Water Issues Challenge Power Generators
Drought and competing uses for water continue to challenge power plant operators worldwide. In response, innovative approaches for reducing water use are being explored from South Africa to China.
Beacon Power Makes a Comeback
Beacon Power Corp. was founded in 1997 to develop flywheel-based energy storage technology. By 2007, the 100-kW/25-kWh Gen 4 flywheel system was commercialized and deployed in several projects. However, market conditions pushed the company into bankruptcy in late 2011. The company has since emerged, reinvigorated with new investment and a new name: Beacon Power LLC.
EMP: The Biggest Unaddressed Threat to the Grid
The electricity grid has been characterized as the world’s largest and most complicated machine. The grid, like all machines, requires periodic upgrades and maintenance to prevent outages during the normal course of business, and it can be brought down by various outside forces. Solar flares and cyber attacks have temporarily crippled the machine, but an electromagnetic pulse event would be the “ultimate cyber security catastrophe.”
Fighting Transformer Fires
Transformer fires are fearsome events, perhaps the most dangerous common threats to human life—both onsite and beyond the boundaries of a power plant—that can hit an electric utility.
Gas-Electric Integration “Swamps” All Other Issues
Panelists at the ELECTRIC POWER 2013 Keynote and Roundtable Discussion in Chicago in May were consumed by the need to ensure future reliability by more closely integrating the gas and electricity markets. Acknowledged less directly were distortions created by renewable energy subsidies and mandates, onerous regulations affecting coal, and “irreversible” demand destruction caused by the success of energy efficiency and demand management programs. The elephant in the room was the continued demise of electricity markets.
Indonesia: Energy Rich and Electricity Poor
Even though it enjoys sizeable coal and natural gas reserves, Indonesia struggles to provide electricity to its growing economy. Geography is its most obvious challenge. Others include evolving international markets and an energy sector that remains highly politicized.
Is Gas Getting Too Hot to Handle?
With ever-increasing demands for fast ramping and flexibility, natural gas–fired plants are grabbing a bigger share of the generation pie. But uncertainty about future prices and concerns about overreliance on a single fuel are dampening enthusiasm during what may be the most exciting time for gas ever. Natural gas is hot—but will generators and the market get burned?
ORP as a Predictor of WFGD Chemistry and Wastewater Treatment
Recent studies have shown that system oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) is not only an important factor for predicting wet flue gas desulfurization (WFGD) absorber chemistry but also may be a predictor of process equipment corrosion and wastewater treatment requirements.
The Beguiling Promise of the HTGR
It’s easy to see why technologists fall in love with high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs). These nuclear machines are remarkable inventions, at least on paper. But few have actually seen the real world for any length of time, and their real-world experience has been mixed.
The Case for Utility Boiler Fuel Delivery System Upgrades
A vital part of any coal-fired unit is its fuel delivery system (FDS). A newly formed subcommittee of the ASME Research Committee on Energy, Environment, and Waste has investigated potential FDS upgrades on three typical 500-MW wall-, tangential-, and cyclone-fired boilers. The subcommittee has produced a series of suggested upgrades that have a simple payback of no more than two years.
Too Dumb to Meter, Epilogue
As the book title Too Dumb to Meter: Follies, Fiascoes, Dead Ends, and Duds on the U.S. Road to Atomic Energy implies, nuclear power has traveled a rough road. For the conclusion of POWER’s exclusive serialization of the book, we offer the “Epilogue: Some Dumb Ideas Never Die.” The first 12 installments are available in the POWER online archives.
What Does the Market Expect from Gas Plants?
With the country awash in natural gas and new construction dominated by gas-fired plants, one would think that integrating these plants into the grid would be simple. Like politics, integration problems appear to be local.
Wind Resources Face Market and Policy Headwinds
Natural gas prices and low wholesale electricity prices are creating headwinds for large-scale renewable projects such as wind.