Archive: O&M


To optimize performance, begin at the pulverizers

A systematic, performance-driven maintenance program for optimizing combustion can achieve great results. The challenge for an O&M staff is deciding which proven strategy and tactics for reducing NOx and improving plant reliability to adapt and implement. The structured approach presented here has proven its worth at several plants that have wrestled with problems similar to yours.


Vacuum-driven "hypo" chlorination is safer and cheaper

Safety issues related to the use of gaseous chlorine for disinfecting cooling water are pushing plant operators to examine other alternatives. Two units of Cardinal Generating Station recently switched to a liquid chlorination system, with pumpless vacuum injection, that was easy to install and has proven reliable. That switch has resulted in one less safety headache for the operations staff and one less invitation to regulatory scrutiny.


Advanced sonar revolutionizes underwater structure inspections

Ongoing maintenance is critical to the performance and longevity of underwater structures such as cooling water intake tunnels. Commercial divers or robotic vehicles can do the needed inspections, but such manual methods require a costly plant shutdown and provide only qualitative results. ASI Group Ltd. has designed and built an advanced, dual-axis sonar system that works in fast-moving water and can deliver quantitative data about the extent and location of debris buildup on submerged assets.


Focus on O&M (January 2007) 

Mandatory standards advance / To drain or not to drain / Practical aspects of burning landfill gas / Time management


The Coal Patrol: Looking Back at 2006

To borrow shamelessly from Charles Dickens, one of my favorite authors, for coal in 2006, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." No Escape The year began in horror. On January 2, most likely a result of a severe lightning strike, methane gas in the International Coal Group’s Sago Mine […]

Coal Plant O&M: Elemental Analyzer Checks Quality of Delivered Coal in Real Time

When you receive a shipment, you don’t wait weeks to see whether you got what you paid for — do you? J.M. Stuart Generating Station doesn’t, but it used to. Since coming on-line in the early 1970s, the big plant, on the Ohio River near Aberdeen, Ohio, mechanically sampled coal shipments as they reached the […]


Emissions Control: Layered NOx Reduction on a 500-MW Cyclone-Fired Boiler

Historically, cyclone-fired boilers have been characterized as big emitters of NOx due to the very high temperatures in their primary combustion zone. Uncontrolled levels from 0.8 to 1.9 lb/mmBtu have been typical. The design of cyclone-fired units makes them impossible to retrofit with standard low-NOx burners. Prior to 1997, the conventional wisdom was that cyclone […]


Emissions Control: Cost-Effective Layered Technology for Ultra-Low NOx Control

Layering NOx control technologies can reduce a coal-fired unit’s NOx emissions to levels achievable by selective catalytic reduction alone. Advanced Combustion Technology Inc. (ACT) ( has demonstrated that using several in combination can cut emissions from boilers firing eastern bituminous coal or No. 6 oil to less than 0.15 lb/mmBtu. The following two case studies […]


Monitoring key gases in insulating oil keeps transformers healthy

Large T&D-sized transformers age as quickly as generating assets do. But preventing transformers from failing is difficult because they have no moving parts and are sealed up. Tracking the concentrations of certain gases—the more, the better—that are dissolved in a unit’s insulating oil is a proven way of detecting damage before it causes a costly problem.