Archive: O&M

The Coal Patrol: Mine Safety Deserves More Than Lip Service

Every step forward in underground U.S. mine safety in the 20th and 21st centuries has been on the backs of mangled and dead coal miners. That grisly observation is unassailable. Following the August tragedy at the Crandall Canyon mine in Utah that killed six miners and three would-be rescuers, the federal Mine Safety and Health […]

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Plant Economics: The Impact of Shortages on FGD Prices

Since ratification of the Clean Air Act (CAA) in 1970, U.S. utilities have made steady efforts to install pollution control equipment to curb power plant stack emissions. The CAA Amendments of 1990 raised concerns at the time about the industry’s ability to install a large number of flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems, or scrubbers, in […]

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Use predictive techniques to guide your mercury compliance strategy

Several states have mandated faster and/or deeper reductions in plant mercury emissions than those called for by the Clean Air Mercury Rule. Unfortunately, differences between plants make accurate evaluation of control options difficult. In most cases, even statistically based Hg emission models don’t pass muster because they don’t account for the dynamic chemical behavior of Hg species in gas cleaning systems. This article describes one system evaluation tool that has been validated using Hg field test data from 50 full-scale flue gas cleaning systems. It is already being used by TVA and other utilities.

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Finding and fixing leakage within combined HP-IP steam turbines: Part II

By design, combined HP-IP turbines have a small amount of internal leakage from the high-pressure turbine to the intermediate-pressure turbine. As turbines age, the leakage increases considerably and becomes excessive, creating a heat rate penalty and possibly a reliability problem. Last month we explored the symptoms and causes of steam leakage within GE steam turbines and how to correct the problem. In Part II, we examine the same issues for Westinghouse and Allis-Chalmers turbines from both theoretical and practical angles.

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MidAmerican’s Walter Scott, Jr. Energy Center Unit 4 earns POWER’s highest honor

MidAmerican Energy Co. and its project partners are convinced that supercritical coal-firing technology’s inherently higher efficiency and lower CO2 emissions no longer come with a price: reduced reliability. Their Walter Scott, Jr. Energy Center Unit 4, the first major new supercritical plant in the U.S. in more than 15 years, is POWER’s 2007 Plant of the Year.

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Focus on O&M (August 2007)

Stop valves from leaking money / Integrating plant and equipment models / Pricing priceless knowledge

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Detecting and solving lube oil varnish problems

Have you bought electrostatic or agglomeration equipment to rid your turbine oil of varnish deposits, but its varnish potential rating failed to improve? Or, after an initial drop, has the varnish potential returned to its previous level? Even worse, have you had recurring valve sticking problems after making a sizeable investment to "solve" this problem? Welcome to the world of soluble varnish caused by autodegradation. Read the unvarnished truth about varnish and how to get rid of it for good.

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Safety, compliance, and then production maximizes bottom line

When injuries or accidents occur, the employer ultimately loses on two counts: increased medical costs and employee absences. A policy of "safety, compliance, and then production" is more than just good business; it’s also good stewardship of the health and safety of employees who deserve no less.

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Focus on O&M (July 2007) 

Hydro-demolition speeds reactor dome entry;
Tips for keeping your unit stable;
Air makes heavy move a breeze

Coal Plant O&M: Smart Sootblower Tailors Cleaning to Need for It / Blending’s Impact on Coal Quality

The 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act require coal-fired power plants to reduce their emissions of the pollutant SO2. To do so, many have switched to, or are considering switching to, Powder River Basin (PRB) coal. Unfortunately, PRB coal has a tendency to leave excessive and tenacious deposits on boiler heat-exchange surfaces. Complicating the problem, the distribution of the deposits is far from uniform.