POWER [October, 1 2010]

Cover Stories

Top Plant: Brunner Island Power Plant, York Haven, York County, Pennsylvania

The 1,456-MW Brunner Island coal-fired plant has implemented advanced environmental improvements in order to be a good neighbor to the residents of south central Pennsylvania. For example, between 2006 and 2010, PPL invested more than $860 million in pollution control upgrades for air, water, and solid waste treatment at the facility.

Top Plant: Oak Creek Power Plant, Elm Road Units 1 and 2, Milwaukee and Racine Counties, Wisconsin

Adding two 615-MW supercritical pulverized coal units to the 1,135-MW Oak Creek Power Plant is part of We Energies’ ongoing master plan to “Power the Future” of Wisconsin well into the 21st century. The new Elm Road Unit 1 went into service in February, and Unit 2 is expected to start operations during the fourth quarter of 2010. With operations marked by high efficiency and low emissions, these new units will provide large amounts of cleaner energy to the Great Lakes area.

Top Plant: ADM Clinton Cogeneration Plant, Clinton, Iowa

In the heart of corn country, Archer Daniels Midland is using seed corn that is no longer suitable for planting, along with coal, to power its 180-MW Clinton cogeneration plant. The cogeneration plant, which began operations in 2008, supports ADM’s Clinton corn processing plant, one of the largest corn wet mills in the world. It also supports ADM’s facility that produces renewable plastic from corn sugar. Firing up to 20% biomass along with coal, the new cogeneration plant is capable of providing 100% of the steam and electrical power needs of both facilities.

Top Plant: Brandon Shores Generating Station, Pasadena, Maryland

Constellation Energy Constellation Energy recently completed a series of air quality upgrades on both units at its Brandon Shores Generating Station that included flue gas desulfurization (FGD), baghouse, SO3 control, and mercury reduction by activated carbon injection. The plant’s unique arrangement required long duct runs to the air quality system and a mile-long conveyor for moving barge-delivered limestone to the plant. Treated municipal wastewater was used as wet FGD supply water, and effluent treatment included first-of-its-kind nitrogen removal before discharge to the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Top Plant: Dickerson Generating Station, Dickerson, Maryland

Owner/operator: Mirant Corp. Dickerson Generating Station, a 50-year-old facility servicing Maryland and Washington, D.C., was recently upgraded with a flue gas desulfurization system and a unique draft system that allows an electrostatic precipitator and a baghouse to share flue gas cleanup chores on each unit. In addition, state-of-the-art equipment monitoring and diagnostics keep plant reliability high for this baseload unit.

Top Plant: Isogo Thermal Power Station Unit 2, Yokohama, Japan

Unit 2 at J-POWER’s Isogo Thermal Power Station entered commercial service in July 2009. The 600-MW ultrasupercritical unit joins an earlier, similar plant built in 2002. Together, these two new plants replaced 1960s-vintage coal-fired plants and doubled power generation from the small project site. In addition, the new unit improves the plant’s gross thermal efficiency to about 45% while reducing air emissions to those of a gas-fired combined-cycle plant.

Top Plant: Tolk Station, Earth, Texas

Located in a semi-arid region, this “Texas tough” coal-fired power plant uses a number of smart practices to increase water-use efficiency. For example, a pipeline was constructed to send blowdown water from nearby Plant X for treatment and recycling at the 1,080-MW Tolk Station, making both plants “zero-discharge” facilities. For its environmental stewardship and superior plant operations, the Powder River Coal Users’ Group named Tolk Station its 2010 Plant of the Year.

Features

Air Preheater Seal Upgrades Renew Plant Efficiency

The air preheater is a critical, yet often overlooked, component of the boiler combustion air system. Evaluating and optimizing a heater’s performance is difficult given how entwined it is with the entire combustion system and the lack of standardized calculation tools. Reducing leakage by using modern seal technology will improve combustion efficiency, maintain fan performance, and keep your downstream air quality control equipment operating within spec.

Deep Excavation Support Systems Speed Plant Construction

As part of constructing the recently commissioned We Energies’ Oak Creek Power Plant Elm Road units, four remarkable below-ground structures were built. Each unique structure required creative designs and meticulous construction techniques to meet the project’s distinctive requirements.

FBC Control Strategies for Burning Biomass

As a boiler fuel, biomass has shown great promise while suffering from a slow development history. One factor limiting its use has been the combustion system. For the most part, conventional grate-fired boilers have been the only option. Today, the most efficient approach to burning biomass to produce electricity and steam is fluidized bed combustion (FBC). Whether you choose FBC or grate, biomass presents unique challenges to control system designers.

Map of Coal-Fired Generation in the United States

Courtesy: Platts Data source: POWERmap All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed.

Taming Condenser Tube Leaks, Part II

In Part I of this two-part report we examined the various chemical forces at work in condenser tube leaks, the steam plant components placed at risk, and the suite of instrumentation most capable of providing early warning of a leak. Assuming you were able to repair the leak and quickly resume operation, the next step is to identify the damage mechanisms that caused the problem so you can minimize future leaks.

U.S. Coal-Fired Power Development: Down but Not Out

Environmentalists renewed their attacks on coal-fired power development in 2010. At the same time, Congress dithered on cap-and-trade legislation while the Environmental Protection Agency marched forward rules to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Couple the regulatory uncertainty with lean economic times that have flatlined electricity demand growth plus low natural gas prices, and the result is predictable: New coal-fired plant construction is in the doldrums.

Departments

Commentary

The Nexus of Energy and Water

The age-old adage “water and electricity don’t mix” does not apply to 21st-century infrastructure planning. The two entities can no longer be viewed as separate commodities. The demands on both…

New Products

Dust Collector Pulse Timer Saves Energy

The new IntelliPULSE pulse jet timer for baghouses and dust collectors from FilterSense reduces energy costs and offers direct connection to programmable logic controllers with user-specified fieldbus communications such as…

End Prep Machine Tool

E.H. Wachs introduced the EP424 Speed Prep Autofeed System, an inside diameter–mount end prep machine tool designed to bevel, compound bevel, J-prep, face, and counterbore pipe, fittings, and valves. With…

Machine Positional Change–Measuring Application

LUDECA launched the ROTALIGN Ultra Live Trend, a short-term continuous-monitoring application that helps to accurately determine the relative positional changes between coupled machines during run-up or shutdown. It utilizes the unique…

Mass Vortex Flow Meter for Cryogenic Fluids

Sierra Instruments has introduced a new cryogenic version of its Innova-Mass multivariable mass vortex flow meter for measuring mass flow rates of cryogenic fluids down to –328F (–200C). Using a…

Personal Cooling Water Analytics

Power plant operators must keep the corrosion, deposition, and microbiological fouling affecting cooling water systems at bay to avoid damage to equipment and system inefficiencies. One possible solution is GE’s…

Safety Bolt Bag

Ergodyne’s new Arsenal 5725 Safety Bolt Bag is designed to safely store tools, fasteners, and equipment at any vertigo-inducing job site. Featuring a loop design and wide-body, one-handed cinch top,…

Legal & Regulatory

QF Contracts and 21st-Century Economics

Many power purchase agreements entered into between qualifying facilities (QF) and electric utilities during the 1980s and 1990s have several years remaining on their terms. These contracts typically require the…

Focus on O&M

Innovative Cleaning of Air Preheater Coils with Pressurized Liquid Nitrogen

Cleaning air heaters in power plants or recovery boilers has traditionally involved using high-pressure water, chemicals, or steam. These techniques, though effective on moderate airside fouling of heat exchange surfaces, are usually ineffective on the more tenacious deposits that can develop in coal-fired plants. If these deposits are not removed by periodic cleaning, heat transfer in the heaters is reduced, which in turn reduces boiler efficiency and increases a unit’s heat rate. Severe fouling on air preheaters (APHs) can even reduce a unit’s power output.


Lessons Learned in Reliability Standards Compliance

It has been three years and a few months since the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) Reliability Standards (Standards) became mandatory and noncompliance became subject to sanctions by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). You might assume that because we have had no further instances of widespread cascading outages that the Standards are working. You may also assume that—considering the database of documented noncompliance with the Standards—the industry as a whole is puzzled, unprepared, or negligent in carrying out its responsibility to keep the high-voltage electric grids reliable and secure. The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle.


Smart Grid Cyber Security Guidelines Released

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has finalized its initial set of smart grid cyber security guidelines. NIST’s Guidelines for Smart Grid Cyber Security (NISTIR 7628) includes high-level security requirements, a framework for assessing risks, an evaluation of privacy issues in personal residences, and other information for organizations to use as they craft strategies to protect the modernizing power grid from attacks, malicious code, cascading errors, and other threats, according to NIST’s press release.


Global Monitor

Australia Fires Up Solar-Diesel Hybrid Plant

Australian company Horizon Power opened the country’s first hybrid solar-diesel power station in August near Marble Bar, and it is readying another for operation in the neighboring town of Nullagine,…

India Kicks Off Construction of Indigenous Nuclear Fleet

India in August began building two 700-MW indigenous nuclear power reactors at Rawatbhatta, in the desert state of Rajasthan. The two pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs), which will use uranium…

Offshore Devices Get Bigger and Lighter

UK firms unveiled two innovative offshore turbines in July and August—one to reap the wind’s energy and the other, tidal power. Wind Power Ltd. made public the latest embodiment of…

POWER Digest (October 2010)

News items of interest to power industry professionals.


Storing Energy Cryogenically

Researchers at the University of Leeds in the UK and the Chinese Academy of Sciences say they may have found a solution to dealing with short-lived power demand spikes—and it…

The Art of Power Generation

Much opposition to large-scale renewable projects concerns aesthetics. U.S. federal regulators, for example, ordered the developer of the $1 billion Cape Wind project—a 468-MW offshore wind farm proposed to be…

TVA to Complete Bellefonte Unit 1

Thirty-six years after work first began at the 1,600-acre site housing the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant in Hollywood, Ala., the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in August said it plans to…

Speaking of Power

Solving the Coal Conundrum

A recent U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report examines two key options for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-fired power plants. The first is horribly expensive and will be…

GBR Reports