POWER [October, 1 2012]

Cover Stories

TOP PLANT: Merrimack Station’s Clean Air Project, Bow, New Hampshire

To comply with the New Hampshire law governing mercury emissions, Merrimack Station management recently installed a single scrubber system on the facility’s two coal-fired boilers. The plant’s Clean Air Project was completed on Mar. 30, 2012, ahead of schedule and under budget. Now the 440-MW Merrimack Station has reduced its mercury and sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 95% and is one of the cleanest coal-fired power plants in the nation

TOP PLANT: C.P. Crane Generating Station, Middle River, Maryland

A desire to do things right led Constellation Energy to invest $70 million to convert its 400-MW C.P. Crane Generating Station to burn Powder River Basin coal and develop the culture critical to making that conversion a success. In addition to being named a 2012 POWER Top Plant, the PRB Coal Users’ Group recognized the plant for its efforts with its Plant of the Year Award

TOP PLANT: Northside Generating Station, Jacksonville, Florida

Since the Northside Generating Station’s two repowered units were placed into service in 2002, a series of modifications and repairs have been undertaken to make its two circulating fluidized bed boiler plants reliable. The two chief problems were ash agglomeration on heat transfer surfaces and poor Intrex heat exchanger performance. JEA reports these problems have been permanently resolved, and data shows the two units have joined the top tier of reliable fossil plants.

TOP PLANT: Tanjung Jati B Electric Generating Station, Central Java Province, Republic of Indonesia

Units 3 and 4 expand the Tanjung Jati Electric Generating Station’s capacity by adding 1,320 MW of reliable power that helps to boost Indonesia’s growing economy. Now the 2,640-MW coal-fired facility provides approximately 12% of the electricity available on the Java-Bali grid. The new units feature a flue gas desulfurization system and electrostatic precipitators that reduce air emissions and protect the environment.

TOP PLANT: Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center, Virginia City, Virginia

Dominion’s 585-MW Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center, located in southwestern Virginia, relies on two circulating fluidized bed boilers that burn coal and local waste coal mixed with up to 20% biomass. The project also features one of the industry’s largest air-cooled condenser systems to minimize the plant’s water usage. The $1.8 billion project entered commercial service July 10, on budget and on schedule

TOP PLANT: Yeongheung Power Station Unit 3, Yeongheung Island, South Korea

The insatiable power demands of a huge modern metropolitan area like Seoul call for both big thinking and flexibility. The successful launch of this large, state-of-the-art supercritical coal plant required adapting to unforeseen changes in fuel supply while meeting highly restrictive environmental controls. The resulting high-availability facility is a POWER Top Plant


Are Economics Trumping Regulation?

The fate of coal-fired generation remains fluid as owners weigh environmental rules, the effect of low natural gas prices, and the shifting cost of investing in emissions control technology. An analysis of generating unit data suggests that smaller, older, less-efficient, and less-frequently dispatched assets are most vulnerable to retirements. Recently accelerated retirement dates for some units indicate that economic factors are a more important determining factor than pending environmental mandates

China’s Power Generators Face Many Business Barriers

China’s five largest power generators own half of that country’s power generating assets. Faulty policies and the rapidly changing global economy have made it difficult for these companies to fulfill the high expectations arising from enactment of the Power System Reform Scheme of 2002

EMO Technology Promises Improved Mercury Removal

The latest Environmental Protection Agency mercury control limits in the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards present a significant technical challenge to the power industry. Shaw offers a cost-effective process that promotes mercury oxidation and removal in fossil fuel combustion applications that can potentially achieve consistent mercury oxidation above 95%. Shaw’s E&I Group EMO technology provides the industry with an alternative to halogen salt addition and activated carbon injection that can also be used to augment the performance of existing Hg control applications and strategies

EPA Stalls on Coal Combustion Residuals

In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed federal rules regulating coal combustion residuals (CCRs) for the first time to address the risks posed by coal-fired power plants' disposal of such waste byproducts. The need for new regulations remains a topic of debate, heightened by the EPA's reticence to release the rule. The EPA says that it will release the new rule by the end of this year--over two years late.

Evaluating Technologies to Address Proposed Effluent Guidelines

Upcoming revisions to U.S. federal effluent guidelines are anticipated to include new discharge limits for mercury and selenium in flue gas desulfurization wastewater, in addition to other potential revisions. Collaborative R&D is helping inform the rulemaking and is evaluating the cost and performance of technology options that might be used to meet the new targets.

Reducing Ash Agglomeration in JEA’s CFB Boilers

A chronic operational problem with circulating fluidized bed boilers is ash buildup or agglomeration that turns into slag, which forces frequent shutdowns for cleaning. Solving the problem is tricky, because combustion efficiency relies on good fuel quality, but the best fuel for efficiency may not be the best fuel for minimizing furnace and tube fouling and ash plugging.



Veterans and Utilities: A Valuable Partnership

The brave men and women of the U.S. military spend years crafting special skills and developing traits that prepare them for the challenging assignments they will be given throughout their terms of service. They receive orders for tours of duty and venture without hesitation into places steeped in peril and instability. Because of their consistently courageous responses to unimaginable challenges, civilians herald America’s servicemen and women as heroes. How can we begin to repay our veterans for defending our freedom?

New Products

Cryogenic Mass Vortex Flow Meter

Sierra Instruments launched a new cryogenic version of its InnovaMass 240 multivariable mass vortex flow meter for advanced, more reliable measurement of liquefied gases, including liquid nitrogen, liquid oxygen, liquefied…

Electronic Differential Pressure Sensor

The Deltabar FMD72 Electronic Differential Pressure measurement system launched by Endress+Hauser uses two pressure sensor modules connected electronically to a single transmitter and eliminates the need for impulse lines or…

Motor Control Center Addresses Arc Flash Incidents

ABB says its newly introduced MNS-MCC motor control center is the first in the industry to address the causes of arc flash incidents while providing superior equipment and personnel protection.…

pH-Measuring App

California-based Sensorex has developed an industry-first mobile accessory for pH measurements. Compatible with Apple iPod, iPhone, and iPad devices, the PH-1 pH meter accessory measures and records pH values in…

Power Supply Signal Conditioning

Pepperl+Fuchs’ new KFU8-VCR-1 Transmitter Power Supply Signal Conditioners feature various inputs for standard voltage and current inputs. These 1-channel signal conditioners offer maximum installation flexibility to suit a wide range…

Rubber Disc Return Rollers

New Rubber Disc Return Rollers from Elite Roller Manufacturing feature four tapered roller bearings (two in each hub) for smooth operation and a service life that is up to three…

Legal & Regulatory

New Approaches to Project Mitigation

The First Law of Thermodynamics holds that the amount of matter and energy in the universe is constant and that no new matter or energy can be created. The corollary Second Law is that when energy is put to use, unusable energy or entropy results. One lesson—other than to beware of lawyers purporting to lecture on physics—is that everything we do has a consequence.

Focus on O&M

Fly Ash Erosion Control and Prevention

Boiler tube failures (BTFs) are responsible for the largest portion of availability loss (about 4%) in the fossil boiler industry, and approximately 25% of all tube failures are due to fly ash erosion (FAE). An Electric Power Research Institute report indicated that the problem was being managed in U.S. utilities by maintenance activities that were put into effect each time a boiler was taken off-line. The cost of an individual repair was a small fraction of the forced outage cost, and therefore has been considered justified in the past. However, many forced outages continue to be experienced each year due to FAE, and in many cases, these occur at identical locations, indicating that applied solutions relieve, but do not cure, the problem.

Maintaining Grid Reliability with a High Renewables Portfolio

The first problem with high renewable penetration is that wind and solar are not dispatchable.

Predictive Maintenance That Works

This is the sixth in a series of predictive maintenance (PdM) articles that began in the April 2011 “Focus on O&M” in which the essentials of PdM were introduced. In this occasional segment, we have explored specific PdM techniques, such as motor-current signature analysis, oil analysis and thermographic analysis and their routine use, and ultrasonic and vibration analysis. In this issue we look at lubricating oil wear-particle analysis.

Global Monitor

Germany’s Reliance on Coal Grows

This August, instead of the usual fanfare at the official commissioning ceremony of RWE’s twin-unit 2.2-GW coal-fired BoA Units 2 and 3—a $3.3 billion lignite-fired power plant in Grevenbroich-Neurath near Cologne (Figure 1)—Germany’s premier of the state of North Rhine–Westphalia, Hannelore Kraft, and the newly installed federal minister of the environment, Peter Altmaier, requested a rapid cutback in power production. As 400 guests watched, the output of one unit was reportedly reduced by more than 150 MW in five minutes, and then restored just as fast. The demonstration was to show how quickly the plant could offset the intermittency of wind and solar power, the officials said, proclaiming the plant an “important element” of Germany’s energy strategy.

Microbial Fuel Cells Promise Power from Sludge

A microbial fuel cell technology developed at Oregon State University (OSU) promises to produce 10 to 50 times more electricity per volume directly from wastewater than most other approaches using microbial fuel cells. The breakthrough could reportedly have significant implications for waste treatment plants by replacing the “activated sludge” process that has been widely used for almost a century. The new approach could produce significant amounts of electricity while effectively cleaning the wastewater, OSU researchers say.

Plant Vogtle Moves Forward, as Do Costs and Schedules

At Plant Vogtle in Georgia, where Southern Co. subsidiary Southern Nuclear is building two new 1,100-MW AP1000 units for Georgia Power and co-owners Oglethorpe Power Corp., the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, and Dalton Utilities, work on the first new nuclear units built in the U.S. in 30 years is progressing—albeit with hiccups.

POWER Digest (October 2012)

Chile Supreme Court Strikes Plans for $5B Coal Plant. Chile’s Supreme Court on Aug. 28 rejected the $5 billion Central Castilla thermoelectric power plant planned by Brazilian firm MPX Energia…

Powering Curiosity on Mars—And Beyond

With the precarious descent of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity into the Red Planet’s Gale Crater a success, NASA now plans to gather geological and environmental data from the Martian surface to determine whether the planet has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for life—and collect data for a manned mission.

South Korea Connects Two New Reactors to the Grid

3. An atomic leap. South Korea is looking to boost nuclear capacity to 43.4% of its total power profile by 2020. Two new reactors became commercially operational this summer, the…

THE BIG PICTURE: Regulation Road

To view a larger version of this graphic, download the file here.

Speaking of Power

Hollow Victory

Cato Institute senior fellows Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren in an Aug. 31 Forbes website blog suggest that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) carbon pollution standard for new coal-fired power plants (Standard) is a meaningless skirmish in President Obama’s “war on coal.” The Standard may have no tangible impact on the industry in the future, but it has great strategic benefit to the administration.

GBR Reports