2022 CTOTF Innovation Excellence Award Winners Announced

The Combustion Turbine Operations Technical Forum (CTOTF), in association with POWER, is excited to announce the recipients of its annual Innovation Excellence Awards. Winners were selected through a judging process performed by an independent panel of recognized utility industry experts. Selections were made in five categories: maintenance, environmental stewardship, safety process, operational, and management and process areas. Companies recognized for outstanding achievements were Cogentrix, Constellation, and Klamath Energy, an Avangrid Renewables company.

Maintenance Excellence

Cogentrix won CTOTF’s Maintenance Award for a project completed at the company’s AL Sandersville plant in Washington County, Georgia. The AL Sandersville facility has roughly a 600 MW capacity with eight GE 7EA simple cycle units. The units have Brush generators with lift oil lines installed on each end to ensure shaft lift during startup. The lift oil system has pressure switches, but lacked a way of visually verifying oil pressure for individual lines. Lift oil failure had been a continuing issue on these generators.

To address the deficiency, plant personnel installed pressure gauges at the diverter block for each bearing to allow for quick and easy checking of the lift oil supply to each end of the generator. The modification also allows personnel to verify proper lift oil system operation while performing routine operator rounds.

Environmental Stewardship and Safety Process Excellence

Constellation won two CTOTF awards for work performed at its Handsome Lake Generating Station. Handsome Lake is a five-unit, 268-MW natural gas–fueled electric generation facility located in Venango County, Pennsylvania. The units are mainly used during peak energy demand periods.

The plant won the Environmental Stewardship award for a solution it implemented to manage the addition of oil to gas turbine lubrication systems. Plant personnel worked with a portable tank supplier to source an oil tote with a secondary containment built into the skid. This replaced a riskier process in which 55-gallon drums were trucked around the site with a forklift.

Handsome Lake was also recognized for a project it completed to improve plant safety. The station has a preventive maintenance task to verify proper operation of the generator exciter space heater every 60 days. This would require a technician suiting up in appropriate arc flash gear and accessing live wires with a handheld meter to record amperage readings. To eliminate the danger, an inexpensive—roughly $85—ammeter was installed on the door of the motor control center, allowing readings to be taken without opening the cabinet, thus eliminating potential arc flash hazards.

Operational, and Management and Process Excellence

The Klamath Cogeneration Plant (Figure 1), owned by Avangrid Renewables, is a 536-MW combined cycle power plant located in Klamath Falls, Oregon. It operates two Siemens 501FD3 combustion turbines, two Toshiba triple-pressure reheat heat recovery steam generators, and one Alstom triple-shell reheat steam turbine generator. The plant is connected to the Bonneville Power and PacifiCorp 500-kV transmission system.

1. The Klamath Cogeneration Plant in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Courtesy: Klamath Energy

Klamath received CTOTF’s Operational Award for a demineralized water system project. The need was identified by workers who routinely performed the regeneration process for the station’s Hungerford & Terry mixed-bed demineralizer trains. The regeneration system uses 50% caustic soda and 98% sulfuric acid in the process. The chemical streams are diluted prior to injection, and confirming the proper dilution rates of 1%, 4%, and 6% for acid, and 1% for caustic soda is essential to the proper regeneration of the demineralizer system.

The original procedure involved taking samples, transporting them to a lab, and performing the analysis. It required use of additional personal protective equipment and potential exposure to hazardous liquids during the process. However, a new employee requested a change based on previous experience at another facility. Local hydrometers were installed at the plant, allowing the analysis to be performed more quickly and safely without exposing workers to dangerous chemical hazards.

Klamath was also recognized for management and process excellence for an employee qualification program that the station implemented. Management recognized the difficulty in finding new hires with requisite knowledge of power plant operation, so the team set out to develop a process that would ensure workers were suitably qualified to do their jobs. New employees are now required to answer questions, demonstrate certain practical factors, and obtain signatures from qualified individuals, who have verified that the worker’s understanding of systems and procedures meet required performance standards. The process ensures new workers are adequately prepared to handle typical operations and maintenance situations before they are thrust into positions of great responsibility.

POWER congratulates the teams from the AL Sandersville, Handsome Lake, and Klamath plants for being selected as 2022 CTOTF Innovation Excellence Award winners. Well done!

CTOTF is a membership organization of combustion turbine owners and operators. Its user-defined mission is to be the premier forum for the exchange of information and experiences related to the design, operation, and maintenance of combustion turbine and combined cycle power plants, and to provide a collective voice for its members to express issues and concerns. POWER has partnered with CTOTF for several years and will be onsite for the group’s spring conference at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, March 13–17, 2022.

Aaron Larson is POWER’s executive editor.

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