. This model was tested using data from an existing model called PEPSE. The PEPSE model determined the estimated energy that was lost due to seal leakage and general valve degradation. The energy from the steam was quantified using downstream temperature measurement data that was processed with multiple calculation methods to ensure accuracy in the model. The excel model incorporated all of these components and was designed to be used by the company long term so that they could perform more audits in the future to determine if a similar project would be economically feasible.

An economic analysis of the valves was performed to determine the lost revenue experienced by the power plant and compared that to the cost of replacing the valves with newer, more efficient models. The economic analysis showed the project to be a very profitable venture, and as such it was recommended that the company implement the valve replacement project. There are no major operational costs for valves. Due to this, the cost of the new equipment is simply a matter of material costs and installation costs. These costs were found to be significantly less than the value of the energy in the steam that was being lost by the current leaking valves. In fact, the economic benefits outweighed the initial investment by the company to the point that, even in the worst case scenario, the company had a payback period of just over two months. The best case scenarios tested had payback periods of only a matter of days. The only economic requirement set by the company was that the project have a payback period of three years or less, with no specific minimum acceptable rate of return. This requirement was met in every tested scenario.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Results.pdf (892 kB)

Economic Analysis Senior Design Project.pdf (139 kB)
Economic Analysis

Senior_Design_Presentation_Adams_Evans_Slaughter_Stypinski(1).mp4 (53315 kB)
Senior Design Presentation