Assessing the hydraulic performance of La Romana intake pumping station

Central Romana Corporation, Ltd. (CRC) in the Dominican Republic needed to enhance the hydraulic functioning and performance of the existing intake pumping station for La Romana Sugar Plant, affected by wave agitation due to penetrating sea waves. DHI applied the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) methodology for a high-fidelity numerical modelling of the system’s hydraulic response, to assist CRC in identifying and assessing effective design upgrades.

Challenge

Predicting the intake system’s hydraulic response in relation to sea waves

The existing intake pumping station of La Romana Sugar Plant receives salt water from the sea into a basin, where water is filtered before reaching the pump chamber. The current design exposes the intake to wave agitation due to penetrating sea waves, which can cause low efficiency of the pumping system due to excessive water level variations in the station’s pump chamber. CRC has already planned a few design upgrades, aiming to reduce the intrusion of sediments from the sea, to enhance the water filtering in the basin and to improve the flow conditions towards the pumps. They needed assistance in assessing the hydraulic response of the system to severe incident wave conditions, both in the existing and upgraded design, with respect to wave agitation and flow distribution in the pump chamber.

Aerial photo of La Romana intake pumping station. Waves penetrate from offshore to the basin, through the inlet natural channel. Water is filtered in the intake basin by two bar screen systems, before reaching the pump chamber. © CRC

Solution

Advanced numerical modelling of the hydraulic functions of the intake system

DHI applied the CFD methodology for the 3D simulation of the wave transformation and penetration from offshore into the intake basin and the induced flow towards the pumps. The study was conducted on both the existing and the upgraded design. The model offered the flexibility of recording water level variations and velocities throughout the system, which allowed us to calculate the residual wave agitation in the suction chamber and to assess the flow distribution towards the pumps. The CFD model thus assisted CRC in testing the current design of the intake system during harsh wave conditions offshore and in predicting the response of the upgraded design, with particular focus on the improvement of flow distribution to the pumps.

DHI has been using advanced and accurate numerical tools in similar projects in the past 20 years, in combination with physical model tests that we perform in our own dedicated facilities.

Computational domain for the CFD study, comprising the offshore area for wave transformation, the natural inlet channel, the intake basin and the pump chamber. © DHI
Modelling of the flow towards the pumps. © DHI

Results

Tested the hydraulic response of the existing intake system’s design

Assessed the hydraulic effects of proposed design upgrades

Assisted on developing additional design changes

‘Providing the required volume of sea water with consistency is critical to our sugar plant. Identifying inefficiencies and room for improvement due to wave actions required a special approach which led us to DHI. With the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics, we have been able to fully understand how waves affect the flow distribution to the pumps and with this information we have optimised the design of necessary improvements. Being able to also apply CFD modelling to the new designs gives us the certainty that our investment is guaranteed for success. Construction is already underway, and we are operating with optimised system performance.’

Keveen Peña Marmol, Assistant Vice President
Department of Civil Engineer & Constructions
Central Romana Corporation, Ltd.

About the client

The Central Romana Corporation, Ltd. is an agro-industrial and tourism company rooted in the Dominican Republic. It started its operations in 1912 as a sugar producer and has become the largest producer in the country. The Central Romana Corporation was a pioneer in tourism and free zones. In addition to sugar, Central Romana has diversified into the following areas: Chemicals, Free Zones, Livestock, Meat and Dairy Product Processors, Production of Construction Materials and Iron, Port and Airport Operation, as well as Real Estate and Hotels.

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