POWER [March, 1 2011]

Cover Stories

TECO’s San José Plant Models Safe and Sustainable Practices

In operation since 2000, TECO Energy Inc.’s 132-MW San José Power Station was the first coal-fired power plant built in Central America and is still the largest one. Used as a baseload plant, the facility successfully combines high availability with a business model that promotes sustainable environmental practices and a safe workplace.


Benchmarking Fossil Plant Performance Measures, Part I: Station-Level Metrics

How does your company prepare and share fossil plant performance data? What data are important, and how much effort is required to collect and report the data? What are the most important statistics for reporting key fossil plant operations? The latest EUCG benchmarking survey reveals the favored fossil performance metrics at several of the largest utilities in eight key categories.

Canada’s “Clean” Image Extends to Clean Power

Canada’s extensive natural resources are the driver of its powerful economy, and energy is Canada’s single most important export. Yet policy makers across the nation are currently dealing with the consequences of a generation of under-investment in the electricity system and deciding what the new grid and supply mix should look like. Several provinces are competing to lead the charge in renewable energy and grid intelligence. Policy makers hope that such efforts will not only provide for Canada’s electricity needs but also create the green economy jobs that will drive the nation’s next generation of economic development.

Canada’s Provincial Power Strategies

In Canada, as in the U.S., where you live determines the type of generation technology that provides your power. Here’s how the four most energy-intensive provinces in Canada are responding to the challenge of providing reliable and cheap power in a sustainable way.

Proper Sizing of Steam Header Drains Prevents Water Induction

Steam turbines convert the thermal energy in motive steam to rotating mechanical energy, and the generator converts that energy into electrical power. One important requirement for safe and reliable operation is preventing water induction in the steam turbine and avoiding water hammer in the steam piping system. ASME standards present the design guidelines for removing moisture from steam lines; this article explains a practical design process.

RAM Process Optimizes IGCC Design

New methods of reliability, availability, and maintainability (RAM) evaluation help facilitate more-accurate plant output and revenue predictions, identify strengths and weaknesses of possible plant configurations, and determine potential improvements and enhancements for integrated gasification combined cycle plants.

Training Tomorrow’s Power Industry Workers

As U.S. electric utilities watch increasing numbers of older workers leave the workforce, they are left with a shrinking pool of experienced personnel. To meet this growing challenge, a number of educational programs are being offered to help younger workers take advantage of career opportunities in the electric power industry.

Transmission and Distribution in Canada

Like its neighbor to the south, Canada faces enormous costs to upgrade and expand its transmission and distribution system. The desire to integrate more renewable power into the grid, build a smarter grid, and export more power are providing the rationale for action, but capital and political will lag behind.

Who Needs an Owner’s Engineer?

In the past, members of a utility’s engineering staff spent their career designing and building new power plants. Today, many utility engineers find that opportunity comes around only once in a career. To fill the experience gap, an “owner’s engineer” company can add to a utility’s team a cadre of highly qualified power engineers who focus on avoiding design errors and keeping the project on schedule.



A Report Card on Stimulus Support for Renewable Energy

Prior to the crash, the renewable energy industry—including wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable energy sources—was on a roll. In 2007 and 2008, the U.S. wind power sector alone added over 13,500 MW of new projects, enough to power almost 4 million homes.

New Products

Clamp Meters for Technician Safety

Fluke introduced a new family of clamp meters that is engineered to give electricians and maintenance technicians new ways to ways to work safely and reduce their exposure to electrical…

Gas-Weighing Scale for Water Treatment Applications

Scale-manufacturer Scaletron Industries added the Model 2305 Digital Single Cylinder Eco-Scale to its product lineup. Designed to provide a more versatile solution for weighing ammonia, carbon dioxide, hydrogen chloride, liquefied…

Industrial Vacuum for Combustible Dusts

The new VAC-U-MAX Model 860/02 is suited for operators who want to eliminate drum handling and who need to collect and discharge powders in a safe, dust-free, and convenient way.…

Metal Seat Ball Valves for High-Temperature, Abrasive Surfaces

The new M-series metal seat ball valves from A-T Controls are engineered with specially coated matched balls and seats to stand up to high temperatures, high pressures, and abrasive materials…

Multiparameter Transmitter for Water Purity Monitoring

Mettler-Toledo Process Analytics Division introduced the Thornton model M800 multiparameter transmitter for monitoring water purity. Multiparameter measurement is ideally suited for facilities where precise measurement of conductivity/resistivity, pH, dissolved oxygen,…

Tube Fabrication Tools Package

Parker Hannifin Corp. has assembled a comprehensive and complementary package of heavy duty hand-operated tube fabrication tools for small-bore tube assembly. Parker’s new tube fabrication equipment package provides all the…

Legal & Regulatory

Proposed Combustible Dust Rule Sparks Debate

A high-stakes dustup is shaping up in connection with the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) proposed new standard to regulate combustible dust. When and if enacted, this new OSHA regulation will definitely affect the way personnel handle coal at power plants that use it for fuel.

Focus on O&M

Improve ACC Performance with Automated Pressure Washing

Beginning each spring and continuing through the fall, backpressure readings at Rosebud Operating Services Inc. indicated substantial drops in the condenser’s efficiency. Increased backpressure results in higher net plant heat rate and a corresponding measurable decrease in power generation.

Plant Safety: Learn from the Mistakes of Others

On January 27, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a case study examining the causes of a heat exchanger rupture and ammonia release at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber…

The Heat Is On at Arctic Air Base

Thule (“Two Lee”) Air Base is a 254–square mile base located in a coastal valley in the northwestern corner of Greenland, within the Arctic Circle. The base, the U.S.’s northernmost military installation, is nestled between mountains and surrounded by icebergs and glaciers as far as the eye can see.

Global Monitor

Brazil Greenlights 11-GW Belo Monte Project

Brazil’s environment agency, IBAMA, in January issued a partial installation license that allows for construction of the controversial Belo Monte dam complex, an 11,233-MW project estimated to cost some 19.6 billion reals (US$11.7 billion), to begin on the margins of the Amazon’s Xingu River. Saying the project is needed to meet soaring electricity demand when completed, as planned in 2015, the government gave license to dam-building consortium Norte Energia to begin clearing 238.1 hectares (588 acres) of forestland.

E.ON Starts 417-MW Cogeneration Plant in Slovakia

At the beginning of 2011, German firm E.ON began operation of its new 417-MW Malzenice gas and steam turbine power station in Slovakia’s Trnava region, near the country’s capital, Bratislava (Figure 5). The facility, which is expected to generate more than 300 billion kWh annually, boasts an efficiency of 58%—which E.ON claims is among the “highest in Europe.”

European Offshore Wind Turbine Capacity Grows 51% in 2010

Europe installed 308 new offshore wind turbines in 2010—a 51% increase in installed offshore capacity over the previous year, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) said in new figures released this January. The 883 MW of new capacity—worth some €2.6 billion—were installed at nine wind farms in five countries, bringing the continent’s total offshore installed wind capacity to 2,964 MW.

POWER Digest (March 2011)

GDF SUEZ, RWE, and Iberdrola Pull out of Cernavoda Nuclear Expansion. French power company GDF SUEZ, Germany’s RWE, and Spain’s Iberdrola on Jan. 20 said they would no longer participate…

Small Nuclear Reactor Concept Goes Underwater

France in January announced its contribution to the wave of small and modular reactors (SMRs): a submarine-like nuclear plant that can be submerged in waters 60 meters (m) to 100 m deep and several kilometers offshore.

U.S. and China Push Forward with Cleaner Coal Projects, Amid Setbacks

In his January State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama called on Congress to pass legislation that would allow the U.S. to source 80% of its electricity from “clean energy” sources by 2035—including traditional renewable sources like wind and solar as well as nuclear and “clean coal.” That broadened definition of “clean energy” was designed to inspire bipartisan interest, as was widely reported. But, as was also widely pointed out, the speech followed a visit to Washington from Chinese government officials and a series of key agreements aimed at increasing “clean energy” cooperation between the two countries.

Using Flue Gas to Mitigate Ocean Acidification

Lab-scale experiments have shown that seawater and calcium could effectively remove most of the carbon dioxide (CO2) from a natural gas power plant’s flue gas stream. A large fraction of the captured gas could then be converted into dissolved calcium bicarbonate—which, pumped into the sea, could be beneficial to the ocean’s marine life, says a researcher representing both the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL’s) Carbon Management Program and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Speaking of Power

Busting Myths

The popular television show Mythbusters uses pseudo-scientific means to examine and often expose as fiction familiar urban myths. After made-for-television lab tests, the myth is then classified as either a fabrication (“busted”), entirely possible (“confirmed”), or somewhere in between (“plausible”).

GBR Reports