POWER [August, 15 2007]

Cover Stories

MidAmerican's Walter Scott, Jr. Energy Center Unit 4 earns POWER's highest honor

MidAmerican Energy Co. and its project partners are convinced that supercritical coal-firing technology’s inherently higher efficiency and lower CO2 emissions no longer come with a price: reduced reliability. Their Walter Scott, Jr. Energy Center Unit 4, the first major new supercritical plant in the U.S. in more than 15 years, is POWER’s 2007 Plant of the Year.


Application determines DG system configuration

The intended use is the primary consideration (even fuel is secondary) when choosing an on-site energy system. Whether the need is for power alone or for heat as well, distributed generation plants have delivered lower energy costs and improved reliability to industrial and commercial customers worldwide. Following are six case studies of reciprocating engine systems that highlight their versatility.

Detecting and solving lube oil varnish problems

Have you bought electrostatic or agglomeration equipment to rid your turbine oil of varnish deposits, but its varnish potential rating failed to improve? Or, after an initial drop, has the varnish potential returned to its previous level? Even worse, have you had recurring valve sticking problems after making a sizeable investment to "solve" this problem? Welcome to the world of soluble varnish caused by autodegradation. Read the unvarnished truth about varnish and how to get rid of it for good.

Field experience with mercury monitors

With U.S. mercury regulations pending and control technologies in the full-scale demonstration stage, accurate and reliable measurement of mercury in flue gas is becoming more important than ever. This article compares the results of field measurements of commercially available mercury monitors to approved reference methods. A key but not-so-surprising finding: Not all mercury monitors are created equal.

Finding and fixing leakage within combined HP-IP steam turbines: Part II

By design, combined HP-IP turbines have a small amount of internal leakage from the high-pressure turbine to the intermediate-pressure turbine. As turbines age, the leakage increases considerably and becomes excessive, creating a heat rate penalty and possibly a reliability problem. Last month we explored the symptoms and causes of steam leakage within GE steam turbines and how to correct the problem. In Part II, we examine the same issues for Westinghouse and Allis-Chalmers turbines from both theoretical and practical angles.

Marmy's loose rivets

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 he 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 in 1958, illustrates that big problems often have simple, but ingenious, solutions.

PSNH's Northern Wood Power Project repowers coal-fired plant with new fluidized-bed combustor

The Northern Wood Power Project permanently replaced a 50-MW coal-burning boiler at Public Service of New Hampshire's Schiller Station with a state-of-the-art fluidized-bed wood-burning boiler of the same capacity. The project, completed in December 2006, reduced emissions and expanded the local market for low-grade wood. For planning and executing the multiyear, $75 million project at no cost to its ratepayers, PSNH wins POWER's 2007 Marmaduke Award for excellence in O&M. The award is named for Marmaduke Surfaceblow, the fictional marine engineer/plant troubleshooter par excellence.


August 1886 POWER reported on one of the first twin-cylinder "Otto" natural gas–fired engines that had recently appeared in the U.S. power market. The report notes that "engines of 100…

Use predictive techniques to guide your mercury compliance strategy

Several states have mandated faster and/or deeper reductions in plant mercury emissions than those called for by the Clean Air Mercury Rule. Unfortunately, differences between plants make accurate evaluation of control options difficult. In most cases, even statistically based Hg emission models don't pass muster because they don't account for the dynamic chemical behavior of Hg species in gas cleaning systems. This article describes one system evaluation tool that has been validated using Hg field test data from 50 full-scale flue gas cleaning systems. It is already being used by TVA and other utilities.



Global warming "consensus" continues to melt away

We are witnessing an international awakening of scientists who are speaking out in opposition to former Vice President Al Gore, the United Nations, and the media-driven "consensus" on man-made global…

New Products

Legal & Regulatory

Focus on O&M

Focus on O&M (August 2007)

Stop valves from leaking money / Integrating plant and equipment models / Pricing priceless knowledge

Global Monitor

Global Monitor (August 2007)

PG&E mounts tidal power project / GE F-class turbine breaks record / Iowa welcomes ethanol-fed hog / NYPA upgrades pumped-storage plant / Bush blesses Browns Ferry 1 restart / Shearon Harris looks to live on / Nevada bets on solar thermal / Climate models questioned / POWER digest

Readers talk back and Corrections (August 2007)

Reaction to reactor comment On page 34 of your April article on nuclear power, the author mischaracterized the maturity of one of the new reactors that have been submitted for…

Speaking of Power

Fueling around

Europeans didn't know that corn existed before Columbus "discovered" America. It had been cultivated by indigenous North Americans for thousands of years before the Italian brought home what was to…

Is ratepayer funding of utility R&D outdated?

Southern California Edison Co. (SCE) is requesting regulatory approval to recover over $50 million from ratepayers to analyze the feasibility and cost of a "commercial-scale" clean hydrogen power generation (CHPG)…


August 1886 POWER reported on one of the first twin-cylinder "Otto" natural gas–fired engines that had recently appeared in the U.S. power market. The report notes that "engines of 100…

GBR Reports