POWER [April, 1 2012]

Cover Stories

Waste-to-Energy Technology Options Increase but Remain Underutilized

WTE technologies offer cost-effective, near-term solutions for producing baseload electric power, meeting renewable energy targets, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and other countries. They also present opportunities for improving resource management practices, increasing energy security, enhancing environmental quality, and supporting climate policy goals around the world.


Features

Clever “Helper” Tower Solves Cooling Water Dilemma

Gone are the days when ocean or river water for once-through cooling of a new power plant was assumed to be available. Today, more than 500 fossil-fueled and 38 nuclear plants use once-through cooling. However, regulators in several states are aggressively pushing what is essentially a ban on the use of once-through water cooling, forcing a conversion to closed-cycle cooling.


Happy Days for Nuclear Power?

The first license to construct a new nuclear power plant in the U.S. in 34 years was granted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Feb. 9. Has the elusive nuclear renaissance finally begun?


Has Boiler MACT Improved the Future for Biomass Power?

The impact of recently released air emissions regulations has stirred heated debate about forced coal plant closures and the possibility of reduced grid reliability in some regions. Biomass power may be an unexpected beneficiary of the new rules.


Intelligent Control of FBC Boilers

Optimizing combustion control is critical to reducing emissions and increasing plant operating efficiency, particularly for fluidized bed combustion (FBC) boiler plants burning biomass fuel that has unpredictable moisture content. The secret: measuring actual energy flow.


POWER Gets Social

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Promoting Sustainable Water Usage in Power Generation

Growing concern about water usage by U.S. electric power generation is being prompted by a number of factors, including projected increases in power demand due to population growth, competing uses for water, and recent drought conditions in various parts of the country. Our overview presents diverse perspectives from industry experts about current and future challenges of balancing power generation needs with declining water availability.


Departments

Commentary

Natural Gas: Secure Supply for Today and the Future

Ten years ago, I could not have written this column. The natural gas industry was different—limited domestic supply resulted in unstable prices. However, recent advancements in drilling technology have enabled…

New Products

Patented Filter Medium for Core Cooling

Multi-disciplined engineering and consulting firm ENERCON received patents for a filter medium for strainers used in nuclear reactor emergency core cooling systems (ECCS). ENERCON’s Debris Bypass Eliminator was developed in…

Rust-Preventative Weldable Primer

Tempil introduced BLOXIDE°, a rust-preventive weldable primer that provides protection from rust formation on edges prepared for welding. It also acts as an oxygen/oxide scavenger in the weld pool. This…

True Machine Train Alignment

Ascertaining the alignment of all machines in a multiple machine train has always been a cumbersome and time-consuming process. The new ROTALIGN ULTRA MultiCoupling feature allows the alignment of up…

Legal & Regulatory

Suing for (Pipeline) Safety

As a Valentine’s Day present to federal regulators, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera took the unusual step of suing the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The complaint alleges that the PHMSA has “abjectly failed to oversee the [California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC’s)] pipeline safety program or to ensure that federal pipeline safety standards are enforced.” The complaint chastises the PHMSA for “shirking that duty for over a decade, if not longer.”

Focus on O&M

Preventing Downtime by Picking the Best Switch Technology

Common fuel-handling problems in the power industry often result in production downtime, costing the owner perhaps up to $200,000 per hour. There are many areas within a coal-fired power plant where mishaps can cause stoppage of material flow. Here we discuss how to select the best switch technology to reduce the possibility of coal flow stoppages.

Safe Work Practices in Confined Spaces at Power Plants

Confined space work is often considered to be one of the most dangerous types of work performed in power generation settings. Confined spaces may contain hazardous atmospheres, they can trap entrants, and they generally can increase the hazards associated with otherwise common tasks. When the risks are not recognized, workers all too often regard incidents as surprises, but the hazards of working in confined space can be predicted, monitored, and mitigated. These “accidents” are caused by unsafe conditions, unsafe acts, or both; all accidents are preventable.

Global Monitor

An “Exploding Lake” Becomes a Power Source

Rwanda’s Lake Kivu has a nickname: “Killer Lake.” The shimmering 1,040–square mile body of freshwater on the western branch of the Great East African Rift that straddles the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda has had a bloody history. Not only was it the site of atrocity during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, but scientists say that it is also one of three known “exploding lakes.”

India’s Chronic Coal Shortages Threaten Coal Power Ambitions

India has been besieged by a coal shortage of unprecedented severity that has forced privately owned and money-strapped state-owned coal-fired power plants alike to rely on expensive imports from Indonesia and South Africa to replenish woefully inadequate stocks.

Less-Familiar Generation III+ Reactors Make Inroads

Following key regulatory approvals in the UK and U.S. of Westinghouse’s AP1000 and AREVA’s EPR Generation III+ reactor designs, France’s nuclear safety authority in February determined that the little-known ATMEA 1 reactor design met international safety criteria for Generation III+ reactors. The reactor is a 1,100-MW pressurized water reactor (PWR) developed and marketed by ATMEA, a 2007-created joint venture between France’s AREVA and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).

New South Korean and Russian Reactors Go Online

Three nuclear reactors under construction in the Eastern Hemisphere reached major milestones over the past few months. South Korea’s Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. connected its 960-MW Shin-Wolsong 1 reactor near Nae-ri to the grid on Jan. 27 and, a day later, its sister plant, the 960-MW Shin Kori 2 (Figure 5) in the southwest city of Gori. Both units are expected to become commercially operational this summer. And last December, Russia began commercial operation of its 950-MW Kalinin 4 plant, a V-320 model VVER 1000.

POWER Digest (April 2012)

CSP Giants Form Alliance. Concentrating solar power companies Abengoa, BrightSource Energy, and Torresol Energy in early March formed the Concentrating Solar Power Alliance, an organization dedicated to educating U.S. regulators,…

THE BIG PICTURE: Nuclear Aftershocks

In the year following the Fukushima accident in Japan, the nuclear sector has seen several setbacks (text in orange) as well as major milestones (white).

Two New Offshore Farms Turning Despite Stagnant Global Wind Market

The UK opened two massive offshore wind farms this February on the Irish Sea off the UK’s Cumbrian coast. DONG Energy, SSE, OPW, and a consortium of Dutch pension fund service provider PGGM and Ampere Equity Fund began commercially operating the 367-MW Walney wind farm, estimated to cost $1.58 billion, and Danish wind firm Vattenfall inaugurated the Ormonde Offshore Wind Farm.

Speaking of Power

Technology Trumps Policy

An energy policy should be the result of inclusive debate and a consensus approach to the means to leverage all of a country’s energy assets, including innovation and technology, to the advantage of its citizens. Current U.S. energy policy fails on all counts.

GBR Reports