Archive: O&M

Utilities surpass other industries in asset maintenance practices

Want some good news about your predictive maintenance program for a change? A recent research report by the Aberdeen Group found the electric utility industry benchmarks exceptionally well against other industries in its PDM practices. In fact, the research found that best-in-class companies outperformed industry peers in improving asset availability by up to a three-to-one margin. In a web exclusive, the Aberdeen Group has provided its report for download from as a service to our readers.

Getting to the root of lube oil degradation problems

Doctors and engineers realize that solving a health problem is better done by identifying and eliminating its cause than by treating its symptoms. For machinery, the class of multidisciplinary methods known as root cause analysis (RCA) is an important tool for addressing chronic reliability problems. But RCA often is improperly applied to lubrication-related problems. Read on to learn how to use the technique correctly.

Adding cathodic protection to a hyperbolic tower

Hyperbolic cooling towers have a distinctive shape, but that form is subordinate to function—natural-draft cooling is cheaper than mechanical-draft cooling. The lower operating costs are offset to some degree by the higher cost of protecting internal tower surfaces from swings in humidity that foster corrosion damage. Learn how one utility added cathodic protection when it repaired its corroded hyperbolic tower, giving it a new lease on life.

Focus on O&M  (April 2007)

Control pollution and slagging on a shoestring / Keeping HRSGs young, cool, and clean / Natural air conditioning

Practical guidelines for determining electrical area classification

A century ago, boiler explosions were an all-too-familiar event. But with the universal adoption of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Codes in 1914, explosions caused by poor design or manufacturing became relics of history. Electrical classification codes had the same effect on safety. This article explains how designers and operators practically apply those standards. Code details and samples of area classification drawings for a gas turbine plant are included in an online supplement (see end of story).

Water hammer and other hydraulic phenomena

The term "water hammer" encompasses a handful of hydraulic and thermohydraulic mechanisms. They include water hammer in steam and water piping, water piston, water induction, flash condensation and evaporation, and shock waves generated by transonic flow. All can lead to failures of steam and water cycle components and put plant operators and workers at risk. Proper design and O&M practices can keep water hammer and similar phenomena under control.

Focus on O&M (March 2007)

The critical subset / Aging workforce challenges / Tighter tolerances in retrofits / Writing sensible start-up and shutdown procedures

Speaking of Coal Power: Coal in a Carbon-Constrained World

Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) have elbowed their way into the nation’s lexicon with the rise in concern over climate change. But few of the journalists who are hyping global warming have taken the trouble to learn the ins and outs of producing affordable electricity from coal. Citizens of the industrialized world now wring their […]

Coal Plant O&M: Continuous On-line Monitoring Cuts Downtime, Costs

As gencos seek to improve plant reliability and availability, many are turning to on-line condition monitoring for help. Huge advances in the capabilities of on-line diagnostics have occurred over the past five years. By using this technology, plant personnel can spot early warning signs of impending equipment failure and take action to correct the underlying […]

SO3 Control: Dominion Demonstrates CleanStack Technology

Dominion Generation (DG) has installed selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems on many of the large coal-fired generating units it operates. The catalyst used has an SO2 to SO3 oxidation rate of about 1%, which roughly doubles the SO3 concentration at the outlet of the boiler economizers. The magnitude of the increase was proportional to the […]