POWER [August, 1 2010]

Cover Stories

Luminant’s Oak Grove Power Plant Earns POWER's Highest Honor

Luminant used remnants of the ill-fated Twin Oaks and Forest Grove plants (which were mothballed more than 30 years ago) to build the new two-unit 1,600-MW Oak Grove Plant. Though outfitted with equipment from those old plants, Oak Grove also sports an array of modern air quality control equipment and is the nation’s first 100% lignite-fired plant to adopt selective catalytic reduction for NOx control and activated carbon sorbent injection technology to remove mercury. For melding two different steam generators into a single project, adopting a unique and efficient “push-pull” fuel delivery system, assembling a tightly integrated team that completed the project on time and within budget, and for completing what was started almost four decades ago, Oak Grove Power Plant is awarded POWER magazine’s 2010 Plant of the Year award.


Advanced SCR Catalysts Tune Oxidized Mercury Removal

Catalysts used in selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems in utility boilers provide high NOx removal efficiencies that routinely exceed 90%. A major co-benefit of applying SCR to coal-fired power plants is that the SCR catalyst also oxidizes the vapor phase mercury from an elemental form to a soluble ionic form, which can be readily captured in a downstream flue gas desulfurization process. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Cormetech have developed an advanced SCR catalyst technology with high mercury oxidation activity capable of achieving 95% oxidized mercury over a wide range of operating conditions.

Bruce A Proves There Are Second Acts in Nuclear Power

The refurbishment and restart of all four CANDU reactors at Bruce A may be Ontario’s most significant and complex power generation project since the first phase of the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station was built more than 30 years ago. Units 1 and 2 are expected to be synchronized in 2011 and return to commercial service by early 2012, joining Units 3 and 4, which restarted in 2004 and 2003 respectively. POWER visited Bruce A in April to witness the project’s progress.

Cleco’s Madison Unit 3 Uses CFB Technology to Burn Petcoke and Balance the Fleet’s Fuel Portfolio

With commercial operation of Madison Unit 3, Cleco Power now claims bragging rights for owning the largest 100% petroleum coke–fired circulating fluidized bed power plant in North America. For using readily available fuel in an environmentally attractive manner, adopting fuel-flexible combustion technology, balancing the utility’s generation portfolio, and adopting an innovative fuel-handling system design, Madison Unit 3 is the winner of POWER’s 2010 Marmaduke Award for excellence in operation and maintenance. The award is named for Marmaduke Surfaceblow, the fictional marine engineer and plant troubleshooter par excellence.

Evaluating Materials Technology for Advanced Ultrasupercritical Coal-Fired Plants

A national R&D program has been under way to develop materials technology for constructing boilers and turbines capable of operating at advanced ultrasupercritical steam conditions in pulverized coal plants. The large-scale, multiyear, joint government/industry project seeks to increase the efficiency of power plants by increasing their steam conditions up to 1,400F (760C) at 5,000 psi (35 MPa). The ongoing project has already identified the materials and processes for successful operation at these higher steam conditions.

Lean Construction Principles Eliminate Waste

Eliminate waste in coal, gas, or nuclear power plant construction through a holistic application of lean principles.

Marmy, a Horse, and Compressors

Steve Elonka began chronicling the exploits of Marmaduke Surfaceblow—a six-foot-four marine engineer with a steel brush mustache and a foghorn voice—in POWER in 1948, when Marmaduke raised the wooden mast of the SS Asia Sun with the help of two cobras and a case of Sandpaper Gin. Marmy’s simple solutions to seemingly intractable plant problems remain timeless. This Classic Marmaduke story, originally published more than 50 years ago, illustrates that although solutions may be easy to identify, the challenge is often in the implementation. Sometimes a little horse sense is all that is necessary.

Real-Time Monitoring System Measures Air In-Leakage

The amount of air leaking into the boiler envelope is difficult to estimate. Traditional methods of measuring oxygen at the furnace exit and economizer exit do not account for all types of air leakage. By using molar calculations and total airflow measurement, a good approximation of the total air in-leakage rates of a boiler can be quickly determined using station instruments.

Work Process Optimization: Meeting the Challenge of Change

The competitive push for more efficient power generation prompted the management of East Kentucky Power Cooperative’s Spurlock Station to provide training and to implement standardized work processes in order to achieve higher productivity. To that end, Spurlock’s management collaborated with salaried and hourly personnel to design and implement work process optimization. Two years later, their proactive, operations-driven culture is promoting continuous improvement at this facility.



Nuclear Investment Means Jobs and Energy Security

A proven solution for immediate and long-term job creation came from President Barack Obama and his administration earlier this year: investment in U.S. nuclear energy. Bulldozers in Georgia are already on the move and making preparations for expansion of a nuclear plant that has achieved several approvals, and long-awaited jobs in the skilled labor sector could materialize there within months.

New Products

High-Accuracy Pressure Instrumentation

Heise precision pressure instruments provide the high-accuracy measurements required for critical test, calibration, and process applications. The unique blend of product configurations includes the Heise 0.1% precision dial pressure gauge,…

Optimized Pressure Transmitter

ABB’s new 266 series is an optimized pressure transmitter family that combines modern electronic pressure measurement with the company’s unique human machine interface (HMI) in one common product series, providing…

Phase Rotation Meter

HD Electric Co.’s Phase Rotation Meter (PRM) is used to determine the leading phase of any two phases in a three-phase conductor system. The PRM is a dual-range 0 to 5…

Portable Power Quality Monitoring

The SEL-734P Portable PQ Meter is a new metering solution from Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) that addresses the need for complete and portable power quality monitoring. In addition to the…

Portable Vibration Analyzer

LUDECA has introduced VIBXPERT II, the latest addition to its PRUEFTECHNIK family of portable route-based vibration data collectors. VIBXPERT II is rugged and lightweight and combines the advantages of a…

Rotating Pipe Cleaners

A new family of Rotating Line Moles (RLM) from NLB gives users more than 40 choices for cleaning pipes and tubes with high-pressure water. Designed for tubes with diameters from…

Legal & Regulatory

FERC Proposes an Improved Path for New Transmission

In October of last year, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) issued a study finding that maintaining electric reliability will require significant acceleration in the siting and construction of new transmission lines. The NERC study is indicative of growing concerns that changes to the current transmission planning process are necessary to maintain reliability and accommodate interconnection of the massive amounts of renewable resources expected to come online over the next 10 to 20 years.

Focus on O&M

Breathing Added Life into Failing Heat Exchangers

When heat exchanger tubes—sometimes numbering a thousand or more per unit—begin to crack or wear, the effects can lead to a cascade of subsequent failures in adjacent tubes. If too many tubes are plugged, heat exchanger effectiveness is compromised, and power generation may be curtailed. If conventional mechanical plugs are used, they can break loose, leak, and fail. At that point, the replacement of a very costly heat exchanger is imminent.

Local Warming: Helsingin Energia Uses CHP to Heat a City

Power plant operators, especially those located in countries with enforceable carbon emissions standards, are concerned about their CO2 emissions. But for Helsingin Energia—which provides power, heating, and cooling for Helsinki, Finland’s 300,000 residents—the main concern is local warming, not global warming. In Helsinki, temperatures on midsummer afternoons only reach an average 21C, and for half the year daytime temperatures are below 10C.

Protect Your Stack Linings from Corrosion

Stacks at power generating stations may be low maintenance, but they are not no maintenance. The cost of preventing corrosion may be as little as $10,000, but the cost of repair or replacement could be many times that or even put your plant out of commission until the stack problem is corrected.

Global Monitor

AREVA Installs Finnish EPR Reactor Vessel

This June, AREVA installed the reactor pressure vessel (Figure 6)—the core of the unit—at the world’s first EPR project, which is under construction in Finland. Now the company will engage in a flurry of installation activities for heavy nuclear components, including lifting into the reactor the first of the four steam generators. Most of the work is expected to be completed by the end of 2012, with power production beginning in 2013.

Canada to Shutter Older Coal Plants

While the U.S. awaits congressional action on a cap-and-trade program that could possibly be limited to just the utility sector, Canada is moving, starting in 2011, to phase out older coal power plants and replace them with natural gas–fired plants. The announcement, made this June by Environment Minister Jim Prentice prior to the G8 and G20 summits, could have serious implications for coal-fired generators in the country.

Corrections (August 2010)

In “Dry Injection of Trona for SO3 Control” (May 2010), NH4HSO4 is ammonium bisulfite. In the June “Focus on O&M,” the engines shown in Figure 6 each have eight cylinders.…

High-Efficiency Gas Turbines Go to Market

This May, following two years of construction, Siemens Energy put into operation Irsching 5, an 847-MW advanced combined-cycle power plant near Ingolstadt, Germany. The plant’s owner, Gemeinschaftskraftwerke Irsching GmbH—a joint venture of E.ON, Mainova, and HEAG Südhessische Energie—features two SGT5-4000F gas turbines, one SST5-5000 steam turbine, three hydrogen-cooled generators, electrical systems, and Siemens’ SPPA-T3000 instrumentation and control system.

POWER Digest (August 2010)

Sweden Reverses Ban, Approves Nuclear Reactor Replacements Sweden’s parliament on June 18 reversed an earlier decision and passed the center-right coalition government’s landmark proposal, made last year, that allows for…

Russia’s Nuclear Mission

Nearly a quarter-century after the Chernobyl nuclear power station disaster in Soviet Ukraine, Russia has been making deals with energy-starved nations all over the globe to help them build new nuclear power plants using Russian second-generation reactor technology.

Wave Energy Device to Tap Marine Energy in Gulf of Mexico

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers earlier this year awarded its first Section 10 permit ever to a commercial wave-powered demonstration facility planned for installation in the Gulf of Mexico. The novel offshore platform, dubbed the SEADOG, will use a buoy and piston mechanism combined with a water wheel to generate electricity and desalinate water.

Speaking of Power

The Edison of 1879

The cover of the July 5 special History Issue of TIME magazine features Thomas Edison holding a glowing bulb. A series of articles celebrate Edison’s many inventions and closes with this: “Edison’s laboratories were the forerunners of the interactive technological think tanks of Apple, Google, and Microsoft.” Though the sentiment lauds Edison, I think it’s an overstatement.

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