Dry Ice Blasting

Dry Ice Blasting for Emergency Power Plant Cleaning


Dry ice blasting is a non-abrasive, non-flammable and non-conductive solution to clean-in-place (CIP) challenges. This fast, efficient, and cost-effective technique uses compressed air to accelerate frozen carbon dioxide (CO2) pellets to a high velocity. By eliminating time-consuming disassembly operations, dry ice blasting can help utilities to clean damaged equipment and restore service faster. 

As this case study demonstrates, dry ice dusting or CO2 blasting (as dry ice blasting is sometimes called) helped a major New York State utility clean an urban substation after a fire caused significant damage. Nitrofreeze® sells Cold Jet® dry ice blasting equipment throughout the Northeast and provides dry ice blasting services for emergency power plant cleaning.

Cooling Plant Cleaning

When a transformer caught fire above two cooling plants, the blaze was so hot that a beam began to melt. Molten steel splattered the cooling plants, which also became coated with soot and carbon. The fire happened in early March, but the utility needed to bring the substation’s fire-damaged section on-line before energy usage spiked with warmer weather. Dry ice blasting, a technique gentle enough to remove smoke damage from books or aggressive enough to remove weld slag from tooling, provided the answer.   

After receiving an urgent call from the New York utility, our employees left our facility in Worcester, Massachusetts on a Friday. We arranged to have a diesel-powered air compressor dropped at the substation, brought some dry ice with us, and ordered an additional quantity from a local supplier. After arriving in New York on Friday night, we began dry ice blasting the first cooling plant. Then at 5 AM on Saturday morning, we started cleaning the second. Three hours later, we were finished.

Pothead Cleaning

In a power plant, a pothead is an insulated electrical terminal for connecting overhead wires to a transformer. At the damaged substation, several potheads were also coated in a layer of soot and carbon. To restore these terminals, one of our service technicians used a scissors lift to reach and clean the frontal areas. The light rain that fell could have complicated our efforts, but the dry ice cleaning went so well that the only delay came while we waited for another 1,000 lbs. of dry ice to arrive.

The local supplier couldn’t deliver until Monday afternoon, so the soonest we could resume dry ice blasting was that evening. That night, we used a boom lift to reach the potheads from every side. Just after 4:30 AM, we finished our emergency power plant cleaning. Two hours later, we were back on the road for a 12-hour return trip to Worcester. The power company was able to meet its projected spike in energy usage, and our team enjoyed a tremendous feeling of satisfaction at an urgent job well-done.

Dry Ice Blasting

Is dry ice blasting the choice for your project? The experts at Nitrofreeze® can review your technical drawings, photos or samples and then recommend the process that best meets your needs. The consultation is free of charge. To learn more, contact us at the phone number and email listed below.

(508) 459-7447 x109