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Vol. 155 No.

5 May 2011

The Nature of Nuclear Power

The Future of Coal

HAZCOM Essentials
Hydrokinetic Power Proves Out
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Established 1882 Vol. 155 No. 5 May 2011

Janus face illustration by Elizabeth C. Johnston, Lizzardbrand Inc. Copyright POWER. For
the story behind the cover, see the first sidebar (p. 30) in the cover story.


28 Chernobyl: Twenty-Five Years of Wormwood
Nuclear power has, not surprisingly, been the cover story for many business
magazines lately. And although POWER had long ago planned to look back at
Chernobyl in this issue, the catastrophic March events in Japan necessarily
required looking at both the Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi incidents this
month. In our cover story, three POWER editors address the issue of how nuclear
power plant accidents affect the industry. For more on the ongoing Japanese cri-
sis and its repercussions across the ocean, see our Global Monitor and Speaking
of Power departments.
SPECIAL REPORT: The future of coal
36 Research and Development for Future Coal Generation
Authors from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) discuss the projects their
organization is working on to enable coal to be a viable and competitive fuel for
future power generation. Success with EPRIs full suite of approachesfrom plant
efficiency improvements to CO2 management to reducing water demand and pollut-
ant dischargeswill be required.

48 Added Regulatory Hurdles Will Accelerate Coal Plant Retirements

ICF International looks at how recent and anticipated U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency rules are likely to affect the lifespans of coal-fired power plants in the U.S.
The authors examine the impact of new rules, the costs of complying with them, and
the number of plants likely to face early retirement as a result.

56 Predicting U.S. Coal Plant Retirements

Using a proprietary Burns & McDonnell database graciously shared with POWER,
our editor-in-chief queried the data in multiple ways to generate a set of charts and
graphs you wont want to miss. He also proposes a more meaningful metric for as-
sessing the impact of plant retirements than is typically used.

66 Coal-Fired Generation Cost and Performance Trends

Navigant used its proprietary fossil power plant database to look into the future of
U.S. coal-fired generation. Its analysis of the numbers includes useful distinctions Lignite 3%
between subcritical and supercritical plants. In addition to costs, the authors look at
the increasingly important efficiency-emissions connection.

Subbituminous Bituminous 56%

How Many U.S. Coal Plants Are at Risk? 29%

Our special report on the future of coal includes three independent analyses that attempt
to answer that question. Though they take different approaches to their study of the is-
sue, we think youll be surprised at the similar conclusions they draw.
May 2011 POWER www.powermag.com 1
Health & Safety
70 HAZCOM Is Essential for Avoiding Explosive Situations
So many hazardous materials are used in industry today that it may be tempting to
take them for granted. However, that dangerous attitude continues to place hazard-
ous communications violations near the top of the list of OSHA citations every year.
Only when proper procedures and training lessons have become second nature
is it possible to avoid catastrophe when the unexpected occursas one historic
example demonstrates.

76 Proactive Strategies for Dealing with Combustible Dust

Far too many staff think they can avoid housekeeping at work. But if the workplace
70 is a coal plant, neglecting housekeeping could have catastrophic consequences. The
director of governmental affairs for the Powder River Basin Coal Users Group pro-
vides a valuable status report on OSHA rules affecting coal dust management as
well as general advice on protocols for the safe handling of coal dust.

82 New York City Backs Tidal Power
A project that was the worlds first grid-tied tidal array is preparing to install 30 more
turbines in the East River. The hydrokinetic energy not only provides clean power
but is an invisible renewable energy technology that, unlike wind turbines in some
locales, is being welcomed by its neighbors.

86 Benchmarking Fossil Plant Performance Measures, Part III: Metrics Used for
Our final article on the latest EUCG benchmarking survey examines how plant-

76 and fleet-level metrics are used in determining compensation at fossil-fired power

plants. As with so many other plant issues, specific market operating conditions
play a role in determining what matters.

Speaking of Power
6 Nuclear Sneak Attack
8 The Battle to Stabilize Daiichi
8 Chinas Five-Year Plan Is Heavy on Non-Fossil Generation
10 Large-Scale Tests Begin to Convert Flue Gas to Usable Water
10 Major Offshore Players Introduce Colossal Wind Turbines
12 China Dam Gets Worlds First Self-Closing Ring Gate Control System
82 12 Researchers Develop Supercritical CO2 Brayton Cycle Turbines
14 Interest, Funding Buoys Floating Solar Power Plants
14 POWER Digest
Focus on O&M
16 Preventing Copper Deposition in Steam Turbines
20 Predictive Maintenance That Works
26 Is FERC Backstop Siting Authority Still Alive?
By Brian R. Gish, of counsel in Davis Wright Tremaines Energy Practice Group

90 New Products
100 Solving the Challenges of Growing Energy Demand
8 By Brandon C. Bethards, president and CEO of The Babcock & Wilcox Co.

2 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
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POWER May 2011
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Nuclear Sneak Attack

renewed attack on nuclear power Regulatory Commission (NRC) employees of little concernDiablo Canyon sits on
immediately followed the March and the tens of thousands of people in a bluff 85 feet above sea level.
11 catastrophe at the six-unit Fu- the U.S. nuclear industry who have spent
kushima Daiichi nuclear power complex their entire careers hyper-focused on the Criticisms Already Answered
in Japan. At least one legislator and a safe use of nuclear energy. Other criticisms presented by Markey as
multitude of anti-nuclear groups have Markey, in his recent email blitz, also justification for putting a hold on new
demanded that the U.S. cease approval ignored the fact that the NRC had already nuclear projects were loss of backup pow-
of all new nuclear plants for the fore- initiated a 90-day safety review of all 104 er to activate the Daiichi safety systems
seeable future and/or close our Mark I plants, that the safety issues he points and a hydrogen explosion that damaged
boiling water reactor (BWR) plants. This to were thoroughly examined during the a containment system. Neither should be
knee-jerk response adds nothing sub- lengthy license renewal processes, that a factor in the U.S.
stantive to the nuclear safety debate. safety upgrades are continuous over the The NRC uses a philosophy of defense
(Be sure to read our cover story for life of all plants, and that an exhaustive in depth when reviewing and approving
more on this issue.) safety review is fundamental to new re- safety designs. It requires, for example,
Congressman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) actor certification and to obtaining a li- multiple barriers to radiation and redun-
released a statement on April 6 that cense to construct a new plant. dant safety systems. That approach in-
gave his version of a nuclear plant safe- Markeys criticism is all the more be- cludes updating safety requirements for
ty program: I have introduced [March wildering because he uses the early Mark existing plant designs, when necessary.
29] legislation, the Nuclear Power Plant I BWR design as the standard by which For example, the NRC has run a BWR Mark
Safety Act of 2011, to impose a mora- he judges the safety of the modern Gen- I Containment Improvement Program
torium on all pending NRC licenses and eration III+ passively safe reactors now since the late 1980s that has required
re-licenses in light of the need to fully under NRC review. the installation of hardened vent systems
understand the safety risks and include NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko testi- for containment pressure relief as well as
remedies into our own regulations. fied before the Senate Appropriations enhanced reliability of the automatic de-
Markey, a long-time opponent of nuclear Committees March 30 Energy and Water pressurization system.
power, is using the Japanese accident Subcommittee Hearing on Nuclear that The NRC Station Blackout Rule, also
to sway public opinion away from our all U.S. nuclear plants are safe and se- originating in the late 1980s, required
most reliable source of electricity while cure and that it is very unlikely that every U.S. plant to carefully analyze its
deftly ignoring the industrys significant the combination of a 9.0 earthquake response plan for dealing with a pos-
safety record and history of continuous followed by a 60-foot tsunami could sible loss of auxiliary AC power. Most, if
safety improvements. impact plants in the U.S. The crux of not all, plants in the U.S. are equipped
As background, 31 states have nuclear his testimony was that simultaneous with compressed air start standby diesel
power plants. These 104 plants (totaling seismic and tsunami events of the mag- generators on a redundant emergency
about 100 GW) represent 10% of the na- nitude experienced in Japan are not ap- electrical system that can run the reac-
tions total installed generating capacity plicable to U.S. plant designs, so were tor circulating pumpsa more efficient
yet are producing 20% of the electricity moving forward on new projects. process than using fire hoses to pump
consumed each year. Of those 104 reac- Heres how remote the threat that Mar- seawater into the reactor, as Japanese
tors, the 23 General Electric Mark I reac- key points to really is. The U.S. nuclear workers were forced to do.
tors (supplying about 4% of the nations plants most likely to experience just a Finally, the Hydrogen Rule required
megawatt-hours) are from the same re- 9.0 seismic event are along the west modifications to reduce the impact of hy-
actor family as Fukushima Daiichis re- coast. A report released March 24 by the drogen generated, and core damage sus-
actors. To date, 21 of these 23 reactors California Coastal Commission puts the tained, by beyond-design-basis events;
have already received license renewals seismic concern into perspective: The they involve designing equipment that
for another 20 years of operation. They vast majority of faults in California, will remain operational during a design-
include the controversial Vermont Yan- including the San Andreas Fault, could basis accident.
kee, whose license renewal was issued on not produce a magnitude 9 earthquake Its a shame that elected officials
March 21, five years after its renewal ap- [the maximum estimated is magnitude are using the Japanese calamity to as-
plication was filed. 6.5]. The combination of strong ground sert their anti-nuclear views. Markeys
motion and massive tsunami that oc- legislative proposal is empty rhetoric.
Missed the Memo curred in Japan cannot be generated by I expect it will have a decay half-life
Most annoying to me is Markey substitut- faults near the San Onofre Nuclear Gen- measured in days.
ing his judgment of what constitutes nu- erating Station and the Diablo Canyon Dr. Robert Peltier, PE is POWERs
clear safety for that of the 4,000 Nuclear Power Plant. A 60-foot tsunami is also editor-in-chief.

6 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
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The Battle to Stabilize Daiichi At Unit 1which was rocked by what TEPCO calls an as-
Weeks after a massive magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent sumed hydrogen explosion on March 12, a day after the mas-
14-meter-high tsunami devastated Fukushima Prefecture in north- sive quakeinjections of seawater into the reactor have been
eastern Japan, workers from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) replaced by freshwater additions, first via a temporary motor-
were still struggling to regain control of four severely damaged driven pump and then by a motor-driven pump powered by an
reactors at the six-unit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. offsite transmission line.
As of press time, more than 370 workers have been working At Unit 2where the situation is more critical after an explo-
around the clock to quell the crisisthe worlds worst since sion is thought to have occurred on March 15 in the pressure
Ukraines Chernobyl disaster in 1986 (see the cover story). How- suppression chamber, causing severe damage to the core and fuel
ever, no end is in sight. integrityTEPCO has replaced injections of seawater with boric
At the beginning of April, when 28,000 people were thought acidlaced freshwater.
dead or missing in northeastern Japan, two TEPCO workers Freshwater is also being pumped into Unit 3, a reactor that
Kazuhiko Kokubo, 24, and Yoshiki Terashima, 21were the only has used mixed oxide fuel since September and where a March 14
confirmed fatalities at the plant. The workers, whose bodies were explosion left the units spent fuel tank exposed.
recovered in the basement level of Unit 4s turbine hall, were An explosion also occurred at Unit 4 on March 15. That unit
thought to have died from multiple injuries sustained while con- had been shut down for routine inspection before the quake,
ducting regular checks when the earthquake hit. but its fuel rods, stored in the spent fuel pool, were left with-
Twenty-one workers have so far been exposed to radiation doses of out cooling water circulation to remove decay heat. For days,
over 100 millisievertsfar exceeding the 50 millisieverts annually al- Japans defense force and TEPCO battled to cool down the spent
lowed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for adults working fuel pools at Units 3 and 4, dumping seawater into the units by
with radioactive material. Japanese authorities expanded the autho- helicopter and riot-control water cannons. Periodic spraying con-
rized threshold for radiation exposure to 250 millisieverts from the tinues at Unit 4s spent fuel pool. The spent fuel pools at Units 5
prior 100 millisieverts level set for emergency circumstances, but no and 6 are showing decreasing temperatures, and both units have
one has been exposed to levels that high (Figure 1). reached cold shutdown.
As of early April, engineers had managed to trace and plug a The disaster has rattled Japans largest power utility, and its
hole leaking highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean from financial future is uncertain, as questions have been raised about
a seaside pit at Unit 2, where, as in Units 1 and 3, fuel rods have its ability to pay mushrooming costs in the aftermath of the
partially melted. March 11 quake and tsunami. With the loss of Daiichi and other
Meanwhile, TEPCO continued disposal of 11,500 tons of wa- plants, TEPCO is struggling to meet power demand. Damage at
ter tainted with low levels of radioactivity from the radioactive four reactors of the crippled nuclear plant have rendered them
waste treatment plant and sub-drain pits of Units 5 and 6 to useless; decommissioning could take three decades and cost up
make room for water with higher levels of radioactivity. to 1 trillion yen (US$12 billion), TEPCO Chair Tsunehisa Katsuma-
TEPCO also began injection of 6,000 cubic meters of nitrogen at ta has said.
Unit 1, where, 14 days after the disaster, temperatures reportedly Then, there are compensation costs. Though Japanese law ex-
surged to 400C, exceeding the units design value of 302C. Nitrogen empts utilities from compensation for nuclear accidents caused
injection to displace oxygen and reduce the risk of another hydrogen by natural disasters, the government said it is impossible that
explosion will also be carried out at Units 2 and 3. TEPCOs liability for the accident would be easily dismissed. And
TEPCO itself in early April said it would consider payments to di-
1. Suited up. In this photo, taken March 18, workers engaged in saster victims, costs that could top US$130 billion if the crisis is
connecting the Fukushima Daiichi plant to the offsite power grid wear prolonged, according to estimates from Bank of AmericaMerrill
protective gear necessitated by elevated radiation levels near the dam- Lynch. TEPCOs stock hit a 47-year low on April 6, at which point
aged nuclear power facility. Courtesy: TEPCO it had lost 82% of its pre-accident value.
It is unclear how much full cleanup will cost, though the con-
sensus is that total costs will be staggering. The worlds top
insurers have said the disaster will cost them $5 billion, although
risk-modeling agencies suggest the overall cost to insurers could
be as much as $30 billion. Calming fears of immediate bank-
ruptcy, in early April, Japans major banks considered extend-
ing loans worth 2 trillion yen (US$24 billion) to TEPCO, and the
Japanese government has not ruled out injecting capital into the
beleaguered utility.

Chinas Five-Year Plan Is Heavy on

Non-Fossil Generation
The Peoples Republic of Chinas Congress approved a much-an-
ticipated draft of the countrys 12th Five-Year Plan (20112015)
on March 14. Along with key objectives that included boosting
its gross domestic product (GDP) by 7% annually on average, the

8 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
country for the first time in a five-year plan established targets
to tackle climate change. It plans to reduce carbon dioxide emis-
sions per unit of GDP by 17% from 2010 levels by 2015 and to
reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 16% from 2010
levels by 2015.
China achieved to some extent what it had set out to do in its
11th plan, managing to reach a 19.1% reduction (of a planned
20%) in energy intensity and producing 9.1% of primary energy
from nonfossil fuel sources. It should be noted, however, that
as pressure intensified on local officials to meet these targets in
late 2010, last-minute measures resulted in disruptive actions
that included blackouts and forced factory closures.
Meanwhile, power consumption continues to soar. As reported
by the State Grid Corp. of China, it was already up in the first
two months of this year, reaching 702.2 TWh12.3% above last
yearand estimates are that this years total consumption will
reach 4,600 TWh, up 10% from last year.
To meet demand, as it did in its 11th five-year plan in 2006,
the countrys 12th plan lays out aggressive energy targets and
plans to phase out inefficient coal plants. About 70 GW of small,
inefficient coal-fired capacity was phased out between 2006 and
2010, and 8 GW is scheduled to be phased out in 2011. The 12th
plan includes an increased percentage of new energy consump-
tion, totaling 11.4% by 2015, though analysts point out that
this is still under discussion. (In the 12th plan, the category of
new energy includes cleaner coal and coal-bed methane power
projects as well as smart grid projects.) A total investment (pub-
lic and private) of 5 trillion yuan ($761.3 billion) is expected in
the sector by 2020.
About 40 GW of this cleaner energy was expected to come
from nuclear power by 2015, though after the Japanese nuclear CIRCLE 4 ON READER SERVICE CARD

crisis, Chinas media reports that plans have been pulled back
to 80 GW from the 90 GW previously expected to be built by
2020. Emphasis will be on reactors based on Westinghouses
third-generation AP1000 reactor. The new plan also calls for a
massive, 75-GW expansion of new hydroelectric capacity (12 GW
of which would be pumped storage), a 13-GW to 33-GW surge in
gas generation, and 90 GW in new wind capacity (5 GW of which
is to be offshore wind). Analysts expect China could far exceed

2. A river bank. In its 12th five-year plan (20112015), China is

looking to expand its hydropower capacity by 63 MW, and add 12 GW
of pumped storage, to boost its non-fossil-powered portfolio and meet
newly established climate change targets. Several mega-dams are un-
der construction, though none as big as the Three Gorges Dam on the
Yangtze River (shown here). One facility that will come online during
the 12th plan is the gargantuan 6.4-GW Xiangjiaba hydropower project
in southwestern China, expected to be fully operational in June 2012.
Courtesy: Le Grand Portage


May 2011 POWER www.powermag.com 9
its 150-GW target for 2020; installations of cleaner power could
total 240 GW, they say. 3. Catching the flue. Dutch firm KEMA and partners have been
The country will continue to source a majority of its power researching and developing a novel membrane that promises to con-
vert at least 40% of water in flue gases of power plants into drinkable
from coal, and it plans to add an estimated 260 GW of coal power
water. Backed by the European Union and 14 entities from around the
by 2015, though coals share is expected to fall to 63% from the world, the project, dubbed CapWa, plans to begin large-scale tests at
current 72%. A key difference between the 11th and 12th plans power plants in Spain and in Israel. Courtesy: KEMA
is that the government will likely control the growth of the coal
industry and cap annual production capacity at 3.8 billion tons
by 2015, up from the current capacity of 3.2 billion tons. To coating
cap growth at this level means the growth rate will need to be Saturated
Vacuum Vacuum & flue gas
less than half of the rate in the 11th [five-year plan] period, Flue gas condenser
analysts from HSBC said. N2 H20
The 12th plan also calls for a fundamental shift in the nations NO2 CO2 NOx CO2
solar photovoltaic (PV) industry. Analysts say that in 2011, China PVS
O2 SO2 O2 SO2 casing
is expected to increase its share of the global PV module market
H20 H20 vacuum
by 10%, making it responsible for 59% of the worlds solar PV chamber
industry. The country recently enacted regulations to phase out P=1atm Dehydrated
flue gas Array of 20
excess polycrystalline silicon manufacturing in the long term; Hollow membrane fiber modules
overproduction led to a supply glut in 2010.
Last year China made major strides in installing high-voltage Micro scale Macro scale
transmission lines, and within the next five years it will continue
to develop its grid. State Grid has announced an investment plan says that copermeation of gases affects the vacuum, which
for 20092020 with provisions for 384.1 billion yuan (US$58.5 stops the process, so the company constructed a dense polymer
billion) worth of investment in smart grid technology (split be- coated with a selective, water-permeable membrane to make it
tween 30.8% for smart use, 23.2% for smart distribution, and selective for water molecules over nitrogen gas. The membranes
19.5% for substations). This will account for just 11% of total are supposedly thermally and chemically stable at temperatures
grid investment, however. of 50C to 150C and are resistant to fouling.
KEMA says pilot tests were begun in 2001 following concerns
about water scarcity and rising prices. Since then, the group has
Large-Scale Tests Begin to Convert Flue significantly improved gas-separation membranes with which wa-
Gas to Usable Water ter vapor could be captured on a large scale. Tests on industrial
Subsidized by the Dutch government, a number of Dutch utilities, plants in the Netherlands and Germany showed that at least 40%
the European Membrane Institute at the University of Twente, of the water in flue gases can be recovered with the new mem-
and Dutch consulting firm KEMA have, for over a decade, been brane technology. Beforehand, researchers counted on a recov-
testing membrane technology that promises to directly convert ery of 20%, the company said in late February. This means that
water vapor from power and other industrial plants flue gases an average [coal-fired] power plant of 400 megawatts can supply
into drinking water. The technology could provide a new source twice as much water as it needs for steam generation.
of large volumes of potable water.
Since October 2010, the European Union and 13 partners from
industry and academia across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa Major Offshore Players Introduce
have also lent financial backing to the project. KEMA and part- Colossal Wind Turbines
ners plan to begin large-scale tests at power plants in Spain and Competition among offshore wind turbine vendors vying for mar-
Israel and at a geothermal well in Tunisia within the next two ket share went into overdrive in the first three months of 2011 as
years. Armed with 5 million, the new project has been dubbed several key players announced gigantic new turbine models.
CapWa (short for Capture of Evaporated Water with Novel Vestas, the Danish firm whose overall offshore capacity ex-
Membranes). ceeds 555 MW, in late March unveiled the V164-7.0 MW, a turbine
The power plant in Spain will be a gas-fired power plant (lo- designed specifically for the roughest North Sea conditions.
cation not confirmed as yet), Ludwin Daal, a consultant with Vestas President Anders Se-Jensen told reporters that the com-
KEMA told POWER in March. The Ruthenberg coal-fired power pany had foreseen a major share of offshore wind development
plant in Ashkelon is located near the Gaza strip and provides occurring in the northern part of Europe, but it was prepared to
electricity to both the Palestinian authority and Israel. The end take the turbine to other parts of the world in due time.
system will be the size of a sea container, capable of captur- The 7-MW turbines technical advantages include a medium-
ing 1 [cubic meter] of liquid water. Bypasses will be made at speed drive train. Vestas revealed that it had researched and
both plants to facilitate this capture. The consortium ultimately developed, in parallel, two optionsdirect drive and a geared
hopes for industrial production and large-scale implementation solutionbut found the medium-speed drive train delivered the
of the technology by 2014. lowest cost of energy. Construction of V164-7.0 MW prototypes
As KEMA explains on a dedicated project website (www are expected in late 2012, and Vestas said thatprovided it had
.watercapture.eu), the main membrane technology used is much a firm order backlog in place to justify the substantial invest-
different from other processes, like reverse osmosis or nanofiltra- ment needed to finish development of the turbineproduction
tion, because it does not directly involve a liquid-to-liquid sepa- could begin in early 2015 (Figure 4).
ration. In the process, water molecules are transported through Also in March, at a European Wind Energy Association confer-
a membrane fiber via a diffusion mechanism, and the permeated ence, GE Energy launched its 4.1-113 wind turbine. The 4-MW
water is collected through a condensation step (Figure 3). KEMA machine builds on a prior 3.5-MW design, uses direct-drive tech-

10 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
nology, and is designed to increase offshore reliability, GE said.
Swedens Gteborg Energi will be the models first customer; that
project, supported by the Swedish Energy Agency, entails install-
ing the turbines in the Gothenburg harbor later this year.
Gamesa in February said it was collaborating with U.S. defense
contractor and shipbuilder Northrop Grumman to develop and
supply European utility E.ON with an offshore prototype of its
G11X-5.0 MW platform in 2012 (based on technology recently
validated with the G10X-4.5 MW prototype). The Spanish firm is
also developing another family of turbines, the G14X, anticipated
to have a capacity of 6 to 7 MW. The pre-series for these larger
turbines could be ready by 2014.
Gamesa has also partnered with other Spanish firms Accionia
and Iberdrola to develop a 15-MW offshore turbine for the Azimut
Several other major public-private collaborations are in progress,
the most prominent being the European Unions HiPRWind. Part-
ners in that project, led by Germanys Fraunhofer Gesellschaft and
including ABB, Technip, Idesa, and Wlfel, are looking to install
a fully functional 10-MW to 20-MW offshore wind turbine. Tests
started in 2010 are ongoing at a 1-MW test platform in the Bay of
Biscay off the north of Spain and should continue until 2015.
Competition in the offshore wind market has become more
intense since Sinovelwhich along with other Chinese turbine-
makers Goldwind and Dongfanglast year captured a leading
share of the worlds onshore global wind turbine market based
on rapid installations in China. Last year Sinovel also launched
the 100-MW Shanghai Donghai Bridge, an offshore demonstra-
tion facility. Based on technology developed with U.S. company
American Superconductor Corp., Sinovel recently unveiled the

4. Clash of the titans. Major players in the offshore wind sector

announced mammoth turbine models in the first three months of 2011.
Danish turbine-maker Vestas unveiled the V164-7.0 MW (shown here) for
rough North Sea conditions; it has an estimated rotor diameter of 164
meters (538 feet). Turbine models introduced by U.S.-based GE, Chinas Conveying Loading Palletising Packaging
Sinovel, Spains Gamesa, and Germanys Enercon and Siemens Energy
range from rated capacities of 4 MW to 15 MW. Courtesy: Vestas

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May 2011 POWER www.powermag.com
BEU_Power_99x273,4_FoerderBau_KOCH_GB.indd 1
24.03.11 15:21
See us at Electric Power Booth# 1447
SL5000, Chinas first independently de- on the Jinsha River in northwest Yunnan
True Multi- veloped 5-MW turbine; the company says Province. That project, whose first unit

it will likely introduce another dedicated will be commissioned in spring 2012,
offshore 6-MW machine this June. Also comprises five 400-MW Francis hydro tur-

in February, Sinovel said it is partnering bine generators.
with companies like Clipper Windpower
and Sway Turbine to develop a 10-MW
for Turbines offshore turbine.
At the start of this year, Enercon com-
Researchers Develop
Supercritical CO2 Brayton
pleted installation of its 7.5-MW E-126 Cycle Turbines
megaturbine at an onshore site in Magde- Researchers at Sandia National Labora-
burg-Rothensee in Germany, announcing tories say a project that focuses on su-
that wind turbines could now produce percritical carbon dioxide (CO2) Brayton
14 million kWh from a single plant. cycle turbines is moving to the demon-
Siemens Energy and Denmarks Dong stration stage. Project developers are
Energy in late December said that they ultimately seeking to modify and use
would test and develop Siemens newly the centuries-old thermodynamic cycle
developed 6-MW offshore wind turbines. to replace steam-driven Rankine cycle
Dong Energy plans to install the turbines, turbineswhich need very large tur-
which are based on gearless, direct-drive bines and condensers, operate at lower
technology, at demonstration sites in the efficiencies, and are corrosive at high
UK and Denmark. temperatureswith simple gas turbine
systems that could yield 20 MW from a
package with a volume as small as 4 cu-
China Dam Gets Worlds bic meters (Figure 6).
ROTALIGN Ultra First Self-Closing Ring This machine is basically a jet engine
Gate Control System running on a hot liquid, says principal
These features make turbine A major technical advance in hydroelec- investigator Steve Wright of Advanced
coupling alignment easier tric dam safety was achieved this March Nuclear Concepts Dept. 6221. There is a
and take far less time! as Alstoms Chinese arm, the Tianjin Al- tremendous amount of industrial and sci-
Wireless (no cables) stom Hydro Co. (TAH), delivered what it entific interest in supercritical CO2 systems
called the worlds first self-closing elec- for power generation using all potential
Unique backlash resistant tronic ring gate control system to the heat sources including solar, geothermal,
5-axis detector
Ahai hydropower project in China. fossil fuel, biofuel, and nuclear.
Simultaneous horizontal The hydraulically synchronized sys- The labs research is centered around
and vertical live moves tem cuts off the flow of water to the two test loops. The power production
Dial indicator target entry turbine in an emergency. Alstom says
Ability to enter both targets that from start to finishmodel design
and thermal growth to testingdevelopment took less than 6. Gassing up an old idea. Research-
ers at Sandia National Laboratories are de-
True multi-machine train nine months (Figure 5). The device will
veloping supercritical carbon dioxide Brayton
alignment up to 6 couplings be installed at the Yunnan Jinsha River cycle turbines, which they say could increase
Results based on elliptical Hydropower Co.s dam under construction thermal-to-electric conversion efficiencies by
math calculations 50% for nuclear power stations equipped
with steam turbines and by 40% for simple
Graphical alignment reports 5. A giant safety valve. A self-closing gas turbines. The researchers add that the su-
electronic ring gate control systemwhich percritical carbon dioxide system provides the
developer Alstom says is the first in the same 43% to 46% efficiency as a competing
worldworks to choke off the flow of water Brayton cycle system that uses helium as a
to a hydroelectric turbine in an emergency. working fluid, but it operates at much lower
The deviceroughly 10 meters in diameter, temperatures (250C to 300C, compared with
2.6 meters high, and 110 metric tonswas 925C for the helium system). This image
h delivered to the Ahai dam in China this
Watc O March. Courtesy: Alstom
shows an early test loop of a Brayton cycle
VIDEne turbine. Source: Sandia National Laboratories

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12 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011

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circle 8 on reader service card

loop at the Arvada, Colo., site of contrac-
tor Barber Nichols Inc. has been running 7. Floating a ray. Australias Sunengy recently partnered with Indias Tata Power to pilot a
and producing approximately 240 kWe dur- floating concentrating photovoltaic module. A thin plastic focusing concentrator lens rotates
slowly to track the sun both daily and seasonally. A minimal number of silicon (or other types of)
ing the developmental phase that began
photovoltaic cells are housed in a container that sits in the water where the cells are kept cool
in March 2010. The second loop, at Sandia through convective heat flow to the surrounding water.Courtesy: Sunengy
in Albuquerque, N.M., has been focused
on understanding issues of compression,
bearings, seals, and friction that exist
near the critical point, where the CO2 has
the density of liquid but otherwise has
many of the properties of a gas.
The supercritical properties of carbon
dioxide at temperatures above 500C and
pressures above 7.6 megapascals enable the
system to operate with very high thermal
efficiency, exceeding even those of a large
coal-fired power plant and nearly twice as
efficient as that of a gasoline engine (about
25%), researchers say. The combination of
low temperatures, high efficiency, and high
power density allows for the development
of very compact, transportable systems
that are more affordable because only stan-
dard engineering materials (stainless steel)
are required, less material is needed, and
the small size allows for advanced, modular
manufacturing processes. benefits, too, the developers claim: It works a very large battery, he said, pointing
Sandia admits that it is not alone in as a breathing surface through which oxy- to company modeling that shows that a
the field but says it is in the lead. The gen can penetrate the water, ensuring the 240-MW LSA system could increase annual
lab will test the capability of the concept, viability of underwater life. energy generation at the Alqueva hydro-
particularly its compactness, efficiency, The project has gained the support of power plant in Portugal by 230%.
and scalability to larger systems. Future Eureka, a 39-member intergovernmental Construction of a pilot in India will be-
plans call for commercialization of the network that promotes market-oriented gin in August this year. Sunengy plans to
technology and development of an indus- research and development and innovation establish a larger LSA system in Australias
trial demonstration plant at 10 MWe. projects. The Israeli Ministry of Industry, Hunter Valley in mid-2012 before going
Trade and Labor has also pitched in. into full production.
The projects design phase ended in
Interest, Funding Buoys March 2010, and fabrication of a proto-
Floating Solar Power Plants type is now under way. The implementa- POWER Digest
Like most forms of generation, solar power tion phase is slated to begin in September ABB, BHEL to Deliver $1.1B Multi-Ter-
has its disadvantages. Two cited most by 2011 on waters near a hydropower facility minal UHVDC Line in India. Zurich-based
critics of photovoltaic (PV) or concentrat- in Cadarache, southeast France. The proto- ABB and Indian state-owned company
ing solar power facilities are that they re- type will operate onsite for nine months, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL)
quire large expanses of land and that solar and researchers hope the technology will said on March 23 that they had been se-
cell fabrication and maintenance costs are be ready for market by June 2012. lected by Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd.
high. Several companies have been assess- In late March, meanwhile, Australian (PGCIL) to deliver an ultrahigh-voltage di-
ing a new approach to tackling these fac- solar company Sunengy Pty Ltd. entered rect current (UHVDC) transmission system
tors: installing solar plants on water. Two into a partnership with Tata Power, Indias to convey hydropower from northeastern
projects in recent months have garnered largest integrated private power utility, to India to the city of Agra over a distance
government and industry backing, indicat- build a pilot plant for its Liquid Solar Ar- of 1,728 kilometers (km). The $1.1 billion
ing growing interest in the concept. ray (LSA). The project essentially uses PV project (ABBs contract is valued at $900
Aquasun, developed by a collaboration concentrators that float on water, mount- million) will have an 8,000-MW converter
between Israeli firm Solaris Synergy and ed on anchored rafts (Figure 7). capacity, which ABB says is the highest
Frances EDF Group, is a PV array that uses Inventor Phil Connor, who is also ever built. The firm also claims that the
200-kW modules that can be installed on Sunengys chief technology officer, claims system will be the worlds first UHVDC
existing industrial water basins. Developers that an LSA installation located with or link with three converter stations. It will
say that costs will be reduced because Aqua- combined with hydro dams could match include two sending stations to convert
sun uses a mirror-based concentrating sys- the power output of a typical hydro plant, power from AC to DC for transmission over
tem, cutting down on the number of panels using less than 10% of the dammed wa- a single power line that will pass through
needed. It also employs a creative cooling ters surface area. The solar installation the narrow Siliguri Corridor and deliver
system using the water on which the pan- could thereby supply an additional six electricity to the third, receiving station
els float so it can use cheaper silicon cells. to eight hours worth of power per day. in Agra, where it will be converted back
The floating solar array has environmental LSA effectively turns a dam reservoir into into AC for distribution to end users.

14 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
UK-Netherlands HVDC Link Starts Operating. A 260-km
subsea high-voltage DC link between Britain and the Nether-
lands began operating on April 1. Siemens Energy designed and
completed the transmission system for BritNed Development,
a joint venture of UK grid operator National Grid and Arnhem-
based TenneT, the Dutch grid operator. The connection, with
a transmission capacity of 1,000 MW, links the 400-kV grids
in southern England and in the south of the Netherlands (via
converter stations on the Isle of Grain in Kent and Maasvlakte
near Rotterdam). The new line is expected to better compensate
major fluctuations in generation from the planned expansion of
wind power in the UK as well as improve competition in north-
western Europes grid.
NTPC Starts Up New 500-MW Coal Unit. Indias National
Thermal Power Corp. (NTPC) on March 5 began operation of a
500-MW unit of the Indira Gandhi Super Thermal Power Project
at Jajjar, Haryana State. The project, a joint venture with In-
draprastha Power Generation Co. and Haryana Power Genera-
tion Corp., was built within the stipulated 44 months, making it
eligible for a 0.5% extra return on equity throughout its lifetime.
Power generated by the plant will be supplied in equal measure
to Haryana and Delhi. Two other 500-MW units are under con-
struction at the Indira Gandhi power plant. NTPC, which oper-
ates close to 30 power stations across India (with an installed
capacity of more than 33,000 MW), has nearly 16,000 MW under
construction, most of which is coal-fired.
Dominion Launches Study for East Coast High-Voltage
Subsea Line. Dominion Virginia Power in late March said it
has begun studying what it would take to build a high-voltage
underwater transmission line from Virginia Beach into the Atlan-
tic Ocean to support potentially multiple offshore wind farms.
The study will be completed later this year and it will evaluate
the best options to support multiple offshore wind projects off
the coast of Virginia. In addition to working with PJM Intercon-
nection through its Regional Transmission Expansion Planning
process, the Virginia State Corporation Commission would have
to approve any power line project.
New Jersey BPU Greenlights Three New Gas Plants. New
Jerseys Board of Public Utilities on March 29 approved stan-
dard offer capacity agreements for three gas-fired projects to be
located in Newark, Old Bridge, and Woodbridge. Hess Newark
LLC will build a 625-MW gas plant near Newark to go online in
2016; NRGs New Jersey Power Development LLC is expected to
begin operating the 660-MW Old Bridge Clean Energy Center, a
combined-cycle gas plant, in 2015; and CPV Shore LLC will build
a 663-MW gas plant near Woodbridge, also to be operational in
2015. The projects, with a combined capacity of 1,948.5 MW,
were approved under the states new Long-Term Capacity Agree-
ment Pilot Program law.
Peru Awards $1.8B Hydropower Concessions. Peru on
March 24 awarded hydroelectric power concessions valued at
US$1.8 billion to three different consortiums in a bid to expand
its power production, mainly from the Amazon basin, to meet
the needs of its mining and manufacturing sectors. Empresa de
Generacion Huallaga, a subsidiary of Brazilian firm Odebrecht,
will build the 460-MW Chaglia hydroelectric power station in the
central Huanuco region; Consorcio Generadora Pucaraowned
by the Peruvian firms Graa y Montero and Egecuscowill con-
struct the Pucara project in the southeastern Cuzco region, and
Cerro del Aguila S.A., part of Israels Kallpa, will develop a 400-
MW project in the southwestern Huancavelica region. The plants
are expected to come online in 2016.
Sonal Patel is POWERs senior writer.
circle 9 on reader service card

May 2011 POWER www.powermag.com 15
Preventing Copper Deposi- particulates and soluble species of copper. feedwater equipment are applied incon-
tion in Steam Turbines However, one utility found that copper sistently.
Many large utility-scale units with cop- plating out on sample lines and coolers re- They have a history of condenser air in-
per alloy condensers and feedwater heat- sulted in measurements that were biased low. leakage, as exhibited by high exhaust
ers lose generating capacity when copper Others found that the copper would suddenly flows from vacuum pumps or steam jet
and copper oxide deposits develop on exfoliate, causing random high measurement air ejectors and/or high dissolved O2.
high-pressure (HP) steam turbine blad- values. Until there is better understanding of Inconsistent O2 scavenger residuals are
ing. It is not unusual for a 400-MW unit to the fundamental causes and conditions that present in the feedwater.
lose 10% of its generating capacity over lead to precipitation and exfoliation of cop-
a six-month period when water treatment per, the best sampling efforts may not reflect The survey also found a number of nondif-
processes arent properly tuned to prevent actual conditions in a unit. ferentiating factors. For example, all the ma-
copper transport in the steam and con- jor boiler and steam turbine manufacturers
densate systems. In fact, one utility re- Many Plants at Risk were represented in the survey, about half of
ported that it lost 20 MW of capacity in Although the copper transport mechanism the units used an all-volatile treatment and
one month because of such deposits. The may not be fully understood, you can gain the other half used a phosphate treatment
financial implications of such deposits, insight into the problem by comparing regimen, and copper/copper alloys anywhere
particularly in power markets where plants units with and without the problem. A 1998 in the feedwater systemfrom the condens-
are pushed to their generating limits, are survey conducted by Sheppard T. Powell of er to the HP heatershad been identified as
tremendous. 46 plants reporting some degree of copper the source of copper corrosion.
fouling on their turbines found a number of
Hit a Moving Target common unit operating factors: Where Does It Start?
Power plant operators have had difficulty A copper plating problem on the HP turbine
isolating the causes of copper corrosion, They operate at a drum pressure of typically occurs in three stages (see table):
transport, and deposition on turbine 2,300 psig or higher.
blades. Part of the problem has been the They have or have had significant amounts 1. Copper in feedwater equipment (main
extreme difficulty in accurately measuring of copper deposits in the boiler. condenser or feedwater heaters) corrodes.
copper and copper corrosion products dur- They have operated at maximum continu- 2. Copper corrosion products are transport-
ing start-up and under various operating ous rating or overpressure operation. ed from the feedwater equipment to the
conditions (Figure 1). (For more detailed They experience frequent starts, com- steam (which may occur quickly or in
discussion of steam cycle corrosion, see monly cycle, or operate in load-follow- several small increments over time).
Designing Steam Cycles to Avoid Corro- ing mode. 3. Copper enters steam and deposits on
sion in our Apr. 2006 issue or in the on- Lay-up procedures for the boiler and turbine blades (Figure 2).
line archives at www.powermag.com.)
Many plants that tried to find elevated
copper in the feedwater by using standard How to prevent copper from stealing your power. Source: POWER
long sample lines and slow sample line ve-
Source of copper Action required
locities found only minimal copper levels,
despite problems evident in the boiler and Corrosion Do proper lay-up for the entire steam cycle. Experience shows that plants that do a proper
turbine. Numerous improvements have been layout dont have corrosion problems.
suggested to increase the accuracy of this Stay on top of air in-leakage. The EPRI limit of 1 scfm/100 MW of capacity should be
testing, including isokinetic sampling noz- considered a maximum.
zles, short sample lines, high sampling ve- Maintain a constant level of O2 scavenger residual in the feedwater. Online analyzers
locities, and specialized filters for collecting should be seriously considered.
Transport Install and use condensate polishers to remove corrosion products from the feedwater,
1. Copper deposits on a steam particularly during start-up.
turbines HP nozzle. Courtesy: Aquilex Send LP and HP heater drips to drain during start-up.
Chemically clean the boiler or superheater if either contains significant amounts of
Use the OEM's recommended ramp rates for feedwater heaters to minimize thermal
shocking of oxides.
Minimize mechanical carryover by ensuring proper drum level across the drum and the
proper functioning of drum internals.
Ensure the integrity of the steam chest during each outage.
On start-up use copper-holds to prevent excessive copper volatilization. Minimize the use
of attemperation sprays when copper concentrations are high.
Minimize MCR operation.

16 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
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circle 10 on reader service card

It is important to note that these three stages may be sepa-
rated by thousands of operating hours. Apart from sampling
Standing strong, problems, it is often difficult to associate the causes of copper
plating on turbines with specific operating conditions because so
weve seen the power much time may pass between cause and effect.
Copper Corrosion. Corrosion typically occurs when a passivat-
industry grow in our ing layer of copper oxide is removed or it changes to a less-stable
oxide. This corrosion can occur during operation or lay-up.
85 years; and with each Corrosion during operation results from ammonia, CO2, am-
monium carbonate, or O2 in the feedwater. Each of these may
branch that reaches act separately or together to attack the passivating copper
(I) oxide layer.
outward, whether gas, Ammonia can be either directly injected to increase the pH
of the feedwater, produced from the breakdown of a neutraliz-
nuclear, renewables ing amine, or generated when excess hydrazine degrades in the
HP feedwater heaters, economizer, and boiler. Excessive amounts
or AQCS, our goal has of ammonia often are in the system during start-up. Previously,
common wet lay-up practices for boilers called for high concen-
always been for trations of hydrazine and ammonia or neutralizing amine. This
practically guaranteed high ammonia levels during the first criti-
you to flourish, cal hours of start-up.
Major sources of CO2 are air in-leakage and the degradation
renew and thrive. of neutralizing amines and hydrazine alternatives in the steam
cycle. Which source is a greater contributor to corrosion depends
Zachry on conditions in each unit. CO2 lowers the pH of the condensate
and may produce some localized, corrosive pH levels. The low-pH
overcoming obstacles, feedwater requires additional ammonia to neutralize it, which in
turn increases the amount of ammonia or amine feed needed to
securing success. maintain the desired feedwater pH.
Ammonia and CO2 may combine to form ammonium carbon-
ate in the feedwater. To understand how corrosive ammonium
carbonate can be on copper and copper oxides, consider that
ammonia and ammonium carbonate are chemicals used to clean
turbines of copper deposits.
Depending on the location and amount of air in-leakage, dis-
solved O2 in the condensate may also increase copper corrosion.
The worst type of dissolved O2 problem is the sporadic increase
in dissolved O2 that can be caused by transient conditions, such
as cycling and low-load operation. These operating modes are
especially corrosive, as feedwater conditions repeatedly change
from an oxidizing to reducing state. Copper (I) changes to copper

2. The final stages of the low-pressure section of a

steam turbine are the most vulnerable to corrosion.
Courtesy: David Daniels

w w w. z h i . c o m


18 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
(II) oxide, which is less stable and more easily transported into
the feedwater, exposing fresh surface area to corrosion. Cycling
from reducing to oxidizing conditions allows the oxide layer to
be removed and reformed.
Improper lay-up practices, particularly on copper alloy feed-
water heaters and condensers, are responsible for massive
amounts of copper corrosion. When they come off-line, many
units simply vent the shell side of the feedwater heaters and
the condenser to atmosphere, leaving copper, O2, and CO2 in
direct contact with the passive copper (I) oxide layer and con-
densate. This corrosive condition may exist for hours to weeks,
during which the copper (I) oxide is converted to copper (II)
oxide. It is well-documented that the amount of copper cor-
rosion product transport associated with the start-up of units EDWARD PARTS AVAILABLE!
that have poor lay-up practices is thousands of times greater
than copper transport associated with normal operation.
Copper Transport. Copper is typically transported from the
feedwater as copper oxides or soluble copper complexes. Cor-
rosion products may be physically washed off piping by high
steam or water flows, exfoliated because of thermal shock, or
dissolved because of the chemistry of the feedwater or steam.
Depending on operating conditions, the copper either re-
mains in solution until it reaches the turbine or plates out long
before. Some units experience a thin layer of copper precipita-
tion on the inside of the HP feedwater heater tubing thats
called snakeskins.
In one notable study, one station experienced some degree of
copper deposits on all turbines but one. On that unit, mechan-
ics often needed to clean out boiler feedwater pump screens to
remove copper and copper oxides. In this case, it appears that
because of the precipitation of copper on the screens, the cor- CIRCLE 12 ON READER SERVICE CARD

rosion products never made it to the turbine.

If they do not precipitate in the feedwater equipment, cop-
per corrosion products often accumulate in the boiler. The ear-
lier survey showed a very high correlation between boilers with
significant amounts of copper removed by chemical cleaning
and copper deposits on the turbine. Its not clear whether this
is because the boiler plays a significant role in the collection
and volatilization of copper into the steam or if it is simply in-
dicative of a general copper corrosion and transport problem.
In either case, if boiler tube deposits contain a significant
percentage of copper, concern is warranted. Even before they
can be volatilized into steam, copper deposits in the boiler
can create problems. At least one utility found that copper
deposits restricted orifices on the suction side of the boiler
circulating pumps.
Transport of boiler copper into steam may be affected by a
number of factors, including mechanical carryover because of
drum internal problems or inaccurate drum level monitors. In
addition to mechanical carryover, chemical conditions in the
boiler may volatilize some species of copper into the steam.
Copper may also enter the steam via the attemperation
sprays, though most large boilers use very little attemperation
spray during normal operation. Some units, however, use tre-
mendous amounts of attemperation spray during start-up, when
copper concentrations in the feedwater are at their peak.
Copper Deposition. Once its in the steam, copper may
plate out in the superheater piping or the HP turbine. Copper
deposits in the superheater can create a reservoir of copper
that may migrate over time into the turbine. One plant found
zinc on the HP turbine eight years after the only source of
zinc was removed and after the boiler had been chemically

May 2011 POWER www.powermag.com 19
Copper deposits typically form on the sta- Plants with copper deposits have found In addition to copper, foam cleaning typi-
tionary nozzle block or first-stage stationary one method of restoring their generating cally removes accumulated iron and phos-
blades. They restrict the nozzle block area and capacity without dismantling the turbine: phate deposits as well.
disrupt the flow by increasing the roughness foam chemical cleaning. Foam cleaning
of the blade surface. The deposits appear involves the injection of foam containing Permanent Solution Needed
to build gradually; many plants see uniform ammonia and ammonium carbonate into Although foam cleaning or mechanical re-
losses in capacity of 2 to 3 MW per month. the HP turbine. HydroChem Industrial Ser- moval of the deposits may temporarily re-
The general rule of thumb is that there is a vices is one company that has performed store a turbines capacity, the underlying
reduction of about 1 MW of generating ca- hundreds of foam cleanings. Typically, causes must be corrected, or deposits will
pacity for each 1 to 2 pounds of deposit that units regain all the capacity lost due to simply accumulate again and require further
accumulates on the HP turbine. the deposits, an average of about 30 MW. cleanings. Except for equipment replace-
ment, the long-term solution is to eliminate
one or more of the causes of the copper de-
position that is stealing your power.
Dr. Robert Peltier, PE, is POWERs
editor-in-chief. David Daniels is a POWER
contributing editor.

Predictive Maintenance
That Works
This series of articles focuses on the
nuts and bolts of predictive maintenance
(PdM), also known as condition-based
maintenance. A well-defined and well-exe-
cuted PdM program saves time and money
by reducing unneeded time-based mainte-
nance tasks and by identifying and fixing
problems before they cause equipment
failure or plant shutdown. In this article,
we begin introducing condition-monitor-
ing techniques commonly in use at power
plants. They are arranged alphabetically
rather than in order of importance.

Electrical Surge Comparison

Monitoring the condition of an electric
motor involves determining the extent
of electrical insulation deterioration and
failure. Traditional insulation tests have
concentrated on the ground wall; a com-
mon test is insulation resistance. Less
attention is paid to turn-to-turn or phase-
to-phase insulation, yet there is evidence
that deterioration of this thin film is also
a major cause of motor failures.
Insulation failures are typically
caused by one or more of the following
five factors:

Contamination of the winding insula-

tion caused by a chemical deposit.
Mechanical vibration of the windings or
rotor, which wears the insulation sys-
Slow deterioration of the windings due
to normal thermal aging.
Premature failure of the winding, typi-
cally due to excessive winding tempera-
Overvoltage spikes.

Surge comparison testing can be used

to identify turn-to-turn and phase-to-

20 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
circle 15 on reader service card
phase insulation deterioration as well as a deflections. Generally, shorted or missing long-term surge comparison analysis and
reversal or open circuit in the connection turns will cause fairly small differences trending can be used to identify improper
of one or more coils or coil groups. This in waveform amplitude. Misconnections, motor repair practices, either in-house or
test has been used for years as a quality- such as coil reversal or interphase shorts, at a repair shop, surge testing can be an
control measure in motor manufacturing tend to cause large differences or irregu- effective quality-assurance test prior to
plants, and development of portable test larities in waveform shape. An experi- acceptance of motors that have just been
instruments now allows this testing to be enced test operator can gauge the type repaired.
conducted as part of troubleshooting a and severity of a fault. Surge comparison testing is a somewhat
problem and as a routine PdM tool. With the surge comparison method it complex and expensive PdM technique.
The surge comparison test can also is often possible to determine the voltage The test instrument, though very versatile,
identify excessive wear by applying a at which turn-to-turn or phase-to-phase is moderately expensive, and it requires a
transient surge at high frequency to two conduction begins. If this shorting is near trained and experienced operator if you
separate but equal parts of a winding. operating voltage, then the motor has a want to obtain the most effective results.
The resulting voltage waveforms reflected serious insulation fault and should be re- Although often used on stator windings of
from each part are displayed on an oscil- placed as soon as possible. If shorting is either induction or synchronous machines,
loscope or computer screen. If the wind- not detected up to twice operating volt- the test is equally useful on DC armatures
ings are identical, the two waveforms will age plus 1,000 V, the winding is consid- or synchronous field poles.
be exactly superimposed on each other ered good and the motor can be returned Most surge comparison test equipment
and a single trace will appear on the to service. is also capable of performing high-poten-
screen. If, however, one of the two wind- Unlike other PdM techniques, surge tial tests. The primary short-term econom-
ing segments contains a short circuit, or comparison produces no numbers that ic benefits from this testing do not come
a reversed or open coil, the waveforms must be plotted or trended to identify a from reducing the number of electric mo-
will be visibly different. problem. Like a high-potential test, this is tor failures but from identifying problems
Once a problem is detected, the tech- simply a pass/fail procedure. Spot check- early enough that maintenance can be
nician must determine in which of the ing (monitoring once a year or less) can efficiently planned and scheduled. These
segments the problem resides. This can be particularly cost-effective for critical benefits can be substantial. Some compa-
be done by comparing each segment to or expensive electrical motors; however, nies pay for the investment in less than
a third segment and noting which com- it may also be effective for less-critical a year by identifying one or two critical
bination produces the same waveform or balance-of-plant equipment. Because electric motor problems.
Surge comparison testing cannot evalu-
ate one coil by itself; because it is a com-
parison test, it requires careful repetition
to determine the location and severity of
an observed fault.

Motor-Current Signature Analysis

Motor-current signature analysis (MCSA)
is a nonintrusive method for detecting
mechanical and electrical problems in
motor-driven rotating equipment. The sys-
tem was developed by Oak Ridge National
Laboratory as part of a study on the ef-
fects of aging and service degradation of
nuclear plant components.
The basis for MCSA is the recognition
that an electric motor driving a mechani-
cal load acts as an efficient, continuously
available transducer (the motor can be ei-
ther AC or DC). The motor senses mechani-
cal-load variations and converts them into
electric current variations that are trans-
mitted along the motor power cables.
These current variations, though very
small in relation to the average current
drawn by the motor, can be monitored and
recorded at a convenient location away
from the operating equipment. Analysis
of these variations can provide an indi-
cation of machine condition, which may
be trended over time to provide an early
warning of machine deterioration or pro-
cess alteration.
Although MCSA was developed for the

22 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
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circle 17 on reader service card

specific task of determining the effects of worm-gear tooth meshing, and its harmon- a plant has developed its own baseline
aging and service wear on motor-operated ics, though the amplitude relationships are data. Once historical files have been de-
valves used in nuclear plants, it has found different. Subsequent signal patterns can veloped, spot checking can be cost-effec-
application within a much broader range of then be compared with the baseline to find tive for critical or expensive machines, as
plant machinery, such as electric motors. faults and problem indicators. well as for less-critical equipment. It also
Motor-current signals can be obtained re- One distinction is that there is a strong can be used effectively as a troubleshoot-
motely using a current transformer, typi- spectral component in the motor-current sig- ing tool. Information can be obtained by
cally located in a motor control center, nature that is defined as the slip frequency. monitoring machinery once a month or
which may be located several hundred feet This signal is a general characteristic of AC once a quarter.
from the equipment being monitored. For induction motors and reflects the rate at Periodic MCSA can provide a subtle in-
temporary measurements, the signals can which the spinning armature continually falls dication of bearing, packing, coupling,
be obtained nonintrusively with a single behind the rotating electrical field generated or gear wear, allowing personnel to proj-
split-jaw current probe placed on one of by the motors field windings. (No such peak ect acceptable machine performance into
the power leads. Because no electrical con- appears on DC motor signatures.) Since this the future. Advance notice of developing
nections need to be made or broken, the motor slip-frequency component is electrical problems gives technicians time to repair
hazard of electrical shock is minimized. rather than mechanical in origin, it has no a component during normal, planned ma-
The resulting raw data signal is ampli- vibration counterpart and it is not present in chine shutdowns, rather than allowing a
fied, filtered, and further processed (using the vibration spectrum. serious machine failure to cause a plant
fast Fourier transform digital signal pro- Tests on motor-operated valves indicate forced outage. Because problems are de-
cessing techniques) to obtain a baseline that MCSA is capable of detecting and tected when they are relatively minor,
signal pattern measurement of the instan- tracking the progress of stem-packing deg- they are usually less expensive to repair.
taneous load variations within the drive radation, incorrect torque-switch settings The complexity of MCSA stems in large
train and ultimate load. or varying switch trip points, degraded part from the relatively subjective na-
A comparison of motor-current and me- stem or gear-case lubrication, worm-gear ture of interpreting the spectra and the
chanical-vibration signatures obtained si- tooth wear, restricted valve stem travel, limited number of industry-wide histori-
multaneously from a motor-operated valve, obstructions in the valve seat area, and cal and comparative spectra available
for example, reveals similarities and dis- disengagement of the motor pinion gear. for specific applications. In the past
tinctions. Both spectra contain frequency Spot checking at intervals shorter than several years the technique has been
peaks corresponding to the motor speed, a year is of significant value only after simplified by several vibration data col-
lector/analyzer manufacturers. This has
improved the technique from a data-
collection and data-analysis standpoint
and significantly increased the amount
of practical field experience.
The techniques nonintrusive nature
makes it particularly useful. Measurements
can be taken without making or breaking
electrical connections and without shut-
ting down or opening up machinery. This
eliminates equipment downtime for in-
spection and improves personnel safety.
In addition, because readings can be
taken remotely, this technique can be
more conveniently and safely performed
on large, high-speed, or otherwise hazard-
ous machines.
For those companies willing to commit
resources to this PdM tool, the payback
appears as attractive as for vibration anal-
ysis. And, for companies with limited bud-
gets, there are several service companies
that will perform motor current signature
analysis on a contract basis.
Making difficult bolting obsolete Only hand/air tools required
all over the world. Superbolt Multi- Reduces install/removal times More Coming
Jackbolt Tensioners provide a safe, Tightens in pure tension In the next segment of Predictive Main-
fast & easy bolting alternative. A better bolted connection tenance That Works, well continue our
(Visit our website to learn why)
www.superbolt.com discussion of specific condition-monitor-
ing techniques used at power plants and
look at why each should be a part of your
1-800-345-BOLT (USA) PdM program.
1-412-279-1149 Dr. Robert Peltier, PE, is POWERs

24 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
Dan Wagoner, Superintendent
Engineering & Maintenance,
Dominion Terminal Associates

On Partnering With Us:

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Dominion Terminal Associates, the second-largest coal exporter in the U.S., was
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circle 19 on reader service card
Is FERC Backstop Siting
Authority Still Alive?
By Brian R. Gish

he U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently dealt If denials are not a trigger for FERC jurisdiction, backstop au-
another setback to the use of Section 216 of the Federal thority would be largely gutted, because a state could always
Power Act, which gives the Federal Energy Regulatory Com- defeat FERC jurisdiction by simply denying an application. It re-
mission (FERC) backstop authority to site electric transmis- mains unclear the extent to which this issue can be relitigated.
sion lines. Although enacted in 2005, this authority has never
been used by FERC, and it can be questioned whether it ever The DOE and the Ninth Circuit
will be used. Meanwhile, the DOE designated large areas in the East and the
West as corridors in which FERC could exercise siting author-
The Origins of Section 216 ity. In the Ninth Circuit, states and environmental groups ap-
The siting of transmission lines has always been the responsibil- pealed the DOEs corridor boundaries and its procedures for
ity of states, but a decade ago, many experts and politicians
were alarmed by the fact that electric loads were growing much
faster than transmission was being built. Among the identified
causes for the lag in transmission construction was the difficult A state could always defeat
state siting process, which required multiple state approvals for
an interstate line, and local not in my backyard politics. There-
FERC jurisdiction by simply
fore, many advocated for some form of unified federal control denying an application.
over the siting process for interstate transmission lines. However,
there was also intense opposition to federal involvement from
the states, and from some environmentalists, who feared there designating them. This court was also split, with the majority
would be less opportunity to object to line construction. holding that the DOE had not adequately met the statutory
In that atmosphere, Section 216 was enacted as an awkward requirement to consult with states about the corridor designa-
compromise that established a convoluted siting framework. tions and that the DOE did not fully consider the environmental
States retained their primary siting authority, but if they with- effects of its decision.
held approval of a filed application for more than a year, and Without commenting on the boundaries of the corridors, the
under other specified circumstances, the applicant could turn court vacated the corridor designations and sent the case back
to FERC for a siting permit. However, FERCs authority could be to the DOE to redo the process. The dissent found that the DOEs
invoked only if the proposed line was within a corridor des- consultation process, though faulty, was a harmless error that
ignated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as an area of did not warrant vacating the orders and that the majoritys envi-
transmission congestion that adversely affects consumers. ronmental analysis was wrong. As of this writing, it is not known
whether the DOE will seek rehearing of the courts decision.
FERC and the Fourth Circuit
The imprecise wording of Section 216 required the implementing Requiem?
agencies to interpret it and left opponents with opportunities to Thus, six years after enactment of Section 216, one important
derail it. In promulgating its regulations for backstop authority, triggering mechanism for FERC authority has been thrown into le-
FERC was faced with the issue of whether the most significant gal uncertainty, and there are no valid DOE-designated corridors
statutory trigger for FERC jurisdictiona state withholding ap- within which FERC could exercise such authority. The economic
proval of an applicationincluded an outright state denial of the downturn has postponed the point when electric demand will
application. FERC held that it did. exceed the capability of the grid to handle it, which means there
A group of states and environmental groups appealed that de- is no clamoring by transmission providers to take advantage of
cision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which FERCs backstop authority. It is not clear whether Section 216,
reached a split decision. The majority held that it was clear from with its emphasis on alleviating congestion, could be used to
the statute that a denial of an application by a state was not site needed transmission for remote renewable resources.
encompassed in the phrase withheld approval, and thus was The DOE will eventually designate new corridors, and electric
not included as a trigger for FERC authority. The dissenting judge loads will eventually grow again. In the meantime, federal back-
found precisely the opposite, stating that it was clear from the stop authority will lie dormant, waiting for a transmission ap-
statute that denials were to be included in the trigger. The Su- plicant with the deep resources necessary to overcome future
preme Court declined to review the case after the U.S. solicitor challenges to its use.
general argued that the case was not ripe for review and that Brian R. Gish (briangish@dwt.com) is of counsel in Davis
FERC could look at this again when a specific case came up. Wright Tremaines Energy Practice Group.

26 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011

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circle 20 on reader service card


Courtesy: Reuters

Chernobyl: Twenty-Five Years of

Wormwood is a bitter herb. The woody perennial in the genus Artemesia is found
around the world. In the Christian Bible (King James version) the plant shows
up in the apocalyptic Book of Revelation, 8:10-11: And the third angel sounded,
and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell
upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; and the
name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became
wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bit-
ter. In Ukrainian, the word for wormwood is Chernobyl.
By Kennedy Maize

wenty-five years ago last month, engi- copters over the smoking carcass to drop sand, to have resulted from radioactive releases.
neers and technicians were running low- clay, boron, and lead to suffocate the beastbut The radiation dosage at the power plant dur-
power tests at the 1,000-MW Reactor also a photographer who documented their brav- ing the accident has been estimated at over
No. 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant ery and plant workers unlucky to be working the 20,000 roentgens per hour, about 40 times
outside Kiev. They quickly, inexplicably, lost early morning shift when the unit went wild. the estimated lethal dosage, and the World
control of the light-water-cooled, graphite- How many died? Former USSR President Health Organization identified 237 workers
moderated reactor. In an instant, the critical Mikhail Gorbachev was running the Soviet with Acute Radiation Sickness.
chain reaction flared out of control. The plant government when the reactor exploded. Writ-
exploded like a small, dirty bomb, the graph- ing in the March-April 2011 issue of the Bul- The Accident was Local . . .
ite caught fire, and the worst catastrophe in letin of the Atomic Scientists, Gorbachevs A radioactive cloud spread westward over
civilian nuclear power was under way. estimate 25 years later remains imprecise: much of Europe. For weeks, the release fell
The immediate fallout, using the term broad- Some 50 workers died fighting the fire and over cities and fields. The atomic industry
ly, not only killed brave first responderswho reactor core meltdown, and another 4,000 coined a euphemism to describe the event:
faced brutal radiation doses as they flew heli- or more deaths may eventually be shown rapid disassembly of the core.

28 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
Pour the concrete.

Fire the turbines.

Drive the generators.

Split the atoms.

Ridicule the obstacles.

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circle 21 on reader service card

Chernobyl dominated newspaper, ra- duced a Meltdown series of comic books,
1. Days after. This is an aerial view of Reac- dio, and television news. In countries with featuring the superhero Wolverine and using
tor No. 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant
just days after it caught fire and exploded on
nuclear power programs, a political tussle the Chernobyl accident a plot device. In 2005,
April 26, 1986, sending a radioactive cloud of broke out among those who ranand advo- crime writer Martin Cruz Smith, author of the
dust over Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and other catednuclear plants and those who sought best-selling Gorky Park, wrote Wolves Eat
parts of Europe. Courtesy: Reuters to shut them down. Opponents of nuclear Dogs, which also featured Chernobyl in the
power sought to make Chernobyl a symbol back story. For those interested in nuclear en-
of the evils of the atom. Proponents stressed ergy history, nuclear accidents have figured in
the inherently flawed, one-off design of the popular culture at least since the 1954 Castle
RBMK plants, unlike the Wests typically Bravo H-bomb test on Bikini Atoll. That inci-
water-cooled and -moderated plants. dent accidentally exposed a Japanese fishing
There was satisfaction for the supporters of boat, the Fukuryu Maru, sickening all 23 crew
civilian atomic power plants that the machines members, one of whom died within seven
the Soviets provided to their captive satellite months of radiation sickness. That episode set
countries were similar to, and perhaps stolen off a firestorm of controversy in Japan and in-
from, modern U.S. and European light water re- spired the Godzilla monster movies. The 1959
actors. Western engineers, with tongue in cheek, French movie Hiroshima Mon Amour, dealing
often described the Soviet VVER designs as with the lasting and evanescent qualities of
Eastinghouse reactors. The Russians were re- memory, started a motion picture genre known
luctant to supply their conquered Warsaw Pact as new wave. In 1979, The China Syndrome,
allies with units that could make both electric- starring Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, and Mi-
ity and weapons-grade plutonium, fearing that chael Douglas, eerily preceded the Three Mile
Poles and Czechs and Hungarians might get Island accident.
ideas about turning plowshares into swords.
Predictably, the Chernobyl disaster had . . . But Was Felt Globally
cultural echoes. In 1988, Marvel Comics pro- Chernobyl ultimately had little impact on

About the Cover: Looking Backward and Forward

For months, we had planned to run a story the raw fuel is fairly easy to obtain, but
about the 25th anniversary of the Cher- its waste is difficult to store indefinitely.
2. Buried trouble. A concrete sarcopha- nobyl disaster in our May issue. Then a Nuclear power can bring lifeor at least
gus was erected by December 1986 to seal massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. the necessities of life, like warmthto its
off the reactor and halt the further release of
Among the devastating consequences was users. It can also bring death.
radiation into the atmosphere. The heat inside
the reactor remains over 200C today, and the critical damage to several nuclear reactors When a catastrophe happens, its easy
concrete structure is showing signs of stress. (and gas plants, including the Sendai Plant to focus just on the negatives of nuclear
At the time of the explosion, only 3% of the shown on last months cover). Shortly after power. After a few decades, when the im-
nuclear material in the plant was expelled, learning about the events in Japan, during pact of disaster has faded for many, its
leaving about 216 tons of uranium and pluto-
discussions about the cover for this issue, easy to focus just on its benefits.
nium buried in the reactor. Courtesy: Reuters
we considered working with the concept of Thats why we chose the image of the
25 Years Later, to tie together the Cher- mythological Janus, the Roman god whose
nobyl and Fukushima disasters. However, two faces depict his power to see both the
the circumstances, technologies, causes, past and the future. Over time, the Janus
and likely outcomes differ greatly. Instead, face has also come to represent someone
we believed the larger, more important goal or something with contrasting attributes.
should be to draw attention to the dual na- The Janus image should remind us all of
ture of nuclear power. the importance of being able to simulta-
Nuclear plant catastrophes are low- neously remember and apply the lessons
probability/high-impact events. When they taught by past tragedies while looking to-
happen, they naturally remind us of the ward the future. Though we mortals can
generation technologys risks. But until the only see the past, if we fail to learn from
Daiichi plant disaster, nuclear power was that past, future generations will have us
enjoying its highest popularity in decades, to blame.
thanks to its ability to supply reliable, We hope this months cover and cover
baseload, emissions-free electrons. The fi- story will get you thinking, talking about,
nancial aspect of nuclear energy also has and exploring new and better ways of recon-
its two sides: plants are relatively expensive ciling nuclear powers Janus-faced nature.
to build, but the electricity they produce is Gail Reitenbach, PhD is POWERs
relatively cheap. As for nuclears lifecycle, managing editor.

30 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011

Tomorrows chimney
design: lighter, cheaper,
built to last

The New Chimney Design from Hadek is a revolution in power

plant chimney construction.
Its slim and lightweight, but built to last even in seismic
regions. Its normally around five months faster and 20%
less expensive to build than traditional chimneys.
The design is simple: a smooth reinforced concrete shell, with
the Pennguard Block Lining System applied directly to its
inside surface. So theres no need for a separate internal flue.
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circle 22 on reader service card
worldwide nuclear development. The unique In 1989, in the aftermath of Chernobyl, could mold individual behavior. Heres how
design of the Russian reactors meant that the the worlds nuclear nations formed the World Leon Trotsky put it in his 1924 book Litera-
event had few specific implications for most Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO). ture and Revolution: Man will make it his
of the designs employed then and now in the Both INPO and WANO were largely the purpose to master his own feelings, to raise
rest of the world. Economics and national fruits of efforts made by the late William his instincts to the heights of consciousness,
politics continued to drive nuclear power de- States Lee III, legendary CEO of Duke Pow- to make them transparent, to extend the wires
velopment, as they had before Chernobyl. er who worked at Duke for four decades. Bill of his will into hidden recesses, and thereby
But the Ukrainian atomic explosion did Lee often said that both TMI and Chernobyl to raise himself to a new plane, to create a
have important impacts on attitudes within were key events in improving the safety and higher social biologic type, or, if you please,
the industry, much as the March 1979 Three performance record of nuclear power. a superman.
Mile Island (TMI) accident had reinforced the Chernobyl, by many accounts, also played One corollary of the new Soviet man
message that safety in nuclear power is Job 1. an important role in the demise of the USSR, doctrine was a religious fealty to technology.
In the U.S., TMI resulted in the formation in by undermining much of the mythology be- In that religious pantheon, electricity ranked
December 1979 of the Institute for Nuclear hind communist ideology. One of the tenets high. One of the early slogans of Bolshevism
Power Operations (INPO), the industrys of Russias Bolshevik version of communism reads: Communism equals Soviet power
self-policing watchdog. That organization was the idea of the new Soviet man. This plus electrification of the entire country. In
was the forerunner of a dramatic turnaround was a doctrine of the perfectibility of man- his fine 2000 book Red Atom, historian Paul
in performance at U.S. nuclear plants. kind, a belief that social and political forces Josephson wrote that in the USSR, technol-

25 Years Later, Fukushima

This article was completed two days before Toshiba Corp. to develop the expansion four decades, in the first place, ignoring the
the March 11 disaster at the six-unit Fukush- project. Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), fact that 21 or the 23 have already received
ima Daiichi nuclear power complex in north- owner of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, is license renewals to operate another 20 years.
eastern Japan. Our goal with this story was also a 9% owner of the two new STNP reac- I suspect that the NRC doesnt consider a 9.0
to provide a perspective on the lasting impor- tors and has an option to purchase another seismic event rapidly followed by a tsunami a
tance of Chernobyl on the 25th anniversary of 10% of that project. The expansion of STNP reasonable design condition for U.S. owners
the partial meltdown of Reactor 4, especially is dependant not only on a DOE loan guar- of Mark I reactors, such as Fermi 2 (located
for the large number of POWER readers who antee but also the largesse of the Japanese in Monroe, Mich.) or Peach Bottom 2 and 3
were not part of the power generation indus- government. TEPCO will be instrumental in (Lancaster, Penn.). It appears that many op-
try at the time of that accident. Ken Maize helping to secure Japanese financing sup- ponents of nuclear energy are not letting this
does an admirable job of achieving that goal. port through Japan Bank for International crisis to go to waste.
My only caveat is that the IAEA statement Cooperation and Nippon Export and Invest- The courts have also jumped into the fray.
quoted at the end of his story could now be ment Insurance, said Steven Win, CEO of On March 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
revised to say, One single major accident in a NINA, in a May 2010 interview. I suspect Third Circuit ruled that the NRC must advise
power plant couldin a matter of minutes that TEPCOs viability as a technical and fi- the court what impact, if any, the damages
ruin twenty-five years of considerable effort. nancial partner in STNP may soon become from the earthquake and tsunami at the Fuku-
Recent events in Japan demand additional politically untenable. shima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station have on
comment, not concerning the cause of the I also believe Maizes closing words may, the propriety of granting the license renewal
largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, but unfortunately, prove prophetic. Days after application for the Oyster Creek Generating
rather on the potential for the multi-unit Japans accident, a USA Today/Gallup Poll Station. The relicensing of Oyster Creek has
Fukushima Daiichi accident to further chip taken March 1516 found that the number been a very contentious issue over the past
away at the fragile foundation of the nucle- of U.S. adults who support new reactors few years. I have no doubt the plant will
ar renaissance. Maize painted a picture last slipped from 62% in March 2010 to 46% eventually be relicensed, as have all those
month (Nuclear Fever Breaks, April 2010) a year later. In Washington, several of our that have proceeded Oyster Creek through the
of an industry metaphorically standing on representatives are haranguing the NRC NRC relicensing gauntlet.
a street corner with a tin cup, begging the about nuclear plants built near faults, and In the U.S., the fallout from the Fukushima
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brother, others are pushing for distribution of po- Daiichi plant disaster wont be measured by
can you spare a loan guarantee? Without tassium iodide pills for residents who live a dosimeter badge but rather by poll results
loan guarantees, many of the 20 or so proj- within 20 miles of any nuclear plant, rather that are a reflection of the publics concern
ects in the Nuclear Regulatory Commissions than within the existing 10-mile zone. about events in Japan, a predictable short-
(NRCs) approval queue will not mature into Other anti-nuclear groups arent waiting for term response to the tragedy. On the other
real projects. the figurative smoke to clear in Japan before hand, could it be these poll results are indica-
Perhaps in most immediate peril is the demanding the closure of all 23 General Elec- tive of a more lasting attitudinal reversal, af-
plan by Nuclear Innovation North America tric Mark I boiling water reactors in the U.S., ter a decade-long rise in the publics support
(NINA) to add two new units to the South calling their design flaws fundamental. of nuclear power? Only time will tell.
Texas Nuclear Project (STNP). NINA is a Other activists are lambasting the NRC for Dr. Robert Peltier, PE is POWERs
company jointly owned by NRG Energy and allowing those reactors to operate, some for editor-in-chief

32 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
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Soviet man. But by April 1986, the founda- strongest pillars of the Soviet regime. That
3. Today. This photograph of the sarcophagus
tion of Soviet communism had already be- regime fell apart soon after. Chernobyl was
covering the damaged Reactor No. 4 was taken
on February 24, 2011. Belarus, Ukraine, and gun to crack. Gorbachev had contributed a major catalyst in triggering the chain reac-
Russia will mark the 25th anniversary of the nu- with his policy of glasnost or openness, tion of events that would soon lead to the dis-
clear reactor explosion in Chernobyl, the place implemented before Chernobyl as an anti- integration of the Soviet Union. (For more
where the worlds worst civil nuclear accident dote to rampant corruption. Among the fruits on the event and its aftermath, see the multi-
took place, on April 26. Courtesy: Reuters of glasnost was an invigorated Russian press media page assembled by the IAEA at www.
that began highlighting the major problems iaea.org/newscenter/focus/chernobyl/.)
of the Soviet Union, including alcoholism,
malingering, food shortages, and environ- A New Perspective
mental destruction. Now, 25 years later, what is one to make of
The events of late April 1986 and their af- the bitterness of Chernobyl and what it be-
termath administered a stern test to glasnost. gat? The IAEAs conclusion of 2006 remains
At first, the Soviets retreated to form, dissem- valid. The agency observed that the public
bling and covering up events in Ukraine. But seems to have gradually changed its percep-
soon, probably under Gorbachevs orders, the tion of nuclear energy, against the backdrop
Soviet government came clean about the ac- of what is often referred to as the nuclear
cident. By September, the USSR delivered a renaissance. This could be seen as evidence
full report on the accident to the International of the maturity of nuclear technology, of the
ogy had become a panacea for the great Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, adequacy of the safety culture, of effective
economic, social and political challenges acknowledging terrible errors in operating regulations etc... . But it may also be proof of
facing the nation as it embarked of the path the plant. Time magazine described the So- loss of memory.
of modernization. Many peasants and work- viet accident report as one of the more star- The IAEA also cautioned, One single
ers embraced the new technology, naming tling examples of a new Soviet openness. major accident in a power plant couldin a
their sons Tractor (Traktor) their daughters In a Chernobyl 20th anniversary assess- matter of minutesruin twenty years of con-
Electrification (Elektrifikatsiia) or Forge ment, the IAEA commented, Under heavy siderable effort.
(Domna). pressure from the West to provide open infor- Kennedy Maize is a POWER contribut-
Chernobyl dashed that technology wor- mation on the accident, Gorbachev imposed ing editor and executive editor of
ship and the concept of the perfectibility of full glasnost, thereby annihilating one of the MANAGING POWER.
2011 Brand Services, LLC All Rights Reserved.

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34 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011





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Research and Development for
Future Coal Generation
If coal is to be a viable long-term fuel for a significant percentage of electricity
generation, research and development is needed to increase thermal effi-
ciency, demonstrate cost-effective and secure carbon dioxide capture and
storage, further improve emission controls, and reduce water demands.
By Dr. Andrew Maxson and Dr. Jeffrey Phillips, Electric Power Research Institute

oal-fired power plants currently supply Advanced cooling and water management and temperatures up to 1,050F, provide sig-
nearly half of the electricity consumed methods to reduce water demand and pol- nificant efficiency improvements over sub-
worldwide. Globally, coal continues to lutant discharges. critical units, achieving efficiencies of 38%
be the primary fuel for affordable and reli- (HHV). Ultrasupercritical (USC) plants,
able electric power production due to its low Improving Efficiency which have been in operation for years in
cost and because many countries have indig- R&D to improve the thermodynamic effi- Europe and Japan, and more recently China,
enous coal resources, which provide a level ciency of coal power plants is a key part of have main steam conditions of 4,200 psi and
of energy independence. any strategy to make coal generation more 1,100F and generating efficiencies of up to
However, if coal-fired generation is to viable in the future. Increased efficiency, 42% (HHV). In the U.S., the first new USC
remain a major source of electricity, it faces produced by operating at higher steam tem- PC plant, American Electric Powers (AEPs)
significant economic and environmental chal- peratures, reduces fuel costs and the amount John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant, is expected to
lenges. Although solutions to these challeng- of CO2 generated per unit of plant output; a be commissioned in late 2012.
es are possible, much is unknown or untested. 9 percentage point efficiency gain results in a The primary technology advance needed
Meeting the challenges of coal will require 20% reduction in CO2 emissions, as Figure 1 to enable construction of coal-fired boilers
research to improve existing technologies and shows. Higher-efficiency plants can also have and turbines with even higher efficiencies
to develop new breakthrough technologies. It better part-load operation and operating flex- is the development of metal alloys that re-
will also require a commitment to an aggres- ibility, making lower emissions of other pol- tain their strength at very high temperatures
sive schedule of technology development, lutants possible and cutting balance-of-plant and resist corrosion, creep, and other aging
demonstration, and scale-up in a broad array costs, due to reduced size, water consump- mechanisms. These materials also must be
of design processes. tion, and waste generation and consumables. cost-effective to manufacture and fabricate
The Electric Power Research Institute Currently, the majority of pulverized coal into boiler and turbine components.
(EPRI) has proposed a strategy to meet future (PC) plants in the U.S. are subcritical, with Aggressive R&D programs for alloy
global rising electricity demand by deploying an average efficiency of about 33% (based on development and evaluation in Europe, Ja-
a full portfolio of clean energy technolo- higher heating value [HHV]). Supercritical pan, and the U.S. have identified ferritic
gies (assuming a carbon-constrained future) plants, which typically operate at 3,600 psi steels capable of meeting the duty require-
that simultaneously reduces pollutant emis-
sions and water use. This full portfolio in- 1. Highs lead to lows. High-efficiency advanced pulverized coal power plants substan-
cludes not only renewable energy resources, tially reduce fuel costs as well as CO2 and other emissions. (Efficiencies are based on higher
end-use energy efficiency, advanced light wa- heating value.) Source: EPRI
ter reactor nuclear plants, and electric trans-
9% Efficiency gain = 20% CO2 reduction
portation, but also advanced coal generation 30
with carbon capture and storage (CCS).
To capitalize on coals advantages and
help mitigate its weaknesses, research and
Advanced ultrasupercritical plant range

development (R&D) needs to achieve the

Commercial supercritical plant range

following five key goals: 20

CO2 reduction (%)

Improved plant efficiency, via high-tem- 15 20% reduction in

CO2 corresponds to
Subcritical plant range

perature materials and higher turbine inlet

temperatures. similar reductions
10 (per MWh) in fuel
Cost-effective, scalable CO2 capture, in
new or retrofit applications.
emissions, and
Environmentally safe and permanent stor- 5
water use
age of CO2.
Improved emission control systems, pro- 0
ducing near-zero emissions (NZE) of all 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
pollutants. Net plant efficiency (%) (bituminous coal, without CO2 capture)

36 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
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ments of USC plants up to approximately Pre-combustion capture technologies a slipstream PCC system equivalent to about
1,150F. Several European projects have are applied to pressurized synthesis gas, 25 MW (~150,000 tons CO2/year) will be
researched achieving steam conditions of prior to combustion in the gas turbine of demonstrated. EPRI will participate by pro-
about 1,290F and 5,500 psi with the help an integrated gasification combined-cycle viding independent testing of the capture sys-
of nickel-based alloys. (IGCC) unit. tem for an industrial collaborative.
In the U.S., the Advanced USC (A-USC) Oxy-combustion technologies eliminate Another area of PCC research involves
Project is under way to build on these capa- most of the nitrogen in air prior to com- developing potential alternatives to amine-
bilities. The project aims to identify, evaluate, bustion, thereby producing a flue gas con- based solvent technologies. For example,
and qualify high-temperature materials tech- taining primarily CO2 and water, allowing Alstom Power Inc. has developed the chilled
nology for construction of coal-fired boilers relatively simple purification, primarily by ammonia process (CAP). This technology in-
and turbines. The U.S Department of Energy cooling and condensing out the water. volves the use of a chilled, concentrated am-
(DOE), through the National Energy Tech- monia solution to chemically bind the CO2,
nology Laboratory (NETL), is the majority Post-combustion Capture. Most of the followed by thermal regeneration to liberate
funder; significant co-funding comes from furthest developed PCC technologies pass the CO2 for collection and use or storage.
the Ohio Coal Development Office. Energy flue gas through a packed towertype ab- The CAP underwent testing with a flue gas
Industries of Ohio is managing the program, sorber, where a chemical solvent selectively flow equivalent of 1.7 MWe at We Energies
and EPRI is providing overall technical di- absorbs CO2. The CO2-laden solvent passes Pleasant Prairie Power Plant in Wisconsin.
rection and coordination. The U.S. project to a regenerating column (also called a strip- (See Alstoms Chilled Ammonia CO2-Cap-
seeks to achieve steam temperatures up to per in some designs), where it is heated to ture Process Advances Toward Commercial-
1,400F for an A-USC plant. release a nearly pure CO2 stream that is then ization, in the Feb. 2008 issue of POWER or
As part of this project, two research teams returned to the absorber. the archives at www.powermag.com.) Tests
(one for boilers and one for turbines) have The steam and auxiliary power require- by EPRI showed the technology was capable
been working to identify, fabricate, and test ad- ments for solvent capture and CO2 compres- of removing 90% of the incoming CO2 from
vanced materials and coatings with mechani- sion may reduce net plant output by about a slipstream of the plants flue gas.
cal properties, steamside oxidation resistance, 20% to 30%. Numerous approaches for PCC AEP has scaled up the CAP to a 20-MWe
and fireside corrosion resistance suitable for are in development; all hope for substantial re- (~110,000 tons CO2/year) equivalency at the
higher temperatures. These A-USC plants are ductions in costs and parasitic energy losses. Mountaineer Station in West Virginia. The
anticipated to become commercially available Many of these approaches focus on devel- plant started CO2 capture in September 2009.
after 2020, following successful operation of opment and testing of new solvents. One area Approximately 40,000 tons of CO2 have been
a demonstration plant. of investigation involves improving amine- captured to date, with 80% to 90% capture effi-
based solvent technologies so that they have ciency achievable and 99.9% CO2 purity. EPRI
CO2 Capture greater absorption capacity, require less ener- is also participating in this demonstration, pro-
Three primary approaches to CO2 capture are gy for regeneration, and have a greater ability viding independent testing of the system for an
being investigated (Figure 2): to accommodate flue gas contaminants. For industrial collaborative, as with the Plant Barry
example, one advanced amine-based solvent project. As a next step, AEP is investigating
Post-combustion capture (PCC) technolo- is the KS-1 sterically hindered amine solvent scale-up to a 235-MWe equivalent demonstra-
gies are used to absorb CO2 from flue gas, at developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries tion unit; start-up is expected in 2015.
atmospheric pressure, from coal-fired boilers (MHI) for its KM-CDR process. Southern In addition, the DOE/NETL has funded
using PC, circulating fluidized-bed combus- Company is testing MHIs KM-CDR pro- development of the National Carbon Capture
tion, and other combustion systems. cess at Alabama Powers Plant Barry, where Center (NCCC), an engineering-scale demon-
stration site adjacent to Alabama Powers Plant
Gaston in Wilsonville, Ala. EPRI and several
2. Three paths to removing CO2 from power plants. Source: EPRI power and coal companies are co-funders of
the NCCC and provide guidance through an
Postcombustion (PC) Industry Advisor Board. Part of the NCCC in-
O2 cludes a test module with multiple slipstreams
Coal for evaluation of PCC technologies, with a
Power & heat CO2 separation
range of flue gas throughputs.
Air Pre-combustion Capture. In pre-com-
bustion capture systems, raw syngas is treat-
Precombustion (IGCC)
Steam CO2
ed with a water-gas shift process that uses a
Air/O2 catalyst to assist the reaction of carbon mon-
CO2 compression oxide with steam to form CO2 and hydrogen.
Coal Shift, gas cleanup + H2 Power CO2 separation can then be achieved with an
Gasification & dehydration
CO2 separation & heat extraction and stripping process that uses a
physical or chemical sorbent (solvent) or
membrane process.
Oxyfuel combustion Applying the shift reaction and currently
Air N2 available solvent processes for 90% CO2 re-
Air separation moval will reduce the thermal efficiency and
O2 net output of an IGCC unit by roughly 20%
CO2 to 24% and impose large increases in capital
Power & heat
Coal and operating costs (Figure 3). As a result, a

38 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
circle 27 on reader service card
variety of R&D efforts are under way to re- Oxy-coal technologies are at an earlier separate oxygen molecules from the air, and
duce these penalties. stage of development than pre- or post-com- unlike conventional cryogenic air-separation
The DOE/NETL currently is funding bustion CO2 capture technologies, and to units, it requires no electric power. EPRI has
development of pre-combustion CO2 cap- date, no commercial-scale oxy-combustion been involved in the project since 2008, when
ture technologies that have the potential to power plants are in operation. EPRI formed a collaborative to perform tech-
provide significant improvements in cost In the U.S., the DOE/NETL-funded Fu- nical tasks, assess overall progress, and pro-
and performance compared with current tureGen 2.0 project plans to repower Ame- vide industry input to AP and the DOE.
solvents. Research is focusing on alterna- ren Energy Resources 200-MW oil-fired Estimates by AP and EPRI suggest that ox-
tive physical solvents, solid sorbents, and Meredosia Unit 4 with Babcock & Wilcoxs ygen plant capital costs and operating power
membrane-based systems for the separation oxy-coal technology and to construct a CO2 consumption could be reduced in IGCC ap-
of hydrogen and CO2. pipeline and geological storage facility. The plications by using ITM. Other potential ben-
EPRI recently completed a study for the project plans to capture over 90% of the efits include reduced cooling water and plant
Canadian Clean Power Coalition that ex- CO2 and sequester 1.2 million tons/year. The space requirements. Preliminary modeling of
plored each area of a base IGCC plant for schedule calls for the engineering and envi- ITM applied to oxy-combustion shows simi-
technology advancements that could improve ronmental assessments to be completed by lar economic and efficiency benefits.
the efficiency and/or cost of the plant. Results 2012 and the plant to begin operation in 2016. Retrofit CO2 Capture. The U.S. has
showed recent developments in coal prepa- (See Oxy-Combustion: A Promising Tech- more than 330 GWe of existing capacity in
ration and feeding, air separation, gasifica- nology for Coal-Fired Plants, Jan. 2010.) PC plants. To meet anticipated greenhouse
tion, syngas and CO2 processing, and power Two commercial oxy-coal plants are gas reduction targets, the U.S. electric power
production could deliver a coal-fired power planned in EuropeVattenfalls 250-MWe industry may need to retrofit existing coal
plant, including 90% CO2 capture, with net plant in Germany and Endesas 300-MWe plants with PCC systems. More broadly,
plant efficiency higher than a present-day plant in Spainand a 30-MWe pilot plant is some analysts believe worldwide PCC retro-
IGCC plant without CO2 capture. under construction in Australia by CS Energy. fit is essential to stabilize atmospheric CO2.
Oxy-combustion. Oxy-combustion sep- Oxygen-fired IGCC and oxy-combustion The challenges of retrofitting plants for
arates oxygen from air and combines it with processes require large amounts of oxygen, carbon capture are significant: Sites would
recycled flue gas, so that combustion occurs which imposes a significant cost and energy need space for capture and compression
in the presence of oxygen and CO2, produc- penalty. An innovative technology called ion equipment (about 6 acres for a 500-MW
ing a flue gas rich in CO2 (70% to 90%, dry transport membrane (ITM), developed by Air unit), the low-pressure steam turbine poten-
basis). This combustion process allows the Products (AP) under a cooperative agreement tially could need to accommodate extraction
CO2 produced during coal combustion to be with the DOE, could help reduce these costs. of 25% to 30% of its steam for the CCS sys-
more easily purified and compressed prior to The ITM process uses a ceramic material un- tem, the demand for cooling water supply
transport and storage. der temperature and pressure to ionize and could increase by as much as 100%, and pol-
lutant controls may need to be upgraded to
be capable of reducing emissions below cur-
3. Net power output and efficiency for IGCC with and without CO2 cap- rently permitted values to protect the solvent
ture. Source: EPRI
used in some of the capture processes.
EPRI is in the midst of a large, multi-com-
PRB cases - net output PRB cases - total aux load P8 cases - net output P8 cases - total aux load pany project to conduct plant-specific studies
Net efficiency to determine the thermal and economic im-
1,200 45% pacts of retrofitting a plant with an advanced
40.0% amine PCC technology. The studies are being
38.2% 38.8% 38.1% 37.8% 41.9% 40% conducted at five plant sites, representative of
1,000 typical configurations across North America.
Net/gross power output (MWe)

31.1% 31.5% 31.6% The project team is modeling the process flow
30.2% 30.3%
Net plant efficiency (HHV)

29.8% and the heat and mass balances to identify

800 30%
the most practical CO2 capture configuration
25% based on each sites constraints, determine
600 the space required for the capture technol-
20% ogy, estimate the performance and costs for
the capture and compression systems, and
400 15% reveal each plants features that materially
affect cost and feasibility of retrofitting.
200 New Capture Processes. Many re-
5% search teams, including EPRI, are doing
considerable work to develop new capture
0 0% processes (primarily for post-combustion

applications) aimed at significantly reduc-









ll W



ll S






ing the costs and inherent energy penalty.









ll S





In particular, the DOE/NETL is funding














development of several advanced PCC








technologies. In some cases, through its


Notes: P8 = Pittsburgh #8 coal, R/Q = Energy Radiant Quench gasifier, SGC = syngas cooler, WQ = Water Quench Technology Watch function, EPRI has
gasifier. identified potential new breakthrough pro-

40 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
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cesses, usually those being developed at a energy requirements for CO2 compression ships of DOEs nationwide Regional Carbon
university or by a small firm, and has nur- are substantial. Compression is estimated Sequestration Partnerships program are con-
tured them along for a few years until they to account for one-third to one-fourth of the ducting pilot-scale CO2 injection validation
were ready to compete for DOE funding. total energy demand of a CCS system on a tests in differing geologic formations. These
The new processes generally fall within power plant. Southwest Research Institute is pilot-scale tests are to be followed by larger-
five categories: investigating two novel compression systems volume tests involving storage of ~1 million
with the potential to reduce CO2 compression metric tons of CO2 or more, along with post-
Absorption: Research focuses on develop- power requirements by 35%. One concept is injection monitoring to track migration of
ing novel solvent processes such as com- a semi-isothermal compression process in the CO2. EPRI is responsible for most of the
plexed ionic liquids, oligomers, and phase which the CO2 is continually cooled using an field work at the southeastern regional proj-
separation. internal cooling jacket (intra-stage cooling) ect (pilot-scale and larger volume injections)
Adsorption: Novel designs of packed rather than conventional inter-stage cooling. and also for the drilling and testing of one or
and fluidized beds are being investi- The other concept involves the use of refrig- two characterization wells in Arizona.
gated in parallel with new sorbent ma- eration to liquefy the CO2, so that its pressure EPRI is engaged in a multiyear research
terials, such as those based on carbon can be increased using a cryogenic pump, and information exchange program to deter-
or metal organic frameworks with the rather than a compressor. mine how pure a CO2 stream must be when
desired thermodynamic properties and The DOE/NETL is supporting develop- delivered to an injection formation. The ob-
robustness. ment by Ramgen Power Systems of a super- jective is to understand the purity that en-
Biological: Research focuses on quanti- sonic shock wave compression technology, ables a target injection formation to realize
fying the carbon-mitigating potential of similar to an aircraft ram-jet engine. The its maximum injectivity and capacity, while
various utility-connected algae systems, compressor design, known as Rampressor, avoiding excessively high costs in the capture
with emphasis on life-cycle analyses for features a rotating disk that operates at high system due to unnecessarily tight purity re-
net CO2 accounting. peripheral speeds to generate shock waves quirements.
Membranes: Developers are working on that compress CO2 with higher efficiency In 2010, EPRI initiated a field study to
polymer membranes that remove CO2 from than conventional technologies. (See Cap- evaluate potential impacts of dissolved CO2
flue gas with both high selectivity and per- turing CO2: Gas Compression vs. Liquefac- on groundwater quality. By injecting car-
meability. Although they are still largely tion, June 2009.) bonated groundwater into a shallow aquifer
untested for this application, membranes Around the world, geologic sequestration system and observing the effects, the field
have potential to lower the energy penalty. of CO2 is being demonstrated by numerous study simulates a hypothetical CO2 leak from
Mineralization: Flue gas is scrubbed by small-scale projects. In Canada, Norway, a deep geologic storage reservoir into an un-
a base solution to form a solid product, and Algeria, large-scale projects sequester a derground source of drinking water. Results
thereby capturing CO2 without requir- combined total of ~5 million metric tons of from this study will help improve our fun-
ing compression or underground stor- CO2 per yearthe approximate output of a damental understanding of the geochemical
age. Obtaining the base solution at low baseload 750-MWe coal-fired power plant. processes that lead to the introduction into
energy demand remains a challenge. The most promising formations for groundwater of CO2-induced mobilization of
geologic storage of CO2 include depleted heavy metals and organics along a potential
EPRI supports the early stages of R&D oil- and gas-bearing formations, saline for- CO2 leakage path from the injection forma-
on new capture processes through its Tech- mations, and deep, unminable coal seams. To tion to an underground source of potable
nology Innovation program, performing due adequately qualify a site for geologic seques- drinking water.
diligence, process simulations, materials de- tration of CO2, characterization studies must EPRI also is teaming with industry collab-
velopment, and lab testing. Through industri- confirm the sites storage capacity and ability orators to study the integration of larger-scale
al collaboration, EPRI also provides support to safely store CO2. carbon capture systems with storage tech-
and funding through bench tests, pilot-scale In the U.S., the seven regional partner- nologies. Projects include AEPs Mountain-
projects, and larger-scale demonstrations of
capture technology (see sidebar).
Operating Flexibility Required
CO2 Compression, Transport,
and Storage A recent EPRI study explored the potential market. Results indicate that being able to
Although as much as 80% of the cost of CCS economic impact, on a coal-fired plant temporarily turn off CO2 capture systems
is attributable to the capture process, most with carbon capture and sequestration during times of high power demand could
of the uncertainties surround the means of (CCS), of temporarily bypassing the CO2 generate enough revenue via the sale of
permanently storing CO2. The industry and capture system during periods of peak 10-minute reserve and 1-hour reserve
public need to be confident that CO2 can be power demand to increase the plants eco- credits to offset 15% to 19% of the initial
safely injected and stored in underground
nomic performance. Findings showed this capital cost of a greenfield integrated gas-
formations over very long periods without
mode of operation would be profitable if ification combined-cycle plant and almost
undesirable side effects. Beyond the scientif-
ic investigations related to geologic sites and the value of the increased power sales and 45% of the cost of retrofitting an existing
injection technologies, there are regulatory, lower per-unit fuel cost outweighed the pulverized coal plant with CCS. However,
legal, and long-term liability issues that some cost of higher CO2 emissions. the ability to quickly shut off capture sys-
analysts believe will be the biggest obstacles A related study investigated the value tems needs to be proven, and it is unclear
to widespread CCS commercialization. of operating flexibility for plants with CCS if regulators will allow that kind of CCS
The process of transporting CO2 via pipe- when bidding into the ancillary services system operating flexibility.
lines is commercially established. However,

42 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
If a jobs worth doing,
its worth doing with
Roberts & Schaefer.
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Since 1903, Roberts & Schaefer has been a world leader in the
design, engineering, procurement and construction of bulk material
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eer Station and Southern Companys Plant Board to manage the storage site. Permitting nium, particulates, and a number of organics.
Barry. AEP is injecting the captured CO2 into and environmental assessments are under These regulations include the U.S. Envi-
two distinct, deep saline reservoirs and moni- way, and the site is being prepared to accept ronmental Protection Agencys Maximum
toring the underground acceptance of the CO2 by the end of 2011. Achievable Control Technology rule, pro-
CO2 by the porous formation, its interactions posed in 2011, and the Clean Air Transport
with rocks and fluids in the formation, and Near-Zero Emissions Rule, proposed in 2010. In the longer term,
its movement underground. The first injec- A critical element in research for future coal the need for NZE technologies has become
tion of CO2 from coal-derived flue gas was generation is the development of NZE plants. linked to commercializing PCC processes,
performed in October 2010. In the Southern A number of factors drive the need for because several CO2 capture technologies re-
project, CO2 will be transported by pipe- NZE R&D. In the short term, coal plants will quire inlet flue gas with extremely low levels
line ~10 miles to 2011
Power Mag a saline formation.
Membrana.ai EPRI
1 3/28/2011 12:14:29need
PM to meet upcoming regulations covering of SO2 and NO2.
is working with the Southern States Energy emissions of NOx, SO2, SO3, mercury, sele- Current air pollution controls can reduce
emissions of NOx, SO2, SO3, and mercury to
very low levels, but usually not to NZE target
levels on all coals, consistently throughout
the year. Technology advances, enhanced
instrumentation, and, most likely, a final pol-
ishing step would be required to attain NZE
target levels.
In the near term, to meet existing and up-
coming regulatory requirements, a number
of new technologies must be developed and
demonstrated, such as:

Controls consistent with 90%-plus mercu-

ry reduction for all applications and fuels.
Selective catalytic reduction (SCR) cata-
lyst regeneration strategies, as well as
SCR catalyst management systems con-
sistent with year-round system operation
at 90+% NOx removal, minimum SO3
generation, and maximum oxidation of
elemental mercury in the flue gas.
Robust, reliable flue gas desulfurization
systems for all coals, including those with
low sulfur.
More wear-tolerant, low-pressure-drop/
ultra-high-efficiency baghouses for con-
trol of particulates from a wide range of
fuels; improved performance of electro-
static precipitators (ESPs) for applications
not suited to baghouses or amenable to
upgrading in existing power plants; and
demonstrated wet ESPs for acid mist and
fine trace metal particulate capture.
Resolution of balance-of-plant issues and
long-term operability issues for recently
installed environmental controls.

For pollutants with newly proposed reg-

ulations (such as selenium, acid gases, and
organics), R&D initially will focus more
on the underlying mechanisms as well
as independent assessments of emerging
emission controls.

Water Use in Coal Power Plants

Reducing water use is emerging as a top
priority for the power generation industry,
including coal-fired plants, due to shortages
in and competing demands for water. This
issue will become even more acute with the
drive to reduce carbon emissions. When

44 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
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CO2 capture is included in a plant design, auxiliary cooling system serving turbine management and forecasting. The project
water use per net MWh is expected to in- lube oil coolers and other small loads. Hy- is examining cooling water availability im-
crease by 30% to 90%. (See Determining brid wet-dry cooling systems can minimize pacts on power plant siting, meteorological
Carbon Capture and Sequestrations Water the negative impacts of dry cooling during impacts on ACCs, indirect dry cooling, hy-
Demands, Mar. 2010.) hot weather by using an evaporative cool- brid tower designs, water-recovery options,
The majority of water use in power plants ing tower to handle a portion of the cooling wet-surface air coolers, advanced bottom-
is related to process cooling (mostly low- duty during those periods. (See Apprais- ing cycles, and methods to preserve once-
grade heat rejection). Conventional cooling ing Our Future Cooling Water Options, through cooling options.
is achieved through once-through cooling, June 2010.)
which withdraws water from a nearby water Power plants also can decrease the im- Conclusion
body, pumps it to a condenser, and discharges pact on freshwater supplies by using nontra- It is technically feasible to reduce CO2 emis-
the heated cooling water back into the water ditional sources of water for make-up. One sions from coal-fired generation, cut other
body. Where local water resources cannot potential source of water for a power plant emissions to near-zero levels, and reduce
support once-through cooling, use of a wet is its own wastewater. One method for up- plant water use and discharge. However,
cooling tower reduces water withdrawals but grading and reusing wastewater in a power many of the necessary technologies are not
increases consumption and may impose a plant is to include a zero liquid discharge yet at the level of developmental maturity
heat rate penalty. (ZLD) system. ZLD systems use evaporative required for affordable widespread deploy-
To reduce water use, research efforts are or reverse osmosis processes to concentrate ment, and time is needed to test and validate
focusing on alternative cooling technolo- the impurities in the wastewater for disposal new technologies. Achieving these goals will
gies and options for reducing plant cooling while producing a water stream of suitable require acknowledging the urgency of the
loads. For example, dry cooling systems, or purity for reuse. challenges and a sustained commitment to
air-cooled condensers (ACCs), can be used EPRIs Advanced Cooling Technolo- a broad program of aggressive public- and
as the heat sink for the various cooling duties gies project supports research to increase private-sector R&D.
in a power plant. water use efficiency and conservation at Dr. Andrew Maxson (amaxson@epri
A wet-surface, air-cooled heat exchanger fossil, nuclear, and renewable power plants .com) is a project manager for EPRIs
(WSACHE) allows use of high cycles of through engineering and economic analysis, Industry Technology Demonstration
concentration or low-quality makeup water. improved dry and hybrid cooling, reduced program, and Dr. Jeffrey Phillips (jphil-
In some plants with dry ACCs, WSACHEs water losses from cooling towers, use of de- lip@epri.com) is the program manager for
are used to remove heat from a closed-loop graded water, and enhanced water resource EPRIs CoalFleet for Tomorrow program.

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46 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011

supporting operating
nuclear plants.

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The Future of Coal
Added Regulatory Hurdles Will
Accelerate Coal Plant Retirements
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is developing a number of new reg-
ulations for the power sector governing air emissions, cooling water in-
take structures, and coal combustion waste disposal methods. Combined,
these regulations have the potential to drive as much as 40% of exist-
ing coal-fired generating units to retire in the next 10 years, representing
about 51 GW.
By Chris MacCracken and Steven Fine, ICF International

ver the past two-plus years, we have ability of each plant and the effectiveness of regional allowance trading programs for SO2
heard the regulatory drumbeat for controls at achieving the necessary emission emissions, one for annual NOx emissions,
the coal-fired power sector quicken reduction levels. However, the same fuel and and one for ozone season (May through Sep-
and increase in volume. The U.S. Environ- power market factors, including natural gas tember) NOx emissions. Starting in 2014, the
mental Protection Agency (EPA) has, in prices, will be just as relevant as in the past. rule will limit allowance trading by requir-
quick succession, begun new rulemaking In addition, uncertainty over future CO2 reg- ing that emissions in affected states meet or
to reduce air emissions, established criteria ulations adds another layer of complexity to fall below state-specific allowance budgets
for using once-through cooling water and future resource planning. (caps) that the agency is developing.
its structures, and reopened the question of The most anticipated new regulation by
coal ash waste classification and disposal. New Rules, No Legislation owners of coal-fired capacity is the HAPs
The regulatory approach, driven largely The EPA is currently working on a num- MACT, or Toxics Rule (see Anticipat-
by legal requirements, has also changed ber of new regulations under the Clean Air ing the New Utility MACT Rules, Janu-
from past administrations. The plant-level, Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA), and ary 2011 in the POWER archives at www
rather than market-based, structure of most Resource Conservation and Recovery Act .powermag.com). The rule, proposed by the
expected regulations will force utility and (RCRA). The most pressing of those for coal- EPA on March 16, 2011, requires control of
merchant generators to address new control fired generators are the Clean Air Transport three hazardous air pollutants: mercury, hy-
technology uncertainty, and how that uncer- Rule (CATR) and the hazardous air pollut- drochloric acid (as a surrogate for the acid
tainty impacts future resource planning, in ants maximum achievable control technolo- gases), and PM (as a surrogate for the non-
a relatively short period of time. gy standards (HAPs MACT) under the CAA, mercury metals).
Under the coming rules, the critical the cooling water intake structure require- The proposed rule also calls for routine
uncertainties and trade-offs surrounding ments under the CWA, and the coal combus- equipment maintenance to ensure optimal
compliance planning will shift away from tion residuals- (ash-) handling requirements fuel combustion to reduce emissions of or-
second-guessing legislative efforts and po- under RCRA. The EPA has proposed these ganic air toxics and dioxins/furans. Affected
tential reliance on emission credit (allow- new rules under the existing laws but has sources will include all coal-fired units over
ance) markets. The EPA is developing a set yet to finalize them. The final CATR and 25 MW. The rule imposes emission standards
of new rules within the confines of existing HAPs MACT rules are due this year, in July at the plant level for each surrogate gas.
law and, in many cases, subject to court-or- and November, respectively, while the water Because the proposed MACT regulations
dered deadlines. That means that these rules intake and ash rules are not due until 2012. allow for plant averaging, owners will be re-
will be implemented, barring any moves by Three of the four proposed rules (excluding quired to decide if they need to control each
Congress to actively delay their implementa- CATR) require compliance at the plant level unit to meet the standard or retire some or all
tion (unlikely) or develop a legislative alter- if plants wish to continue operating. units at a plant. Plants will have three to four
native (even less likely). Air Rulemaking. The EPA introduced years from the publication date of the final
The role of allowance markets in the EPAs CATR as the replacement for the Clean Air rule to comply, depending on extensions that
compliance calculations will also be dimin- Interstate Rule, which the U.S. Court of Ap- may be granted by the states.
ished. With the exception of the new Clean peals (D.C. Circuit) remanded back to the Water Rulemaking. Section 316(b) of
Air Transport Rule, expect the EPA rulemak- agency in 2008 for reconsideration. Of the the CWA addresses withdrawals for cool-
ing over the next two years to focus on com- four rules noted above, CATR is the only pro- ing by point sources subject to the National
pliance requirements at the plant level, rather gram with an allowance-trading component. Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
than on broader regional or national cap-and- It will implement a cap-and-trade program (NPDES) program (see Cooling Water In-
trade mechanisms, as was the case with the to reduce emissions of SO2 and NOx in the take Structure Regulations, October 2008).
Acid Rain Program begun in 1995. As a re- eastern U.S. to help states meet and maintain The EPAs proposed rule under 316(b) will
sult, compliance uncertainties are shifting National Ambient Air Quality Standards for cover large existing thermal generating
away from allowance market economics and particulate matter (PM) and ozone. The EPA units (Phase II facilities, including coal-
legislative analysis toward the economic vi- plans to start the program in 2012 with two fired, nuclear, and other steam units) with

48 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011

Kiewit Power.
Our name says it all.
Kiewit Powers innovative team of constructors and
engineers offers clients a one-stop shop for all of their
integrated engineering, procurement, construction and
startup service needs. Were committed to our clients,
continuously working to exceed their expectations in
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9401 Renner Boulevard, Lenexa, KS 66219, (913) 928-7000 kiewit.com

TIC is a complete
power contractor.
With over 40,000 MW of installed capacity, TIC has been consistently ranked in Engineering
News-Record (ENR) as one of the top industrial contractors servicing the power industry
since 1996. Our ability to serve todays power producers as an EPC or general contractor
provides owners with the assurance that we have the skill, know-how and resources to
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(970) 879-2561

circle 34 on reader service card

May 2011 POWER www.powermag.com 49
flow design rates of 2 million gallons/day Compliance Costs Rise quire one or more of those controls to attain
or greater for the impingement part of the Aside from the newest units, nearly all coal- compliance.
standard and 125 million gallons per day for fired plants will need to make some level of Plants that must close their surface im-
entrainment. It also will require compliance investment to comply with all of the new rules, poundments under the new CCR rule will
investments at plants with once-through and most plants will require investments in incur several costs in transitioning to dry dis-
intake systems. Compliance with the new multiple types of controls, potentially includ- posal methods. Costs will include those asso-
regulation will be determined by the state ing water and ash-handling equipment. Some ciated with conversion to dry management of
and phased in over time as units come up types of controls will, however, provide com- bottom and fly ash, installation of additional
for new NPDES permits. pliance benefits across more than one rule. wastewater treatment facilities to offset the
Ash Rulemaking. Following the ash For those plants that must reduce emis- lost use of the surface impoundment, and
pond failure at Tennessee Valley Authoritys sions to comply with CATR, control options disposal of the coal ash in a landfill.
Kingston plant in 2008, the EPA released a will include wet or dry scrubbers and dry Compliance with the water intake rule
proposed rule in April 2010 for the disposal sorbent injection (DSI) for SO2, and selective could require technologies ranging from rel-
of coal combustion residuals (CCRs). CCRs catalytic reduction and selective noncatalytic atively low-cost options, such as wedgewire
include fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, and reduction, along with combustion controls, screens, low-flow caps and variable-speed
flue gas desulfurization materials (see New for NOx. Affected entities under CATR will pumps, to more capital-intensive options,
Federal Rules for Coal Ash Storage on the also be able to rely on allowance trading for including complete cooling tower installa-
Horizon, May 2009). In its proposal, the compliance, so controlling emissions will tions.
agency offered two potential regulatory ap- remain an option rather than a necessity in The magnitude of the capital investment
proaches: one under RCRA Subtitle C and most states. that the rules will require at a particular unit
another under Subtitle D. Both approaches The SO2 controls that might benefit a unit or plant will depend on its existing controls,
require that ash handling going forward be under CATR will also contribute to reduc- cooling water intake equipment, and ash-
converted from wet to dry handling. Regu- tions in acid gases to comply with the HAPs handling methods. The compliance cost will
lation under Subtitle C would require that MACT. The EPA, in its regulatory impact also be a function of the units size (due to
such waste be handled as hazardous, which analysis of the HAPs MACT (see Reducing economies of scale realized with control in-
would impact disposal costs for ash at all Toxic Air Emissions from Power Plants at stallations) and plant-specific considerations,
plants. Subtitle D would not treat the ash as http://1.usa.gov/fGHxEm), projected instal- including the availability of space to accom-
hazardous but would still effectively require lations of dry scrubbers and DSI systems modate air pollution control equipment and
that plants convert from wet to dry handling to control for acid gases. It also projected proximity to a landfill for CCR disposal.
and close existing ash ponds. A subset of fabric filter and activated carbon injection Figure 1 shows capital investment costs for
the Subtitle D approach, titled D prime, (ACI) systems to help control for mercury many of the controls and other equipment
would allow plants to keep their existing ash and the other surrogate pollutants. Depend- that plants may need to comply with the col-
ponds in place. The EPA will publish the fi- ing on their existing control configurations, lection of rules.
nal rule in 2012. most affected sources under the rule will re- For a unit with no existing controls that
requires the full suite of investments to com-
ply with all of the rules, total capital costs
1. Estimated investment requirements for a representative 300-MW could rise well above $1,000/kW. With new
unit. Costs are in 2010 dollars per kW of capacity. Sources: Flue gas desulfurization (FGD) combined-cycle units coming in at about that
system, fabric filter, dry sorbent injection, and activated carbon injection capital costs are
cost (see Updated Capital Cost Estimates
taken from the Environmental Protection Agencys Documentation Supplement for EPA
for Electricity Generation Plants at www
Base Case v.4.10_PTox Updates for Proposed Toxics Rule (2011), available at http://1.usa.
gov/dSXUuc. Cost estimates are based on Cost Estimates for the Mandatory Closure of .eia.doe.gov and search on updated capital
Surface Impoundments Used for the Management of Coal Combustion Byproducts at Coal- costs), and expectations of continuing low
fired Electric Utilities (2010), prepared by The EOP Group Inc. and available at http://1.usa. future natural gas prices, a company would
gov/ewpYFt. The analysis of the ash rule assumes disposal of roughly half of ash residuals in be hard-pressed to justify that level of in-
surface impoundments. The cost of installing cooling towers is based on the North American vestment, especially in units approaching 50
Electric Reliability Corp.s 2010 Special Reliability Assessment: Resource Adequacy Impacts years of age.
of Potential U.S. Environmental Regulations, available at http://bit.ly/dIfeUH. In most cases, however, the decision will
not be as obvious. Many units will have some
700 level of control or equipment already in place
or will be in compliance with one or more
rules. In those cases, the decision of whether
Capital cost (2009$/kW)

500 to comply or retire will come down to a num-

ber of factors, including whether the owner
400 is merchant or regulated, expectations of key
market drivers (including demand growth
300 and natural gas prices), and the potential for
200 regulation of carbon dioxide.

100 Rules Will Challenge Coal Fleet

Given the levels of compliance costs that
0 units may face under the new rules, the re-
Wet FGD Dry FGD Dry sorbet Activated Fabric Ash Water
injection carbon filter tirement of significant levels of coal capac-
injection ity may be a real possibility in the next five

50 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
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The Future of Coal
to 10 years. The North American Electric reduce acid gas emissions. Roughly two- This scenario looks at one possible com-
Reliability Corp. and other organizations thirds of that capacity, or 60 GW, also uses bination of compliance measures; there
completed assessments of the retirement once-through cooling and would require are many others. The actual measures that
potential prior to the release of the HAPs controls to comply with the water intake the EPAs regulations require will depend
MACT and water intake proposals based structure requirements. on the final rules and the technology op-
on assumptions about what the EPA would For a recent analysis, we examined one tions available to each unit or plant. For
require under those rules. Those estimates possible combination of controls that might example, the EPAs findings that DSI may
ranged from 10 GW to 66 GW (see 2010 be required at coal-fired units to assess the serve in the place of scrubbers will greatly
Special Reliability Assessment: Resource capacity at-risk and estimate unit retire- reduce compliance costs for some units,
Adequacy Impacts of Potential U.S. En- ments. ICF International (ICF) assumed that making it more economic to control rather
vironmental Regulations at http://bit.ly/ coal-fired units would require the following than retire them.
dIfeUH), or up to roughly one-fifth of cur- to be in compliance by 2015: Based on the compliance scenario and
rent coal-fired capacity. capital cost estimates described above, we
The range of projected retirements cor- A scrubber (dry or wet), fabric filter, and assigned compliance requirements for the
relates well with the capacity of U.S. coal ACI on units over 25 MW will be required Toxics, CCR, and water intake rules to ev-
units that one might classify as at-risk based to meet the Toxics Rule. ery U.S. coal-fired unit using a two-step ap-
on current configurations and compliance A cooling tower for units drawing from proach. First, we developed an inventory of
costs estimates. By 2015, two-thirds of coal coastal and estuarine water bodies (affect- units within each coal-fired plant and com-
units, equivalent to 54% (174 GW) of coal- ing 13 GW of capacity) or a package of pared the existing control status of each to the
fired capacity, will be at least 40 years old. lower-cost alternative compliance controls assumed regulatory requirements. Next, for
Those units average roughly 200 MW. Just for other units will be required to meet the units not in compliance with one or more of
over 50% of those units are controlled with water intake structure rule on units using the rules, we determined the controls needed
a scrubber, leaving nearly 90 GW of capac- once-through cooling and drawing more and the associated investment costs required
ity that is at least 40 years old and without than 50 million gallons per day. for units to comply with the expected rules.
flue gas desulfurization equipment. These Units must convert to dry handling of fly Figure 2 shows the distribution of these capi-
units are most at-risk from the Toxics Rule, and bottom ash and install wastewater tal cost estimates to each generation plant as
which will require some sort of control to treatment facilities, as necessary. a function of average unit age in 2015 and by
plant rating.
The capital cost of compliance is an in-
2. Coal-fired generating plant potential regulatory compliance cost. For dicator of units likely to retire. However,
the purposes of this analysis, the high category represents facilities facing new capital cost
investment exceeding $750/kW, averaged over the coal capacity at the plant. The low cat-
power market conditionsincluding mar-
egory captures facilities facing new investment under $200/kW, and the medium category ket prices and the availability of generating
captures remaining facilities. The age and relatively small size of the plants likely to incur the and capacity resources and transmission to
highest costs are evident in the chart, as most of those facilities are grouped in the upper left. replace retired capacitywill also affect
Source: ICF International invest or retire decisions. These market
factors, along with the specific market regu-
Low cost (<$200/kW) Medium cost ($200/kW to $750/kW) High cost (>$750/kW) latory structure in effect, may force units in
the high-cost category to be equally at-risk in
90 one region while high-investment units face
little risk in other regions.
Analysis Details
ICFs Integrated Planning Model was used to
70 project coal unit retirements across the U.S.
Average unit age at plant (years)

based on the control requirement scenario

60 and regional market conditions discussed
above. We also assumed that units that chose
to retire would have through 2017 to com-
ply, allowing for some delays beyond the
mandated 2015/2016 timeframe to account
40 for regulatory relief, granted either on a case-
by-case basis by the EPA or through congres-
sional action.
For this analysis, we also assumed that
fossil-fired units would face a charge on their
20 CO2 emissions starting in 2018 at $15/ton
CO2 and growing at 5% per year in real terms
10 to reflect the possibility of future greenhouse
gas (GHG) legislation.
Under these conditions, and taking into
0 account projected coal and gas prices and
0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000
costs of new capacity, we project that 51
Plant capacity (MW) GW of coal capacity would retire in re-

52 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
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The Future of Coal

sponse to the combined rules and a GHG
program assumed to be in place by 2018.
The average age of those plants identified
for retirement will be 53 years in 2015;
they average 150 MW; and over 60% of
those units do not have flue gas desul-

Use your energy twice

furization systems installed. This group
makes up the high-cost category (Figure
2), consistent with the at-risk population
discussed earlier.
However, there is not perfect overlap be-
tween the projected retirements and the at-
risk groupings. Of the retirements that ICF
projected, about 14 GW were units younger
than 40 years by 2015, and 18 GW were
larger than 200 MW. In addition, about 20
GW of the capacity was already equipped
with scrubbers. These exceptions to the rule
point to the importance of market factors in
evaluating unit retirement decisions.
The decision factors also point to the
importance of assumptions about the effec-
tiveness of control technologies, regulatory
requirements, and future market dynamics,
including natural gas prices. To the extent that
compliance costs related to ash and water are
lower than assumed here, or that the charge
on CO2 does not materialize, for example,
even some of the units with the highest as-
sumed control costs may install controls and
continue to operate.
The Toxics Rule is the single largest con-
tributor to assumed compliance costs for
Hi, Im Clint and I have been taking care of my customers in the Carolinas for most of the at-risk units and therefore is a key
over 6 years. Energy recovery has really come to the forefront in recent years. driver of the retirement results. However, the
At Atlas Copco, we have invested heavily in technology that allows our
other rules also contribute substantial costs
customers to basically use their energy twice.
for many units, so retirement decisions must
Switching your compressor into an energy source sounds too good to be true, be considered holistically, not each time a
right? Well, with the Atlas Copco ZR range of air compressors, thats reality. The new rule goes into effect.
electrical input power for producing compressed air can be recovered in the Beyond the five rules (the four rules dis-
form of hot water and used for many industrial applications, space heating and cussed earlier plus GHG regulation) con-
sanitary purposes. Our impressive energy recovery technology and the proven sidered here, plant owners will also have to
reliability of the ZR range helps to protect both your bottom line and your plant.
account for other future drivers of each units
Our mission is to continue to profitability. The basic calculation that own-
bring sustainable productivity ers of coal assetsand, in many cases, their
through safer, cleaner, more regulatorsneed to make is this: What con-
energy-efficient, and trols do I need to install to bring my plants
cost-effective compressed air into compliance, how much is that compli-
technology. Simply log onto ance going to cost, and is that investment
www.atlascopco.us/clintusa justified based on estimated future revenue
or call 866-688-9611 to learn
from the power (and, if applicable, capac-
more about us, our products,
and how we have earned and ity and ancillary services) markets? Com-
will continue to earn our reputation. pounding the decision-making difficulty
are projections of natural gas prices, load
growth, and future of CO2 regulation. Taken
together, these factors will dominate and
drive resource planning and capital invest-
ment decisionsnow for each unit at each
plantfor many years to come.
Chris MacCracken (cmaccracken@
icfi.com) is a principal and Steve Fine
(sfine@icfi.com) is a vice president for
Copyright 2011 Atlas Copco Compressors LLC. All rights reserved.
ICF International.
circle 37 on reader service card
54 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011

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Predicting U.S. Coal Plant
The question concerning coal plant retirements forced by looming regulato-
ry rules, low gas prices, and moribund load growth has changed from
Why? to How many plants? Many highly detailed analyses and re-
ports have been written on the subject by superbly qualified analysts. This
approach to estimating potential plant closures is much more qualitative,
and much easier to understand. However, the results closely align: About
50 GW are threatened.
By Dr. Robert Peltier, PE

ew subjects elicit such a visceral re- any new, more-stringent rule. This lead-lag prices, projected to continue for some time,
sponse from members of the U.S. pow- approach to regulating the industry is fitting have further eroded the economic value of
er industry as the forced retirement of when the cost of compliance is reasonably older coal plants. This confluence of mul-
coal-fired power plants. For the first half of well understood and the benefits are well tiple, expensive upgrades and the cost of
the last century, commissioning of a new coal defined. This was the case for the rules to re- maintaining poorly performing assets will
plant was considered an economic bonanza move SO2 and NOx from plants stack gases, undoubtedly force utility executives to make
for the local economy, heralding an increase for example. Massive quantities of those and tough choicesoften between mothballing,
in the regional standard of living through other emissions have been successfully cap- retiring, or repoweringin order to focus
electrification and steady, good-paying jobs. tured over the past two decades at reasonable investment on baseload-quality coal-fired
Jobs and electricity trumped most environ- cost to ratepayers. plants that have decades of life remaining.
mental issues, not by design but by circum- Future scenarios will be different. Remov- The discussion of coal plant retirements
stance. The second half of the 20th century ing additional pollutants will be significantly is rapidly reaching a crescendo, and it seems
saw the struggle to balance environmental more challenging because the technology that EPA officials are listening to industry
stewardship with power plant development. required is much more expensivebecause concerns, although Im not sure they are
Since the formation of the Environmental the chemicals are tougher to remove and their hearing. At the annual winter meeting of the
Protection Agency (EPA) in late 1970, pol- amounts are minute. You might say all the National Association of Regulatory Utility
luting discharges have steadily decreased to low-hanging fruit has been picked; now we Commissioners (NARUC) in February, EPA
the point that todays air and water cleanli- have to bring in the ladders and lifts. Assistant Administrator for Air and Radia-
ness is unmatched since before the start of The other challenge is the number of new tion Gina McCarthy tried to soothe industry
the industrial revolution. However, reduc- technologies that the industry is being asked fears of forced coal plant closures with care-
ing the environmental impact of generating to develop and deploy simultaneously in re- fully chosen words when speaking about the
electricity was seldom voluntary. Industry sponse to proposed new rules: the upcoming just-released utility hazardous air pollutants
compliance usually was forced by legisla- Clean Air Transport Rule (replacing the de- (HAP) rule: I think we are not seeing any-
tive imperatives. Once a legislative goal was funct Clean Air Interstate Rule), the Utility where near the types of retirements that have
set, technology to meet the new rules quickly MACT rule, the wet ash classification rule, been projected for worst-case scenarios. In-
followeda process that continues today. and the Clean Water Act Section 316(b) stead, McCarthy said, the EPA is working to
Nevertheless, many utilities still firmly resist upgrades that may force plants using once- ensure that the HAP and other rules that will
basic environmental upgrades, such as flue through cooling to upgrade to cooling tow- control criteria pollutants are harmonized
gas desulfurization (FGD) and selective cata- ers. These rules, plus others, such as potential so that utilities can use scrubbers to comply
lytic reduction (SCR). That fight is futile and rules covering carbon dioxide (CO2) emis- with all of the new air regulations.
will only delay the inevitable. sions, are packed end-to-end in the EPAs McCarthy also made a promise to coal-
Today, the question has evolved into How regulatory queue with no end in sight. fired generators: [The Utility MACT rule]
much regulation is enough? Given that the is going to be creating standards, but those
technology for economic upgrades is reason- Some Plants Threatened standards are very sensitive to the different
ably well defined (scrubbers, SCRs, low-NOx Given the significant and myriad capital types of technology that are out there in the
burners, fabric filters, and the like) and that investments required to complete these up- fleet and in the diversity of the fleet.
upgrades are steadily progressing across the grades in coming years, plants with poor effi- The regulatory approach described by
nations fleet of coal-fired plants, there must ciency, old plants with limited remaining life, McCarthy is laudable and highly desired by
be a balance between costs and benefits. One plants that are relatively small, plants with power generators. However, its not worst-
might describe this as the regulatory finish few environmental upgrades, and/or plants case scenarios that are troubling but rather
line. But thats not the case. that operate with very low capacity factors the expected case discussed here (and in
The industry has taught regulators that may be forced to close. ICF Internationals companion article, p.
technological solutions will inevitably follow An added complication: Low natural gas 48).

56 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
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Also noticeably missing from McCarthys on historic generation and historic CO2 emis- tion with the closure of 48 coal plants as a sign
comments was any mention of the added un- sions, then older plants would add economic that coal is a fuel of the past. In contrast, I listed
certainty about other environmental invest- value to a company beyond their ability to pro- 91 recent or projected coal plant closures from
ment issues, such as 316(b) upgrades, wet ash duce electricity. But with the carbon market 2009 to 2015. However, the average age of those
disposal classification, greenhouse gas rules, option off the legislative table, another reason closed plants was 55.1 years, the average plant
National Ambient Air Quality Standards for to keep these plants disappears. The question nameplate was 98.4 MW, and the shutdowns
CO2, and so on. Perhaps a scrubber and SCR today is no longer if plants are to be retired represented only 2.65% of nationwide installed
can handle NOx, SO2, mercury, ozone, and but rather How many, and when? coal-fired capacity. Though the percentage of
HAP pollutants related to the Transport Rule installed nameplate capacity is very small, the
and Utility MACT, but McCarthy completely Estimating Plant Retirements actual MWh lost to the grid are a fraction of 1%,
misses the bigger picture. Several estimates of coal plant retirements as you will soon see. Which is the more descrip-
Bill Johnson, chairman, president, and have been published in recent months. For tive metric? My conclusion is that these closures
CEO of Progress Energyand the next CEO example, The Brattle Groups report, Poten- are just business as usual rather than the seismic
of Duke Energy, assuming the two companies tial Coal Plant Retirements under Emerging shift in fuels used for power generation, as the
merger is approveddid not. Johnson told the Environmental Regulations was released Sierra Club release would suggest.
NARUC audience that the industry has legiti- last December. It predicted 50 GW to 65 My approach to estimating future coal
mate concerns about the number of pending GW will retire or will be at risk by 2020, plant closures is to examine existing coal-
EPA regulations. From my vantage point, the based on The Brattle Groups set of assump- fired plant performance metrics and then
electric utility industry faces a daunting con- tions. In January, ICF International released make a qualitative assessment of those plants
vergence of new federal rules and aggressive its Integrated Energy Outlook covering the that are at risk. The data source used for this
deadlines coming at us from multiple fronts, fourth quarter of 2010. In it, ICF projected analysis is a comprehensive database of the
Johnson said. My view is over the last couple that nearly one-fifth of the U.S. coal fleet physical and performance characteristics of
of years weve had a lot more regulation in a could retire in response to new air, waste, all U.S. coal-fired power plants created by
much tighter timeframe and a lot higher costs and water regulations over the next 10 years. Burns & McDonnell and made available to
than weve had over the past 20 years. One-fifth of total installed coal-fired capacity POWER for this report. I selected, ran, and
Johnson also noted that complying with in the U.S. is about 68 GW. ICF Internation- checked each of the database queries inde-
all the pending regulations could cost utilities als most likely scenario suggests 53 GW of pendently, with no outside influence, so if
$245 billion to $329 billion by 2020, citing closures over the next decade, representing you dont like the information presented,
recent reports by the Edison Electric Institute about 40% of all coal-fired plants (p. 48). blame me, not Burns & McDonnell.
and ICF International. To put it in context, 40% Less Coal Plant Capacity and The analysis followed a three-step process:
the electric sector today has an asset base of Dozens of Coal Plants Closed are atten-
about $800 billion, so you can see these are tion-getting headlines. However, closer in- Characterize the fleet. This step exam-
large numbers and they will have an impact spection of the data leads to a much different ined the fuels used, boiler manufacturers,
on [retail rates], Johnson said. conclusion. In my opinion, better metrics for boiler types, and other key plant data. This
quantifying the impact of retirements are a information is useful in light of the earlier
A New Basis for Determining plants recent capacity factor or the percent discussion, especially considering pending
Viability of megawatt-hours not sent to the grid. wet ash classification and cooling water
That, in a nutshell, is todays regulatory de- For example, in my February Speaking of intake rules. This industry-characterizing
bate. The industrys concerns about forced Power column, I pointed out that a recent press data is difficult to obtain, so its presented
retirements are valid because the regulatory release from the Sierra Club expressed satisfac- here for your use.
milieu is rapidly increasing in complexity and
requiring response in shortened timespans. 1. Coal fleet age distribution. Each of the 1,105 individual coal-fired units was placed
Mix in the backlash by a House trying to de- into a five-year age category. For example, the category 5 represents plants that are 5 years
fund the EPA and put a stop to carbon controls, old or less. The category 10 represents plants that are more than 5 and less than or equal to
a burgeoning number of lawsuits pending and 10 years old. According to the database, one 10-MW unit built in 1925 is still on active duty.
Source: POWER and Burns & McDonnell
expected to be filed related to each new rule,
and the poor track record of EPA rules pass- 250
ing judicial scrutiny (remember CAIR and
CAMR?). From a utility perspective, the regu-
latory waters are murkier than ever. 200 191
When uncertainty reigns, companies usu-
ally react conservatively. In this case, the
Number of plants

conservative utility approach will be to retire 150
the less-economic coal plants, make a move 126
116 112 114
toward using more natural gas (with new, refu-
eled, or repowered units), and declare victory. 100 87
In past years there were potential eco-
nomic advantages for many utilities to keep 57 50
old soldiers operating even in the face of 50
poor operating economics. Were legislation 23
7 5 11
passed to manage CO2 emissions by way of 2 0 1
a market that trades allowances, and if carbon 0
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85
allowance were, as planned, distributed based Plant age bin (years)

58 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
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Determine fleet baseline performance. years. The MW-weighted age tells us that performance of the current fleet of coal-fired
Baseline performance data is presented for the average size of new power plants has plants. The first is the average size of plants
key performance metrics, including plant been increasing over the past few decades. constructed over time (Figure 7). Interesting-
age, heat rate, and capacity factor. For The capacity factorweighted age tells us ly, the glory days for building very large cen-
ease of presentation, plants were grouped that the capacity factor of newer plants is, tral station plants was the 1960s, especially
into five-year age bins. on average, higher. No matter how you cut for those first supercritical plants, ranging up
Develop reasonable predictions. Using the the numbers, the fleet continues to age to 1,300 MW.
baseline performance as a starting point, I although we shouldnt mistake age alone Given that these large plants remain vital
analyzed dozens of alternative plant con- as representative of the economic life of a baseload resources, its no wonder that the
figurations and historic performance. One power plant. capacity factorweighted age of the fleet is
particular database query seems to present The database includes many useful met- 40 years. Although the number of plants con-
good information for estimating potential rics that describe interesting characteristics structed and placed into operation over the
plant closures. of the fleet, including type of coal used (Fig- past 10 years has fallen short of predictions,
ure 2), boiler manufacturer (Figure 3), and their average nameplate rating increased sig-
Characterize the Fleet boiler type (Figure 4). nificantly.
The U.S. coal-fired fleet consists of 1,105 As discussed earlier, classification of com- The average capacity factor illustrates that
units with a nameplate capacity of 342.733 bustion byproducts is currently under intense plants under 40 years old are the backbone
GW, according to the Burns & McDonnell review by the EPA, and new cooling water of the baseload fleet; as a plant hits about the
database. Because plant age is often cited as intake structure rules were proposed in late 50-year milestone, operation appears to shift
a reason for retirement, its useful to examine March. We can also characterize the number to more load-following or cycling operation,
the fleets age. Figure 1 illustrates the age of of units that these two rules may impact (Fig- as suggested by decreasing capacity factors
each unit in the database, calculated as the ures 5 and 6) by examining metrics that Ill (Figure 8). For comparison, the overall av-
difference between 2011 and the year it be- return to later. erage fleet capacity factor is approximately
gan commercial operation. 62%. However, 455 plants (not including
The average age of all units is 42.5 years, Determine Fleet Baseline recently commissioned ones, for which ca-
the MW-weighted age is 37.1 years, and Performance pacity factor information was not available)
the capacity factorweighted age is 40.0 Three metrics were selected to describe the reported an annual capacity factor of 70% or
The average size of plants over 40 years
2. Coal fleet fuel use. Over 86% of the 3. Coal fleet boiler manufacturers. of age is 400 MW. Average plant heat rate,
coal fleet burns either a bituminous or a sub- Source: POWER and Burns & McDonnell
as expected, generally improved in recent
bituminous fuel. Source: POWER and Burns
& McDonnell years (Figure 9). Plant heat rate is difficult
Riley/Babcock to determine for some plants, so the Burns &
Lignite 3% Power 9% McDonnell database does have a few plant
heat rate gaps (81% of the plants reported).
Other Nevertheless, the trends and averages pre-
12% Other sented here remain instructive.
CE/Alstom 39% Develop Predictions
Bituminous 56% Foster Wheeler Predictions must be scenario-based, given
115% the current regulatory uncertainty. That
means that unit-based decisions using spe-
Babcock & Wilcox
30% cific company economic modeling, indepen-
dent system operator dispatching decisions,
and other regional grid issues are ignored,

4. Coal fleet boiler design. Source: 5.Coal fleet bottom ash handling. 6. Coal fleet cooling water source.
POWER and Burns & McDonnell Source: POWER and Burns & McDonnell Source: POWER and Burns & McDonnell

Vert-ceiling 2%
Fluid bed 3% Once-through, salt 3%
Tower, natural 6%
Unknown 6%
Wet 11% induced
Cyclone 7%
Other or
unknown 11%
Other 7% T-fired 37% Pond or Once-through,
canal 10% fresh 44%

Opposed 19% Tower, forced

Dry 78%
Front 20% Other

60 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
circle 41 on reader service card
in contrast with the ICF International analy-
7. Coal fleet average unit nameplate rating. The average unit rating is calculated by aver- sis. Instead, this database is used more as a
aging the rating all of the units within each age category. Source: POWER and Burns & McDonnell
simple tool for sorting groups of plants that
600 appear to be vulnerable to closure.
Coal fleet average unit nameplate rating (MW)

521 518 For example, of the 1,105 units que-

500 ried, 846 do not have an SCR system, 619
units do not have FGD, and 578 units have
400 neither SCR nor FGD (nor have they an-
nounced plans to add either). Its reason-
326 326 able to conclude that some subsets of those
300 578 units, at a minimum, are candidates
230 for retirement.
200 173 Drilling down further into the subset of
124 plants without air quality control systems
100 76
(AQCS) reveals additional age-related in-
57 formation (Table 1). The average capac-
0 6 ity factor for this dataset is 57% and the
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 average year the plants were built is 1962.
Unit age (years) Compare that with the entire database (with
a 62% average capacity factor and 1969
8. Coal fleet average capacity factor. The average unit capacity factor is calculated as the average year built) and to the plants
by averaging the reported capacity factor of all the units within each age category. Many of the with both SCR and FGD (with a 67% aver-
units in the five years or less category do not have data available. A 75% capacity factor was
age capacity factor and 1979 as the average
estimated. In all categories, if capacity factor data was not available, that unit was omitted from
the average. Source: POWER and Burns & McDonnell
year built) and its clear that units without
any AQCS are, on average, operating less
90 and are much older than those with the lat-
est AQCS equipment. A regional analysis
80 77.3
75 est. 74.6 73.3 71.9
would reveal more interesting information,
72.7 72.1
but space constraints prevent pursuing that
Coal fleet average capacity factor (%)

70 67.3
61.8 61.8
level of detail.
60 57.2 Another way of slicing and dicing the
data is to use capacity factor as the indepen-
50 dent variable (Table 2). This query reveals
a group of units that may be considered se-
40 rious candidates for closure in the coming
31.8 years. Will these unitsall without SCR
23.3 and FGD, with lower capacity factors, with
20 19.1 18.0 relatively low nameplate ratings, and well
over 50 years oldbe serious candidates
10 for significant future capital investment?
0 A few may be retrofitted, fuel-switched, or
0 even repowered in the future, but certainly
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85
Unit age (years) not all 305 units.
As an aside, only 24 units among this
9. Coal fleet average heat rate. The average unit heat rate is calculated by averaging the group of 305 have a wet ash system (out of
reported heat rate of all the units within each age category. Heat rate data for only a single unit was a total of 120 units fleetwide). The database
available in the five years or less category. In the remainder of the categories, if heat rate data was found 41 units overall (10 GW total) with
not available, then that unit was omitted from the average. Source: POWER and Burns & McDonnell wet ash systems but no AQCS systems. The
16,000 fleetwide data shows 120 units with wet
bottom ash systems, representing 39.9 GW,
Coal fleet average heat rate (Btu/kWh)

14,000 13,401 332 MW average plant size, and an average

12,000 11,851 capacity factor of 61%.
10,799 11,113 The average capacity factor of this non-
10,300 9,907 10,031 10,277 10,380 10,539 10,177 10,291 10,465
10,000 9,178 AQCS subset of plants listed in Table 1 was
just 55%. More interesting are the 226 units
of the 589 listed in Table 2 that use once-
6,000 through cooling and that could be subject
to review under the proposed new cooling
water intake structure rules.
0 0
You Make the Call
0 The database was thoroughly exercised
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85
Unit age (years) with numerous queries using different

62 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
However, given the large capital invest-
Table 1. Coal-fired power plants without air quality control systems, ment required for upgrades, existing low
sorted by year built. Source: POWER
capacity factors, facility age, an unstable
regulatory environment, low natural gas
Year built Number of units without SCR and FGD Nameplate rating (GW) Average capacity factor
prices, surplus combined-cycle capacity,
Since 1970 131 42.8 72% and shallow load growth, its easy to con-
Before 1970 441 21.4 52% clude that the plants listed in Table 2 with
Before 1960 305 14.2 50% less than a 50% capacity factor could be
strong candidates for retirement within the
Before 1950 44 2.8 27%
next decade.
Notes: FGD = flue gas desulfurization, SCR = selective catalytic reduction. Even if the cutoff is set at plants with
a capacity factor of 60% or less, the gen-
Table 2. Coal-fired power plants without air quality control systems, eration lost (11.9%) represents only about
sorted by capacity factor. Source: POWER 5.8% of our current annual electricity de-
mand. In a macro sense, there is sufficient
Number of Average Total Average Average GW lost surplus natural gasfired capacity to com-
Capacity units without nameplate nameplate year heat rate by closure GWh pensate for that loss.
factor SCR and FGC rating (MW) rating (GW) built (Btu/kWh) (%) lost (%) If Washington dangles the fuel-switch
60% 305 145.0 48.2 1958 11,239 14.1 11.9 carrot (via tax credits, grants, and the
50% 167 123.0 20.5 1956 11,626 6.0 4.2 like), then a few of these borderline plants
become candidates for replacement or re-
40% 85 83.0 7.0 1952 12,202 2.0 1.1
powering. Given that scenario, a loss of 50
30% 51 70.9 3.7 1947 12,951 1.1 0.4 GW of coal-fired capacity over the next
decade is a very reasonable prediction.
performance metrics and equipment con- The analysis performed used plant averag- Dr. Robert Peltier, PE is POWERs edi-
figurations. When the dust settled, Table 2 es even though no plant is average. Each unit tor-in-chief. Grant Grothen, PE (ggrothen@
appears to present a reasonable prediction at each plant is unique in its design, and plant burnsmcd.com), a principal for Burns &
of the possible range of coal-fired plant owners have their own specific economic McDonnell, provided valuable assistance
closures over the next decade. evaluations and decision-making processes. and database information.

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POWER May 2011
via Robecco, 20 DK - 2820 Gentofte.Denmark
Tel. +39 02 972091 jaegersborg Alle 164
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Coal-Fired Generation Cost and
Performance Trends
Increasing regulatory requirements and a focus on reducing carbon emissions
in the U.S. have significantly reduced the number of new coal-fired plants
under development compared with past years. In addition, projected cap-
ital costs for new coal-fired plants have risen sharply in the past year,
while those for natural gas combined-cycle and combustion turbines have
stayed relatively flat. In order to keep coal a viable energy source, many
countries, including the U.S., are seeking ways to improve plant efficiency
while reducing carbon emissions.
By Dale Probasco and Bob Ruhlman, Navigant

oal-fired generation, both existing the end of 2009, the last full year for which pressures greater than 3,208 psi and steam
and proposed, is under heavy pres- EIA data is available. These units are gener- temperatures greater than 1,100F.
sure to clean up its act if it wants ally conventional pulverized coal (PC) plants
to remain a viable fuel for power genera- based on either subcritical (80% of the units) Currently, no USC units are operating in
tion. The latest U.S. Energy Information or supercritical (20%) boiler technology. the U.S.; however, American Electric Power
Association (EIA) predictions of U.S. In general, three conventional boiler is building a 600-MW USC unit, scheduled
electricity generation estimate that the technologies are now available for new for completion in late 2012, at the Turk site in
percentage of U.S. electricity generated by construction: Arkansas. (See Designing an Ultrasupercrit-
the combustion of coal will decline by 2%, ical Steam Turbine, in the July 2009 issue or
from 45% to 43%, between 2009 and 2035 Subcritical steam generators operate in the archives at www.powermag.com.)
(Figure 1). at steam pressure less than the criti-
The EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2011 cal point of water3,208 pounds per Follow the Data
(AEO) reference case estimates that 21 GW square inch (psi). The data source for our analysis of exist-
(supplied by approximately 30 to 35 new Conventional supercritical steam genera- ing coal-fired plant cost and performance
units) will be added during this roughly 25- tors operate with steam pressure greater trends is Navigants proprietary Genera-
year period and that coal will remain the than 3,208 psi and steam temperatures tion Knowledge Service, or GKS Fossil
dominant energy source in the absence of any generally in the 1,000F to 1,050F range. database. Data from 459 coal units total-
federally mandated policy to reduce carbon Ultrasupercritical (USC) steam genera- ing 165 GW of capacity was studied for
emissions. Many industry observers consider tors, the latest generation of advanced su- the period 20052009. Non-fuel opera-
this a best-case scenario, as the continued percritical design units, operate at steam tions and maintenance (NFOM) cost data
uncertainty over future emission regulations
continues to dampen interest in committing 1. Electricity generation by fuel, 19902035. Data is shown as net electricity gen-
to new coal-fired generation projects. eration. Sources: Historical data from EIA, Annual Energy Review 2009; projections from Na-
The AEO 2011 reference case also sees a tional Energy Modeling System, run REF 2011, D120810C
heavy reliance on the existing coal-fired fleet
to meet the nations electricity demand in History Projections
future years. Undoubtedly, where possible,
plant owners will continue making invest- 5
ments to improve the operating efficiency of
the existing fleet. A pleasant side benefit of 4 Coal 43%
improved plant efficiency is a reduction in
Trillion kWh/yr

carbon dioxide emissions. However, as new
generation comes online to meet the predict- 3
ed increase in electricity demand, less-effi- Renewables 14%
cient older units that cannot be economically 2 10%
modified to meet more stringent emission 23%
Natural gas
requirements will likely be retired.
20% Nuclear 17%
The Existing Coal-Fired Fleet Oil and other liquids
The current portfolio of coal-fired generation 1% 1%
in the U.S. was a shade over 338 GW of in- 1990 2000 2009 2020 2035
stalled nameplate capacity for 1,436 units at Year

66 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
includes both expense and replacement units to run with lower availabilities than percritical technology is shown in Table 2.
capital. All data is subjected to a rigorous large subcritical ones, as asset owners tend Despite a small sample size, the data in
validation process to ensure data quality to direct a larger portion of their financial Table 2 provides a relative indication of re-
and comparability. resources to the more-efficient, higher- cent capital construction costs for both types
The database results are based on two im- capacity-factor units. Though supercritical of units. For new-build units, the capital
portant assumptions. First, all calculations units tend to have slightly higher planned cost estimates provided in November 2010
are generation-weighted values (MWh, for outage factors than large subcritical units, by the EIA (based on estimates developed
example), not nameplate-weighted (MW). the major difference in availability is the for it by external consultant R.W. Beck) are
Also, plant efficiency over a defined pe- higher forced outage rates experienced by useful for showing the level to which costs
riod is based on the quotient of net gen- supercritical units. are escalating, especially compared with
eration converted (in Btu) and total fuel The major advantage of supercritical alternatives such as gas-fired generation.
consumed ,using the higher heating value units is their higher cycle efficiencies. Table 3 shows the EIA cost estimates for
(HHV) of the fuel, as is the convention Table 1 also shows that supercritical unit both single-unit and dual-unit advanced PC
in the U.S. Some countries use the lower efficiency is nearly 1.5% higher than that units, with and without carbon capture and
heating value of the fuel to calculate plant of large subcritical units and more than sequestration (CCS), as well as an advanced
thermal efficiency, which results in a high- 2% higher than that of small subcritical natural gas combined-cycle (NGCC) unit
er value than when using the HHV. (See units. Because the efficiency calculations for comparison.
Plant Efficiency: Begin with the Right used by the database are based on oper-
Definitions, February 2010.) ating efficiency rather than performance
We begin our evaluation of cost and per- test efficiency, the impact of start-ups and 2. Existing coal-fired fleet perfor-
formance data for the existing PC fleet by shutdowns, load following, and the like, mance trends, 20052009. Source:
first segmenting the large number of sub- are automatically factored into the data, Navigant
critical plants in the fleet into two groups which will appear as lower-than-expected
Small subcritical Large subcritical
based on nameplate capacity. Later in this design or baseload-type operation.
article, we will use these data groupings, The impact of the general economic ma- Supercritical
plus the existing supercritical data, as a laise over the past three years and increased
starting point for predicting future cost and reliance on gas-fired generation appears
performance trends. The three plant data as a downward trend in capacity factor.
groupings used in this analysis are small These effects also compound to produce a 12

NFOM ($/MWh)
subcritical PC units less than 500 MW, large net drop in average coal-fired plant operat- 10
subcritical PC units equal to or greater than ing efficiency over the same period (Fig- 8
500 MW, and supercritical PC units equal to ure 2). The net drop in average efficiency 6
or greater than 500 MW. is greatest for supercritical units (0.7%), 4
As shown in Table 1, both the large sub- followed by large subcritical units (0.2%) 2
critical and large supercritical units enjoy and small subcritical units (0.4%). This 0.0
a significant NFOM cost advantage over suggests that it may be more difficult for 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
small subcritical units, due primarily to the supercritical units to adapt to running at Non-fuel operation and maintenance trends
size advantages and higher capacity factors lower capacity factors than for subcritical
Equivalent availability factor (%)

the larger plants enjoy. NFOM costs for su- units. This is an important point: The main 89
percritical units are on average about $0.90/ advantage supercritical units have is their
MWh, or 12.8%, higher than for large sub- higher cycle efficiencies that more than
critical units. balance out higher NFOM costs and lower 87
Availability factors are also higher for operating availability compared with large 86
both sizes of subcritical units than for subcritical units.
supercritical units; large subcritical units 85
boast the highest availability numbers. Rising Capital Construction Costs 84
Availability for supercritical units is more Capital costs for coal-fired generation are ris-
than 2% lower than for large subcritical ing sharply. A review of recently completed 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
units. It is not unusual for small subcritical projects employing both subcritical and su-
Availability trends

Table 1. Comparison of existing coal-fired technology performance
metrics, using five-year average data (20052009). Plant efficiency is calculated 35.5
using net generation divided by actual fuel consumed, thereby including the effects of plant 35.0
Efficiency (HHV), %

cycling and load following. Source: Navigant


Number Total nameplate NFOM Plant thermal 34.0

Technology of units capacity (MW) ($/MWh) EAF (%) efficiency % (HHV) 33.5
Small subcritical (<500 MW) 308 58,552 11.1 85.5 32.5 33.0
Large subcritical (500 MW) 75 46,590 7.0 86.4 33.3 32.5
Supercritical (500 MW) 76 60,118 7.9 84.1 34.7 32.0
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Notes: EAF = equivalent availability factor, HHV = higher heating value, NFOM= non-fuel operation and maintenance. Efficiency trends

May 2011 POWER www.powermag.com 67
Advanced PC technology consists of a No estimates for subcritical boiler design the huge auxiliary load increases) and in-
conventional supercritical boiler operating were provided by the EIA. Although CCS stalled cost (+61%).
at 3,700 psi and 1,050F steam conditions technology is not specifically discussed in Estimates for the single-unit advanced
at the turbine inlet, single reheat, cooling this article, it is important to note that es- PC option are nearly double the average cost
tower, selective catalytic reduction, bag- timates with the CCS option demonstrate (shown in Table 2) for recently completed
house, and wet flue gas desulfurization (all how adding CCS impacts performance units ($3,167 vs. $1,679) and over three times
advanced air quality control technologies). (+36% increase in heat rate, reflecting the cost of advanced NGCC units ($3,167 vs.
$1,003). Even more startling is the percent-
Table 2. The installed cost for several recently completed coal-fired age change from the EIAs previous years re-
plants in the U.S. Source: Navigant port: The cost of the coal option increased by
25% while the gas option rose by a meager
Nominal capacity Approximate total 1%. According to the EIA, the updated costs
Technology Project (MW) Year completed cost ($/kW) for coal and nuclear power plants are 25% to
Subcritical JK Spruce 750 2010 1,333 37% above those in AEO 2010. The higher
cost estimates reflect many factors, including
Plum Point 720 2010 1,388
the overall trend of rising costs for capital-
Subcritical average cost 1,361 intensive technology in the power sector,
Conventional Comanche 750 2010 1,733 higher global commodity prices, and the
supercritical Iatan 850 2010 1,470 fact that there are relatively few construction
firms with the ability to complete complex
Oak Creek 1,230 2011 1,935
engineering projects such as a new nuclear or
Trimble County 750 2011 1,579 advanced coal power plant.
Supercritical average cost 1,679 With costs for coal-fired units escalat-
ing at such a sharp rate, lower projected
fuel costs for new natural gas plants, and
Table 3. Estimates of new coal-fired plant construction costs show that continued regulatory uncertainty regarding
costs will continue to rise. Source: Updated Capital Cost Estimates for Electricity Gen- carbon emissions, the economic advantage
eration Plant, Energy Information Administration, Office of Energy Analysis, November 2010 historically enjoyed by coal is vanishing
quickly. This is one of the key reasons for
Nominal ca- Efficiency Overnight capital % change from the current significant effort and research
Technology pacity (MW) (%) cost (2010 $/kW) previous year
focused on developing economically viable
Coal and environmentally acceptable clean coal
Single-unit advanced PC 650 38.8 $3,167 technologies (such as integrated gasifica-
Dual-unit advanced PC 1,300 38.8 $2,844 25% tion combined-cycle), CCS, and improv-
ing the thermal efficiency of USC units.
Single-unit advanced PC with CCS 650 28.5 $5,099
Dual-unit advanced PC with CCS 1,300 28.5 $4,579 Improving the Thermal Efficiency
Gas of New Units
Advanced natural gas combined cycle 400 53.1 $1,003 1% Improving the thermal efficiency of new
units produces more electricity from the same
Notes: CCS = carbon capture and sequestration, PC = pulverized coal. amount of coal. Given that utility-scale CCS
technology is struggling to reach commercial
scale, improving the efficiency of conven-
3. The efficiency-emissions connection. Carbon dioxide emissions and coal-fired
boiler combustion efficiency are closely linked. Note that a 1% increase in efficiency is equiva-
tional technologies is the preferred option,
lent to a 2% to 3% decrease in emissions. Source: IEA Focus on Clean Coal (2006) especially internationally, to reduce carbon
emissions while continuing to provde reliable
Subcritical Supercritical Ultrasupercritical/IGCC electricity at competitive rates. Figure 3 illus-
trates the reduction in carbon emissions for
the three steam generator technologies, which
is generally a function of plant efficiency.
A 1% improvement in the efficiency of
1,500 a PC-fired plant results in a 2% to 3% re-
Average efficiency of
Grams CO2/kWh

global power plants duction in CO2 emissions. Most efforts at

increasing steam cycle efficiencies are fo-
1,000 cused on increasing steam pressures and
temperatures. USC plants installed today
with steam conditions of 4,350 psi, 1,112F
500 Efficiency of state- superheat/reheathave efficiencies as high
of-the-art plants as 44%. Figure 4 shows the progress made
in developing and adopting advanced super-
0 critical designs by those geographic regions
25% 35% 45% 55% now using or contemplating using USC plant
Efficiency (HHV) designs.

68 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
The estimated project cost is 1.4 billion
4. Rising steam. Tracking the steam conditions of supercritical coal-fired plant design by
region shows rapid progress in Japan and China over the past few years. U.S. progress has
equivalent to an installed cost of $2,547/kW
been slower. Dotted lines indicate where the market is headed in terms of further improving (2009 $). The plant, now under construction,
USC technology for all countries. Source: www.worldbank.org is expected to enter service late in 2012.
Some of the plants key technical features are
Europe Japan USA China listed in Table 4.
Yuhuan 4 x 1,000 MW
In order to obtain the desired high ef-
1,292F ficiency at a reasonable costs, the Lnen
/5,076 psi 4,000 psi, 1,121F/1,117F
plant designers focused on four specific ar-
eas: optimizing the combustion processes,
/4,200 psi increasing the steam parameters, reducing
Steam conditions

the condenser pressure, and improving the

1,040F internal efficiency of the steam turbines. The
/3,916 psi Lnen plants USC steam generator combus-
tion efficiency was also increased by:
/3,625 psi Optimizing the steam generator heating
surface arrangement.
1,000F Waigaoqiao 2x 900 MW Raising the final feedwater temperature to
/2,400 psi 3,635 psi, 1,000F/1,050F 586F.
1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 Keeping the excess air coefficient in the
Year firing system at less than 1.2.
Controlling the reheater outlet tempera-
Table 4. Plant stats. Lnen Plant, a state-of-the-art ultrasupercritical coal-fired plant, is ture without water injection.
under construction in Germany and slated for a late 2012 start-up. Here are some of its key Reducing the exhaust gas temperature
performance and technical features. Source: Navigant downstream of the air preheater to 248F.
Minimizing steam- and gas-side pressure
Gross power output 813 MW (rated output; 50 Hz), single unit drops.
Net efficiency (LHV basis) ~45.6% (@ design point)
Steam generator Tower-type once-through boiler with vertical evaporator tubing
Perhaps just as interesting as the plants
design features is the fact that the plant is
Gas cleaning Selective catalytic reactor (DeNOx), electrostatic precipitators (particulate
being constructed in the European Union
matters), and wet limestone flue gas desulfurization (SOx)
(EU), where utilities have a legal require-
Steam parameters 4,060 psi/1,112F/1,130F steam conditions at boiler outlet ment to reduce carbon emissions. Howev-
Steam turbine SST5-6000 with single reheat and two double-flow LP turbines (4x12.5 m er, instead of eliminating coal as a power
exhaust annular area) generation fuel, the EU (and Japan, too)
Generator SGen5-3000W, water/hydrogen-cooled replaces older, less-efficient coal plants
with new, high-efficiency coal plants that
Feedwater preheating Nine stages: 3 high-pressure FWPH (header-type) with one external desuper-
heater, 5 low-pressure FWPH (plate-type); feedwater heaters A1 & A2 are
produce a net decrease in carbon emis-
located in the condenser neck as a duplex heater sions. (See Isogo Thermal Power Station
Unit 2, October 2010 for a good example
Final feedwater temperature 586F
of this replacement process.)
Feedwater pump concept 2 x 50% electric motordriven feedwater pumps
Condenser Dual-pressure serial condenser operating at 0.88 and 1.32 in. Hg, respectively Coals Future
Flue gas discharge Via the natural-draft wet cooling tower Coal is sure to play a continuing and vital
role in meeting the worlds future electric-
Distributed control system SPPA-T3000 power plant automation system
ity needs. However, increasing global politi-
cal pressure to reduce carbon emissions may
Japan is clearly leading the way, followed stitute for the U.S. Department of Energy severely diminish coals favored status going
closely by China and Europe, while the U.S. and the Ohio Coal Development Office forward. Clean coal technologies, such as
clearly is lagging behind. China has made aim to achieve steam parameters of 5,439 integrated gasification combined-cycle and
tremendous investments in advanced super- psi and 1,292F/1,328F and 5,500 psi and CCS, are under development but have yet to
critical design in recent years. Two of that 1,346F/1,400F, respectively. (Efficiency in- prove their technical or commercial viability.
countrys more recent projects are identified creases approximately 1% for each 36F rise In the meantime, global electricity demand
in Figure 4. in superheat and reheat temperature.) is increasing, and so is interest in advanced
Further improvements in efficiency are coal-fired plant designs, such as the Lnen
dependent on the availability of new nickel- Lnen: State-of-the-Art USC plant.
based alloys for the high temperatures and Ultrasupercritical Plant Dale Probasco is a managing director
pressures in ultrasupercritical PC boilers. One current example of a state-of-the-art ul- with Navigants Energy Practice and can
Two major development programs currently trasupercritical plant is the Lnen plant, lo- be reached at dprobasco@navigant.com.
under waythe European Commissions cated just outside of Lnen, Germany. It is an Bob Ruhlman is an associate director with
Thermie Project and a U.S. program man- 800-MW unit burning international low-sul- Navigants Energy Practice and can be
aged by the Electric Power Research In- fur bituminous coal delivered by river barge. reached at rruhlman@navigant.com.

May 2011 POWER www.powermag.com 69
HAZCOM Is Essential for Avoiding
Explosive Situations
In 1983, OSHA published its Hazard Communication (HAZCOM) Standard, which
requires that the hazards of all chemicals used in the workplace be commu-
nicated to employees so that responsible protective measures can be taken.
Today, HAZCOM remains near the top of the list of most frequently violated
OSHA standards that result in a citation. The 1917 Halifax Explosion, one
of the worlds largest nonnuclear explosions, testifies to what can happen
when you dont haveor dont followan effective HAZCOM program.
By James M. Hylko

ccording to the Occupational Safety know program. Typical HAZCOM training nation provides the basis for the information
and Health Administration (OSHA), information that should be disseminated to provided in its MSDS.
more than 30 million U.S. workers all employees includes the following: Chemical manufacturers and importers are
are exposed to hazardous chemicals in their required to perform hazard determinations
workplaces. To protect against chemical Reason for a HAZCOM plan. on the chemicals they produce or import.
source illness and injury, OSHA published The HCS and the standard operating pro- Under the HCS, an employer that manufac-
its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), cedure that addresses HAZCOM. tures, processes, formulates, or repackages a
also referred to as HAZCOM, in 1983. The MSDS books and their importance. hazardous chemical is considered a chemi-
purpose of the HCS was to ensure that the Common types of materials expected to be cal manufacturer. Distributors and em-
hazards of all chemicals produced or import- encountered on-site. ployers may also choose to conduct hazard
ed are properly understood and that informa- Container labeling and disposition. determinations if they are concerned about
tion concerning those hazards is conveyed to Building postings. the adequacy of hazard information for the
employers and employees. Employee protection and responsibilities. chemicals they use in their business or dis-
The HCS standard requires those hazards tribute to others.
to be communicated through a companys MSDSs are used worldwide to transmit Two primary resources are required to
HAZCOM to employeestypically, by us- detailed information about a chemical conduct a hazard determination. First, com-
ing three separate means: container warning for example, how it should be used, its plete, accurate, up-to-date literature and data
labels, material safety data sheets (MSDSs), effects, and how to protect against those concerning the chemical is required. Second,
and employee training. The HCS can be effects. Many employers routinely review the analyst must be able to understand and
found in its entirety at 29 CFR 1910.1200, MSDSs before they purchase a chemical interpret the information retrieved in order
Hazard Communication. and compare it to acceptable alternatives to identify and document the hazards. Spe-
Since the HCS rule became effective, it in order to ensure that the least hazardous cifically, any chemical that presents either
has been amended to address the fast-grow- material is selected. This practice is per- a physical or health hazard is considered a
ing list of chemicals used in the workplace. haps the most important use of the MSDS, hazardous chemical. The HCS uses the fol-
OSHA currently regulates exposure to ap- as it prevents unnecessary exposure to a lowing definitions for physical and health
proximately 400 substances. The OSHA hazardous chemical. hazards:
Chemical Sampling Information (CSI) file In addition, MSDSs help identify what
contains listings for approximately 1,500 protective measures should be used when Physical hazard means a chemical for
substances; the Environmental Protection handling the material, such as the type of which there is scientifically valid evi-
Agencys (EPAs) Toxic Substance Control respiratory protection to prevent an inhala- dence that it is a combustible liquid, a
Act (TSCA) Chemical Substances Inventory tion exposure or the type of glove material compressed gas, explosive, flammable, an
lists information on more than 62,000 chemi- required to prevent skin exposure. organic peroxide, an oxidizer, pyrophoric,
cals or chemical substances; and some librar- For MSDSs, warning labels, and employee unstable (reactive), or water-reactive.
ies maintain files of MSDSs for more than training to be effective, the hazard informa- Health hazard means a chemical that
100,000 substances. As you can see, there are tion they convey must be complete and ac- may cause acute or chronic health effects
numerous hazardous chemicals in the work- curate. Its therefore critically important for in exposed employees, such as chemicals
place, regulated or not. every company to obtain comprehensive and that are carcinogens, toxic or highly toxic
correct information about the hazards associ- agents, reproductive toxins, irritants, cor-
Review Your HAZCOM Program ated with particular chemicals. The process rosives, sensitizers, hepatotoxins, neph-
The accessibility and use of MSDSs should of evaluating available scientific evidence in rotoxins, neurotoxins, agents that act on
already be a part of your companys stan- order to determine if a chemical is hazardous, the hematopoietic system, and agents that
dard business practices. Usually, they are as required by the HCS, is referred to as a damage the lungs, skin, eyes, or mucous
included as part of the companys right-to- hazard determination. The hazard determi- membranes.

70 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
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HAZCOM History: The Halifax Explosion

One of the most dramatic examples of the perils of poor haz- Fleeing in two rowboats, the French-speaking crew reached
ard communication (HAZCOM) concerns an episode that took safety on the Dartmouth shore as the burning ship continued
place in Canada during World War I. to drift toward the Richmond Pier on the opposite, Halifax
The harbor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, served as a gather- shore. Because of the language differences, the crew was un-
ing point for Royal Canadian Navy and other ships scheduled able to warn Dartmouth residents of the impending disaster.
to convoy to Europe during the war. On December 5, 1917, Hundreds watched the burning ship from the shoreline and
the French ammunition ship SS Mont-Blanc was moving large windows.
quantities of munitions to Bordeaux, France. At about 4 p.m. The ultimate explosion, sparking one of the worst maritime
it was waiting to enter the harbor for a planned anchorage disasters in history, occurred at 9:04:35 a.m. (Figure 1). In
in Bedford Basin. Mont-Blancs cargo included five metric tons fact, the explosion of the Mont-Blanc still ranks as one of the
(mt) of benzol (a crude form of gasoline), 56 mt of gun cot- largest nonnuclear, man-made explosions, equivalent to a 2.5-
ton, 2,090 mt of picric acid (an explosive), and 2,115 mt of to 3-kiloton nuclear detonation.
trinitrotoluene (TNT). The Mont-Blanc was instantly fragmented. Much of it vapor-
The SS Imo, a Norwegian ship that had been chartered to ized into a giant fireball that rose over a mile into the air.
the Belgian Relief Committee, was in the harbor, ready to Its anchor landed two miles away. Shards of glass and other
proceed to New York to pick up relief materials for Belgium. debris and the spreading fire killed almost 2,000 and injured
Both ships were forced to wait until the next morning while 9,000 in Halifax and Dartmouth. A 15-foot wave shot out from
the submarine nets at the mouth of the harbor were secured the explosion, wrecking ships and flattening anything left
at night. standing. Many survivors said it appeared as though the Nar-
The following morning, December 6, 1917, local pilots were rows separating Halifax and Dartmouth had opened to reveal
assigned to each ship to ensure a safe passage through the the harbor floor.
harbor. By 7:30 a.m. the submarine nets were opened, allow- The explosion leveled over 1 square mile of Halifax. Win-
ing ship traffic to begin. However, the pilot assigned to the dows were shattered as far as Truro, Nova Scotia, 62 miles
Mont-Blanc spoke English, and the crew spoke only French. away, and it was reported that the blast could be heard even
The Imo left dock at 8:10 a.m. and was proceeding in the in Prince Edward Island, more than 180 miles away. The fol-
right channel, but another ship was blocking its path, so it lowing day a blizzard that left 16 inches of snow hit the city,
went into the left channel to pass. The Imo blew its whistle crippling recovery efforts.
two times to tell the Mont-Blanc of its predicament, and an or- A judicial inquiry found the Mont-Blancs captain and pi-
der to change course was given to the Mont-Blanc crew by the lot and the Royal Canadian Navy officer in charge of harbor
pilot that, unfortunately, was not understood by the crew. movements to blame for navigational errors that led to the
The Mont-Blanc was proceeding forward via the left channel explosion, although nobody was convicted. The Supreme Court
at the same time, and both ships refused to yield. Finally, the of Canada determined in 1919 that Mont-Blanc and Imo were
Mont-Blanc decided to pass the Imo in the center. The Imo equally to blame for errors that caused the collision and ex-
then stopped altogether, but the backward action of its pro- plosion: The Imo ignited the initial fire, was traveling faster
pellers brought the Imo to the center of the channel as well, than was customary in the Narrows, and was out of its correct
turning its bow straight in the direction of the Mont-Blanc. lane; the Mont-Blanc was a floating arsenal but was not fly-
Both ships collided in the Narrows of Halifax Harbor around ing the red pennant that was the internationally recognized
8:45 a.m. The Imos bow ripped a hole at least 10 feet into symbol for having explosives on board.
the hull of the Mont-Blanc. In response, the Imo attempted to Official inquiries would later identify an inadequate sup-
reverse direction. Sparks from the metal-on-metal collision ply of harbor pilots, language problems, and ignoring harbor
ignited vapors from the benzol, setting the Mont-Blanc on fire. safety guidelines as additional contributing factors to the ex-
The crew quickly abandoned ship. plosion.

1. Preventable destruction. This panorama of Halifax, looking south on December 6, 1917, depicts the incredible devastation
of the harbor area after the explosion. The force of the blast shattered windows, removed roofs, and twisted metal. Source: Library
and Archives Canada

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tion is usually disseminated to employees in fall protection and scaffolding violations.
2. A HAZCOM compliance check-
the form of a policy or procedure. Employ- HAZCOM is a perennial top five finisher in
list. The Occupational Safety and Health
Administrations (OSHAs) Hazard Communica- ees should receive HAZCOM training at the OSHA citation issues year after year. Spe-
tion Standard provides a very useful HAZCOM time they are assigned to work with hazard- cific reasons for the citations usually fall into
checklist to ensure that a company is in com- ous chemicals, on a regular basis (such as one of five main categories:
pliance with the standard. Source: OSHA annually), or following significant changes Failure to develop and maintain a written
in the workplace. However, the HCS train- HAZCOM program.
Obtained a copy of the rule ing provisions are not satisfied solely by hav- Failure to maintain training.
Read and understood the requirements ing employees read product labels and/or the Lack of employee training.
Assigned responsibility for tasks
MSDSs. An employers HAZCOM training Failure to have an MSDS for each hazard-
Prepared an inventory of chemicals
program is to be a forum for explaining to ous chemical.
Ensured containers are labeled
Obtained MSDS for each chemical employees not only the hazards of the chemi- Failure to label each container with the
Prepared written program cals in their work area but also how to prop- identity of the hazardous chemical within.
Made MSDSs available to workers erly use the information (Figure 2).
Conducted training of workers OSHA publishes an annual list of the catego-
Established procedures to maintain current program OSHAs Top 10 ries and reasons for citations as a way to alert
Established procedures to evaluate effectiveness Despite the requirement for chemical man- employers so they can take steps to find and
ufacturers and importers to evaluate the fix common, easily corrected hazards in the
Clearly, the HCS definition of a hazardous hazards of the chemicals they produce or workplace before an OSHA inspection occurs.
chemical is very broad but also very inclu- import, and the requirement to prepare la- All the HCS standards, publications, training
sive. The standard does not require chemi- bels and safety data sheets to convey the guides, and statistical information are available
cal testing, only the collection and analysis hazard information to their downstream cus- on the OSHA website (www.osha.gov).
of currently available data. Conservatively, tomers, HAZCOM continues to rank high
untested chemicals are usually considered on OSHAs Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Practical Applications of HAZCOM
hazardous, as are chemicals with suspected Standards. In fiscal year 2010 (October 1, Video training is effective because it match-
hazardous properties. 2009 to September 30, 2010), for example, es the learning styles of about 95% of the
An employers comprehensive HAZCOM OSHA handed out approximately 94,000 ci- population, which are visual and auditory.
program is the means of applying the HCS to tations related to HAZCOM violations. That Furthermore, simultaneous audio and video
company-specific conditions. The informa- put HAZCOM in third place, behind only increases information retention by as much
as 50% over printed materials alone.
Employee training can be conducted in
many different waysincluding classroom
instruction, interactive videos, and computer-
Your job is

based training, to name a fewand should

provide opportunities for employees to ask
hard... questions to ensure that they understand the
presented information. Moreover, videos and

we make
electronic media can be a cost-effective and
time-efficient method for training employees,

bolting easy.
regardless of company size and complexity.

However, the key to effective training is

booth creating genuine interest and motivating
learners to use the information. Therefore,
Squirter DTIs HAZCOM training must also have practical

application in the field and instill an aware-

ness of the logical consequences (often
tragic) of ignoring the hard-learned lessons
New training videos online.
of history, such as those taught by the 1917
You have questions, Halifax Explosion (see sidebar). When you

we have answers. read through the description of the Halifax


events, how many HAZCOM deficiencies

can you identify?
Hindsight is often 20/20, but if standard
HAZCOM processes and procedures had
been followed that wartime day in 1917,
chances are that the explosionwhich re-
sulted in approximately 2,000 dead, 9,000

the best way to bolt! injured, 25,000 homeless, and, according to

Training video link one conservative estimate, roughly $500 mil-
Scan with smartphone lion (todays dollars) in damageswould
or go to our website
1 800 552 1999
have been avoided.
www.appliedbolting.com email: info@appliedbolting.com James M. Hylko (jhylko1@msn.com) is
a POWER contributing editor.
circle 46 on reader service card

74 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
2010 PLANT OF THE YEAR: Nominate it for a
GROVE, TEXAS Award today!
If you know of a power plant or upstream smart grid project
thats worth bragging about, nominate it for one of POWER
magazines annual awards. Projects anywhere in the world
are eligible.
The Plant of the Year award will be presented to a plant that leads
our industry in the successful deployment of advanced technology
maximizing efficiency while minimizing environmental impact. In short,
the Power Plant of the Year, featured in the August issue of POWER, is the
best of class over the past year.

The Marmaduke Award, named after the legendary plant

troubleshooter whose exploits have been chronicled in POWER since
1948, recognizes operations and maintenance excellence at existing
power plants. The Marmaduke Award winner will also be profiled in the
August issue.

2010 MARMADUKE AWARD: NEW THIS YEAR: The Smart Grid Award will go to the project
that best demonstrates the benefits of smart grid technology
CLECOS MADISON implementation upstream from the end user. The winning project will
UNIT 3, LOUISIANA be profiled in the August issue.

Top Plants Awards recognize the best in class over the past year in each
of four generation categories: gas (September), coal-fired (October),
nuclear (November), and renewable (December).
For award criteria details, see the online nomination forms. Award finalists
and winners will be selected by the editors of POWER based on nominations
submitted by you and your industry peerssuppliers, designers,
constructors, and operators of power plants and smart grid projects.


Read about all the 2010 winners and download entry forms from
www.powermag.com (under Also from POWER Magazine).
Proactive Strategies for
Dealing with Combustible Dust
The challenges of using Powder River Basin (PRB) coal are as significant as the
rewards. The subbituminous coal contains lower amounts of sulfur diox-
ide than bituminous coal but can be prone to combustible dust explosions
if it is not properly managed. To eliminate such hazards, plant personnel
need to establish best practices for the safe operation and maintenance
of PRB coal-handling and -storage systems based on best available tech-
By Mark R. Collett, Plant Professionals

here are strong justifications for the use in mainland China were more interested in gies required to keep the material and dust
of Powder River Basin (PRB) coal as PRB coal than Indo-coal. from exiting the process flow at the point of
a fuel for electricity generation. Spe- source (POS). As a result, dust can be dis-
cifically, PRB coal has many valuable ad- Handling Challenges Related to persed into the air and, when exposed to oxy-
vantages, including its competitive price, low Moisture and Friability gen and a source of ignition, may become a
caloric value, and lower emissions of sulfur PRB coal has high moisture, generally 28% significant danger by causing an explosion
oxides and nitrogen oxides compared with to 30% when transported by rail cars. The and/or flash fire before the dust settles for the
other types of coal. In addition, other fuels reduction of PRB coals high moisture con- first time (Figure 2).
used for power generation have significant tent through transport or placement into new In a typical power plant setting, dispersed
drawbacks. For example, there are troubling environs is normally followed by the coals combustible dust eventually finds its way to
questions about the long-term price stability re-adsorption of moisture. While the coal horizontal and near-horizontal surfaces (up to
of natural gas (currently a relatively low-cost establishes a new moisture equilibrium, exo- an angle of approximately 65 degrees). Any
fuel) and the safety of nuclear energy. thermic reactions can result in self-heating. surface covered with this combustible dust is
On the flip side, PRB coals main chal- Incidents of spontaneous combustion can as dangerous as a pool of gasoline. Even a
lenge is that its use can lead to combustible then lead to combustible dust explosions. minor primary or secondary explosion else-
dust explosions if plant personnel fail to Another safety concern related to PRB where in the plant can disperse dust sitting
handle it correctly. In order to continue uti- coal is its friability. When it crumbles, it ex- on rafters, pipe racks, or structural members
lizing this environmentally friendly PRB in poses many times the surface area per pound back into the air, forming a lethal mixture.
our power generation facilities, we need to compared with bituminous coal. Friability Combustible dust piles on floors and equip-
make protecting workers and managing the can result in dangerous quantities of fine coal ment at power plants can likewise be lofted
risks top priorities. fragments, dangerous combustible dust, and from their resting places and cause an in-
Despite PRB coals volatile properties, higher dust emissions (Figure 1). sidious dispersion of dust that lacks only an
there is a race to find methods for redistrib- ignition source to become a life-threatening
uting PRB coal to Europe and Asia. For ex- Problems with Dust Dispersion hazard.
ample, I found it interesting that many of the Most material-handling systems do not have Many areas of the fuel yard and fuel-
power generation facilities I recently visited the containment features and new technolo- handling system also experience flow,

1. Falling to pieces. This 5-day-old undisturbed coal fractured simply as a result of expo- 2. Deep dust. Dangerous levels of com-
sure to oxygen and the rapid decrease in moisture content. Courtesy: Benetech Inc. bustible dust accumulations. Courtesy: Plant
Professionals (P2), a division of Benetech Inc.

76 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
Symphony Plus Total Plant Automation. The power
of a well-orchestrated performance.

SymphonyTM Plus is the new generation of ABBs total plant automation for
the power and water industries. Designed to maximize plant efficiency and
reliability through automation, integration and optimization of the entire plant,
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performance. www.abb.com/powergeneration

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circle 48 on reader service card

Symphony-Plus_US-Letter.indd 1 13/04/11 09.22
stockpiling, reclaiming, rat-holing, and dust oxygen in the air. The ignition source can cific in its guidelines about how workers
generation from vibrating equipment. All be self-heating fuel, a hot surface, electro- should handle utility coal. Currently, there
these challenges must be handled during the static discharges from pulverized coal, an are several congressmen in Washington,
engineering phase of a project or by assess- open spark, unrated electrical equipment, hot D.C., who routinely push for a temporary
ing and determining problems during the op- work, or an open flame/fire. Confinement combustible dust rule. (See Proposed
erations phase. can be provided by the process equipment Combustible Dust Rule Sparks Debate
The often-neglected fly ashhandling or the structure in which the equipment is in our Mar. 2011 issue or online at www.
systems and others areas of the plant that housed. Dispersion can occur from fuel- or powermag.com.) However, a temporary
regularly experience dispersed fly ash and waste-conveying activities or during an upset rule may not be effective because of the
pulverized fuel mixtures also represent condition. Unfortunately, all the components ambiguity and confusion it would cause.
sources of combustible dust. Remember, fly required for a dust explosion are quite com- The existing NEP is sufficient; it is action-
ash concentrations as low as 6% to 10% by mon in the power generation industry (Figure able now, we know its intent, and we have
mass are explosive. 4). some history concerning how inspectors
and judges have interpreted it.
Five Factors Contributing to The PRB Coal Users Group and In addition, we should be confident that
Combustible Dust Explosions OSHA Initiatives the current direction of the NEP is worth
For a dust explosion to occur, five conditions The PRB Coal Users Group (PRBCUG) our compliance investment and that the
must be met: asked that I serve as director of governmental eventual new combustible dust standard
affairs, responsible for tracking the regula- will not cause the abandonment of mitiga-
A fuel source. tions and administrative efforts being carried tion actions or projects due to any major
An oxidant. out by the U.S. Occupational Safety and regulatory change.
An ignition source. Health Administration (OSHA). This role Plant Professionals (P2) has been advis-
Dispersion of the dust into a cloud. frequently takes me to Washington, D.C. ing customers that the new standard may
Some form of confinement of the dust OSHA has made significant inroads in follow a different rule-of-law for enforce-
cloud. completing a new combustible dust standard. ment and a different level of detail. How-
In fact, at press time, the proposed standard ever, the general theory governing safety
These conditions are often referred to as was scheduled to be released for preliminary and the avoidance of hazardous incidents
the explosion pentagon (Figure 3). introduction to the small business communi- will not differ from the current NEP. In
In a typical power generation facility, ty. However, despite impressive efforts of the short, dont ignore the protection of your
the fuel is commonly the material burned to groups within OSHA working toward com- workers and your facility while waiting for
generate power. The oxidant is commonly pletion of this new standard, the constantly the new standard.
changing political landscape is creating heavy
3. Explosion pentagon. For a dust ex-
counter-currents that are interfering with its Promoting Safe Management of
plosion to occur, five conditions must be met. timely completion. I have been impressed Combustible Dust
Unfortunately, all the components required for with OSHAs efforts to assist industry while The top priority is to stay safe. P2 staff spend
a dust explosion are quite common in many staying sensitive to the need to avoid the en- a lot of time traveling around the globe teach-
coal-fired power plants. Courtesy: P2 actment of any regulation that overreaches. ing and advising coal-based power genera-
In 2009 and 2010, the PRBCUG requested tion companies. We focus on key tools need
3. Ignition source input from members of the electric power in- to promote combustible dust safety. I review
dustry, which, in turn, was passed to OSHA and emphasize the following two tools at the
without identification of those companies end of each training session.
that wished to remain anonymous. We have Conducting Plant Assessments. These
4. Dispersion 5. Confinement
represented ourselves as a clearinghouse for evaluations are the single most significant
Explosion such information, without exceeding the lim- step the staff at any power station can take
its of our tax status. Our group has gained to gain an understanding of the gap between
a fair amount of attention that has given good practice/regulations and actual current
us better access to key individuals within plant conditions. This, in turn, helps a plant
1. Combustible 2. Oxygen the Department of Labor and the Chemical choose low-hanging fruit and create a plan
dust (fuel) in air Safety Board (CSB). We did this by intro- focused on improving safety and risk man-
ducing ourselves as an industry that annually agement.
handles more than 150 million tons of <100 P2 has implemented more than 150 as-
4. Dusty breeze. Acute coal dust dispersion mesh combustible dust (by the time it gets sessments of coal-fired power stations in
is combustible and respirable. Courtesy: P2 to the boiler), which has a Kst (dust deflagra- the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The best indi-
tion index) more than 2.5 times that of sugar cation of assessment quality is how well
and other bituminous coals. Explaining our the document is utilized for planning and
groups background has given it better access its operational clarity. Engineers are not
to OSHA to discuss the very latest problems the best source of such documents; a thor-
and the progress of the new combustible dust ough gap analysis is better. Gap analysis is
standard. a tool that helps a company to compare its
actual performance with its potential per-
Living with the Current OSHA Rule formance. Operators can provide focused
The OSHA National Emphasis Program and accurate gap analyses, which can in-
(NEP) for combustible dust is very spe- clude the following:

78 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
The area and equipment nition, a mill-puff, hot idler bearing igni- tible Dust Event video at www.csb.gov. It
Generic solutions tion, a collapsing bin rat hole, or some other depicts the cascading effect of a combus-
Estimated costs equipment jam that causes structural move- tible dust explosion through animation.
Detailed information regarding the regula- ment. Such types of movement can disperse Point-of-Source Containment. Under-
tory references combustible dust, which, if ignited by the pri- standing the concept of POS containment is
Risk management factors mary event or any other source of ignition or very important. There is nothing as effective
heat, can cause significant damage. For ex- as containment at the POS.
Testing Power Block Dust. As part ample, a secondary explosion in an enclosed Containing dust within the process path
of your assessment, test your accumulated area can cause the complete destruction of a or conveyors and transfers prevents its exit
power block dust; the secret is to focus on buildings siding and structure. and dispersion into an vast area. Otherwise,
your dust rather than your fuel. Testing the Remember that a primary ignition of com- the dust is immediately hazardous during its
explosivity of your combustible dust and fuel bustible dust can occur as a result of spon- first dispersion. Then, if it does not cause
in the coal yard is a valuable way to gain a taneous combustion (sponcom) and does a deflagration or explosion during this first
better understanding of your fuel. not require electrical or mechanical ignition. dispersion, the dust settles on all horizontal
But the most important tests you can per- You can prevent sponcom events by properly surfaces, both seen and unseen, both lower
form are in the power block and other areas managing the coal stockpile and feeds to en- areas such as a floor and surfaces above eye
of the plant that should not have an accumu- sure that none of the coal is allowed to age level, where it waits for the next event to
lation of combustible dust. For example, the beyond 30 days unless it is treated with oxi- dislodge and disperse it into a lethal cloud.
top of the turbine deck control room is a great dation inhibitors or pile sealers. This can occur as a result of vibrating pro-
place to test for dust accumulations. Many plants experience a cascading se- cess equipment, entrained air, and rat-hole
ries of deflagrations and explosions due collapse.
Eliminating Explosions to the effect of shock waves from a pre- In addition, it is important to note that
Secondary explosions in enclosed areas can vious explosion, which, in turn, scatters such dispersed dust can also be classified as
devastate several areas of a plant simulta- more combustible dust. Once dispersed, respirable and hazardous to workers who in-
neously. The combustible dust NEP and the combustible dust is, in turn, ignited by hale it.
OSHAs inspection program are designed to the same explosion. One event can trigger Isolation and Explosion Venting. It is
address such dangers. a succession of others throughout a plant. important to ensure that all enclosed areas
Secondary explosions can be caused by a For more information about this phenome- have explosion venting (to diffuse serious ex-
gas explosion, a small combustible dust ig- non, see the The Imperial Sugar Combus- plosive pressures) and isolation doors. These

circle 49 on reader service card

May 2011 POWER www.powermag.com 79
doors are normally closed and hold dust, fire,
and explosion from spreading into adjacent
5. Taming the black beast. Dust suppression is achieved by applying the right chemical
at the right location. Courtesy: Benetech Inc.
areas. This is also true for closed-tube con-
veyor galleries.
Ignition Control. Some plants have
ignition control tools that have been de-
signed and well thought out by the original
designer; however, the majority of power
generation facilities hold inadequate plans
showing hazardous locations by expressing
electrical classifications on a plan view or
site plan, usually via crosshatch patterns.
Many plants have plans with verbiage that
explains the intent or design parameters of
the electrical engineer who originally built
the facility. detector used above conveyors) distribu- unhealthy combination due to the hazards of
OSHA expects to be provided with a tion and water piping nozzles are vital to storing explosive coal fines in the hopper and
clear and concise drawing that designates the effectiveness of fire suppression. dumping such fines back into the system. All
these areas. Inspecting these areas by re- the systems listed below have been cleared
ferring to the hazardous area classification Control Technologies for for use as best available control technology
drawings is a critical step during the as- Combustible Dust when replacing dry dust collectors:
sessment. Mitigation of dust emissions as delineated
Fire Suppression. Follow the Best in the Environmental Protection Agencys Wet scrubbers do not store coal in a dry
Practices for Fire Suppression Systems (EPA) Standards of Performance for Coal and dangerous state. Instead, the coal is
developed by the PRBCUG to ensure you Preparation and Processing Plants (40 impinged with water and falls out into a
can achieve the best results in respond- Code of Federal Regulations 60 Subpart Y) wet discharge stream.
ing to fires and explosions. (Go to www. has been redefined. The preamble of EPAs Special transfers and passive chutes
prbcoals.com for PRBCUG membership Subpart Y clearly states that dry dust col- channel the material for less wear on the
information.) Protectowire (a linear heat lectors and subbituminous coal dust are an belt and curtail entrained air. (One of the

New Edition!
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plant personnel at more Nearly 8,500 plant management and support contact names, titles,
than 4,000 power plant sites and primary job functions
across North America Basic plant operating statistics for more than 1,500 power stations, including:
Pinpoint the locations of - Generation (MWh) - Availability (%)
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80 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
ly cut back on the washdown and decrease In addition, plant management should
6. Squeaky clean. Have confidence that
you can keep your facility as clean as the
the amount of water used (Figure 6). write out specific safety procedures re-
Dominion Kinkaid Power Plant, shown here. In addition, plant personnel should focus lated to handling combustible dust and
Cleaning systems can be automatic or manual on preventing mill puffs and associated explo- train employees on those procedures.
(with hose reels, as shown). Note how effec- sions by ensuring that the coal storage facility They should make sure everyone is well
tive white walls are in showing dust accumu- is blanketed with an inert gas and by adequate- versed in the dangers specific to PRB coal
lations. Source: Mark Collett ly applying instrumentation to each system. and combustible dust. Furthermore, plant
personnel should not try to apply grandfa-
Creating a Plant Culture That thering rules related to specific practices
Promotes Safety that have been established as unsafe by
Plant management needs to assess and then OSHA and the NFPA.
try to eliminate negative attitudes toward
housekeeping among the staff. Manage- Proactive Management of
ment should encourage plant workers to Combustible Dust
adopt a proactive culture that promotes a Be aware that an unannounced in-depth
full understanding of the gap analysis and inspection by an OSHA compliance safety
a well-prepared plan to resolve issues. and health officer is possible at any time. It
Another important way plant personnel can is critical that executives and plant manag-
promote safety is through documentation of ers take a proactive approach in addressing
safety-related issues. Recordkeeping can in- combustible dust hazards and other safety
clude using the Globally Harmonized System issues. Manage the risk that combustible
most common causes of dust emissions of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals dust poses to employees and equipment by
is the exit of entrained air and dust.) for managing chemicals. (See HAZCOM Is developing a culture of safety that is em-
Dust suppression, containment skirt- Essential for Avoiding Explosive Situations, bedded in each and every work activity.
ing, and belt cleaners are also important p. 70.) In addition, job safety analysis proce- Mark R. Collett (markrcollett@gmail
tools in dust management (Figure 5). dures and other standards can be useful to a .com) is a safety specialist who handles
Dry fog requires specific water supply plant hazard analysis. The NEP lists the docu- compliance and projects and works for
standards and special care to eliminate mentation requirements that are essential to Plant Professionals (P2), a division of
the aspiration of infectious pathogens complying with OSHA regulations. Benetech Inc.
into the oropharynx (back of the throat)
of exposed plant workers. (See Use
Dry Fog to Control Coal Dust Hazards,

The energy service business

July 2010.)

is our only business

Approximately 60% of all fire events in
our industry from 2008 to 2011 were attrib-
utable to dry dust collectors, according to
comments made during the approval phase
of this EPA regulation. That estimate ap-
pears to be accurate when compared with
the list of explosion/deflagration incidents
kept by the CSB.
The National Fire Protection Associa-
tion (NFPA) Standards further express the
requirements related to locations and condi-
tions surrounding such equipment, including
the need to move all indoor dust collectors
to outdoor locations. Facility workers need to
take care to maintain and clean these devices
if they are not removed or replaced.
Plant personnel need to practice regular
housekeeping to prevent combustible dust
from accumulating deeper than 1/16 inch
and covering more than 5% of a rooms Unlike service providers that have entered
total area. When enacted, the new combus- the energy service business from other
tible dust standard will no doubt introduce industries, TurboCare has always focused
a new way to determine maximum depth. on the unique needs of the utility
Wash water designs first require ade- and industrial turbomachinery operator.
quate drainage before one drop of water is
used. Yet, plant personnel will always need
to perform housekeeping washdown. As
workers efforts to promote adequate POS
containment improve, they should careful-

May 2011 POWER www.powermag.com
PowerMag_TC_Nov10.indd 1 81 PM
11/1/10 3:39:38
New York City Backs Tidal Power
The Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) pilot project used six full-scale hy-
drokinetic turbines to capture the power of river tides and currents and
convert it into electricity. Located in New York Citys East River, it is the
first and only grid-connected tidal array project in the world. RITE project
developers are seeking approval to install up to 30 additional turbines in
the near future.
By Angela Neville, JD

he multi-phase Roosevelt Island Tidal Preparations for the RITE Phase 3 build- How Hydrokinetic Systems Work
Energy (RITE) project is making waves out are now under way. They began with The hydrokinetic systems used by Verdant
in the renewable energy sector. New Verdant Powers submission of an applica- Power employ underwater turbines to gener-
Yorkbased Verdant Power Inc. launched the tion for a pilot license to the Federal Energy ate clean energy from the currents of tides,
RITE project in an effort to commercialize Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Decem- rivers, and manmade channels (Figures 2, 3,
its kinetic hydropower Free Flow System, ber 2010, Taylor said. If granted, this license and 4). The systems are invisible from shore.
which deploys three-bladed turbines in fast- would allow Verdant Power to build out the Simple and modular in design, the systems
moving tides and rivers to generate energy. RITE Project in the East Channel of the East can be scaled to produce cost-effective power
Through the RITE Project Phase 2 Dem- River to a 1-MW, 30-turbine Generation 5 at a wide variety of sites, including directly
onstration, which lasted from 2006 through (Gen5) Free Flow System and to commer- within population centers. The few moving
2008, Verdant Power proved that the 4th cially deliver the energy generated by the parts of the systems also decrease operation
Generation (Gen4) Free Flow System could field to local customers. The RITE Phase 3 and maintenance costs. Additionally, because
function successfully as an efficient source project is expected to generate an average of the systems do not require dams, impound-
of renewable energy. Using six full-scale tur- up to 2,400 MWh annually. ments, or other major civil works, they cause
bines, the system delivered 80 MWh of grid- The local residents on Roosevelt Island minimal public and environmental impact
connected energy from the tides of the East have stated that they want this power proj- and have lower upfront capital costs an as-
River to New York City customers with no ect in their backyard! Taylor told POWER.
power quality problems (Figure 1). Residents refer to the area surrounding the 2. Preparing the pilot project. The
In March, POWER interviewed Trey Tay- East River of New York City as Asthma Al- workers shown were involved in initial stages
lor, Verdant Powers cofounder and president, ley. They know that the RITE Project is a of the RITE projects Phase 2, which lasted
and Aaron Hernandez, assistant to company start at cleaning up this reach of the river and from 2006 through 2008. With this project,
cofounder and CEO, Ronald Smith. section of the city. Verdant Power proved that its 4th Generation
Free Flow System could function successfully
as an efficient source of renewable energy.
1. Powering the Big Apple. The RITE pilot project deployed hydrokinetic turbines in the Courtesy: Christopher R. Gray/Verdant Power
East River. During the implementation phase, Verdant Power worked with Con Edison to intercon-
nect the array with its distribution system so New York City customers could receive power from
tidal energy. The tip of Roosevelt Island appears on the far right. Courtesy: Verdant Power Inc.

82 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
Does Your Plume Make You Blue?

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circle 52 on reader service card

3. Heave ho. Verdant Power workers 4. Come on in, the waters fine. The turbine was moved to the location in the East
prepared the turbine for installation in the River, where it was later installed underwater. In river schemes, hydrokinetic turbines can pro-
East River. Because hydrokinetic systems vide dispatchable power due to high capacity factors estimated to range between 60% and
do not require dams, impoundments, or 70% day and night. Courtesy: Christopher R. Gray/Verdant Power Inc.
other major civil works, they have minimal
public and environmental impact and lower
upfront capital costs. Courtesy: Kris Unger/
Verdant Power Inc.

pect that makes them especially suitable for worked with Con Ed to interface with its
use in developing countries. distribution system in order for Verdant 5. Going with the flow. The new blades
Water currents provide a predictable, if Power customers to receive tidal energy are manufactured from a composite (FRP)
material and are readily scalable for use in a
not constant, source of renewable energy. in a seamless fashion. As a source of dis-
variety of tidal and river settings. Courtesy:
This creates an advantage for hydrokinetic tributed energy, tidal power is very reliable
Verdant Power Inc.
technologies over wind and solar systems, and highly predictable.
which offer intermittent power that is more Verdant Powers Gen5 hydrokinetic tur-
subject to daily changes in weather and bine has been optimized for cost-effective
blackout scenarios. commercial manufacturing, environmental
Verdant Power anticipates that its river- compatibility, and longevity. The new blades
based systems will eventually achieve 60% are manufactured using a composite (FRP)
to 70% capacity factors, approximately dou- material and are readily scalable for use in a
ble those of wind and solar power systems, variety of tidal and river settings (Figure 5).
Taylor said. In addition to these improvements, the Gen5
turbine includes the following features:
Project Overview
Though a few other companies have installed A ductile iron hub casting.
single hydrokinetic units, the completed Integrated gearbox unit incorporating
RITE Phase 2 remains the first and only grid- shaft housing/bearings/seals.
connected tidal array project in the world, A failsafe brake.
Taylor pointed out. Redundant dynamic (shaft) and static
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sealing.
provided partial funding for the Gen5 ad- Nontoxic fouling-release coating system.
vancement, specifically the design and test- An improved commercial quality-control
ing of a new composite turbine blade in and -assurance manufacturing process.
partnership with the DOEs National Re-
newable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Sandia The turbines can provide baseload power,
National Laboratories, and the University of and in river schemes, they could provide The project is designed to operate unat-
Minnesotas St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, dispatchable power due to high capacity fac- tended. Servicing and repair will be handled
Hernandez said. Major funding for develop- tors estimated to range between 60% and by removing each turbine from its gravity-
ment of the RITE Project was provided by 70% day and night, Taylor said. The turbine based anchoring frame, replacing it with a
the New York State Energy Research and De- includes a failsafe brake, which is automati- new turbine, and bringing the old turbine
velopment Authority and the New York City cally applied upon any failure of the genera- ashore for repair, maintenance, upgrade, and
Economic Development Corp. tor, cable, control system, interconnection, or recycling. The timing and support staffing
Verdant Power received a special the electrical grid itself. The brake can also for servicing activities will be optimized on
FERC ruling named the Verdant Ruling, be manually applied via a remote signal from a site-by-site basis. The projected life span
which allows hydrokinetic companies to shore that cuts power to any generator. This of the East River turbines will range from 20
be grid-connected during testing periods mode is useful during commissioning testing to 25 years, assuming five-year maintenance
only, he said. As a result, our company and for maintenance operations. intervals.

84 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
RITE Project Financial Issues systems, empirical evidence showed that Taylor pointed out that his company may
Total projected cost for construction and in- the six installed turbines (RITE Project, have to go outside of the U.S. to advance
stallation of the 1-MW Phase 3 will range Phase 2 demonstration) had minimal envi- its technologies, because the economic
between $18 million and $20 million, Tay- ronmental impacts on birds and fish, Tay- incentives do not yet exist in the U.S. to
lor said. Future projects are expected to cost lor said. Additional monitoring will be meet the industrys needs.
one-half to one-third of thateven less for conducted during the staged development Nonetheless, he is optimistic that the
projects outside the U.S. of the 1-MW pilot project to study any im- tide is beginning to rise for hydrokinetic
As for estimated electricity costs, Taylor pacts caused by a larger array. energy. For example, he described how the
said, The cost to generate hydrokinetic pow- He explained that moving the proposed RITE project could provide power to the
er will range between 6 cents and 10 cents Phase 3 project forward will require ap- grid for electric vehicle charging stations,
per kWh. This compares favorably to coal, provals at the federal, state, and city lev- thereby lessening greenhouse gas emis-
which is at about the same range of costs. els. If granted, these approvals will outline sions. Furthermore, hydrokinetic turbines
Verdant Power Inc. management cur- operating parameters, including compre- will create jobs in manufacturing, assem-
rently is working on lining up a buyer for the hensive plans for environmental monitor- bly, deployment, retrieval, service, and
electricity generated by its U.S. project. The ing to be conducted throughout the staged maintenance, according to Taylor: It is
company is encouraged by the fact that sev- development of the project. estimated that for every 1 GW of hydroki-
eral hydrokinetic projects overseas are hav- As for security, the turbines are equipped netic turbines produced, more than 1,500
ing good success selling their energy. with sensors that can be read in real time full time jobs will be created.
For our RITE Project in New York from around the world, Taylor said. In ad- Hydrokinetic energy, both bidirectional
City, we are still in discussions regarding dition, because the turbines are underwater (tidal) and unidirectional (river and man-
the purchase of generated energy, Taylor and cannot be seen, there is little concern made channels), could provide at least 12
said. For tidal turbines, which are be- about security challenges. He pointed out GW of installed capacity for the U.S. with-
ing tested at the European Marine Energy that signs are posted and buoys anchored in the next 10 years, provided the licensing
Centre in the Orkneys, ScottishPower is around the turbine fields advising recre- and permitting processes are streamlined,
buying that energy. And for the Marine ational craft to stay clear of the area. he said. Longer term, the installed capac-
Current Turbines project in Strangford ity could be in excess of 60 GW, given the
Lough, Irelands ESB Independent Energy Upbeat Downstream Projections advances in hydrokinetic technologies.
is buying that energy. Verdant Power has plans to develop more Angela Neville, JD, is senior
sites. However, in a cautionary comment, editor of POWER.
Advantages of the East River

Taylor explained that the East Channel of
New York Citys East River is particularly
advantageous because of its strong tidal cur-
rents and the good capacity factor (30%) that
it enables. Furthermore, deep draft vessels
use the West Channel of the East River, so
navigational issues were not a problem for
the RITE Phase 2 project.
There is potential for as much as 10 MW
Small Metal Buildings
in the East River, he said. However, navi- www.parkline.com
gational issues must be taken into account if
the project is to expand beyond the current 1
MW planned installation. No timeline is in
place for this potential additional capacity.
He added that the only technical challeng-
es remaining for the East River locationas
for all locationswill be to find cost-effec-
tive ways to deploy and retrieve hydrokinetic
systems for maintenance.
Fluctuations in the flow of the river due
to low rainfall or flooding conditions do not
affect the RITE project. Taylor explained that
the East River is a tidal channel and there-
fore is not affected. Verdant Power manage-
ment selects rivers after thorough resource
assessments take into account variables such
as seasonal fluctuations.
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May 2011 POWER www.powermag.com 85
Benchmarking Fossil Plant
Performance Measures, Part III:
Metrics Used for Compensation
In Part III of this three-part report, we look at plant- and fleet-level metrics
used to determine compensation. As expected from this EUCG-spon-
sored benchmarking survey, there is broad use of quantifiable metrics to
set portions of compensation, but the metrics selected vary substantially
across the surveyed utilities. More surprising was the number of utilities
that used no performance metrics as part of their employee compensa-
tion packages.
By Charlene Foltzer, PSEG Power

n the March and April issues we exam- and/or fleet-level performance measures for
Table 1. Popular station-level met-
ined plant- and fleet-level fossil plant a portion of their employee compensation. rics used for compensation deci-
performance metrics in the first two At the station level, five of the participating sions. Source: EUCG
parts of this summary of a recent EUCG companies (one large, two medium, and two
benchmarking survey. In this final report, small) did not use performance measures as Number of
we explore which metrics are favored by part of their employee compensation com- companies
the participating companies for employee putations. Of those that did, the number of Metric reporting
compensation. performance measures considered in the
OSHA recordable rate 7
The survey did not delve into specific compensation program varied from one to
compensation practices or the portion of the 34 (Figure 1). Of those companies that re- O&M cost 6
total compensation package that is affected ported using metrics in their compensation Equivalent availability factor 5
by these key metrics because that informa- decisions, an average of 10 metrics were Lost work days/cases 4
tion is usually confidential and often varies used.
Equivalent forced outage rate (EFOR) 3
greatly between companies. Rather, the sur- Although the specific station-level met-
vey was focused on identifying metrics fa- rics used varied widely, there were favorites. Combustion turbine starts/failures 3
vored by company compensation programs Table 1 shows metrics used by at least three OSHA lost time rate 3
and their usage frequency. utilities. First aid cases 3
The survey was conducted in mid-2010 At the fossil fleet or company level,
Number of opacity exceedances 3
with a total of 16 major utilities from the only six of the 16 survey respondents used
U.S., Canada, Israel, and South Korea. Each fleet-level metrics in compensation de- Opacity compliance (exceedances/ 3
utilitys fleet was categorized by size: small cisions (Figure 2). Of the fleets that did run hours)
(up to 5 GW), medium (5 GW to 10 GW), or report using these metrics, an average of Notice of violation 3
large (over 10 GW). Of the 16 companies par- nine different ones were considered, close Reportable spills 3
ticipating in the benchmarking survey, eight to the number used for station-level com-
Number of environmental incidents 3
were classified as having small fossil-fueled pensation decisions.
fleets, three as medium, and five as large. Companies using these metrics were SO2 and NOx emission rates 3
The survey covered all fossil plants within fairly evenly distributed among small,
particular fleets, including coal-fired and nat- medium, and large fleet categories. Fleet-
ural gasfired steam units, combined-cycle level metrics favored by at least three com- Table 2. Popular fossil fleetlevel
plants, and even combustion turbines used panies are listed in Table 2.
metrics used for compensation
decisions. Source: EUCG
for emergency peaking. Survey respondents In Part I we examined favored station-
also operate in different regulatory environ- level performance metrics. Figure 3 illus- Number of com-
ments; some are fully regulated while others trates the number of station-level metrics Metric panies reporting
operate in deregulated regions, competing used by each company and the portion of
O&M cost 4
with merchant generators for energy and ca- those metrics that are used for station-level
pacity sales. compensation decisions. The survey found OSHA recordable rate 4
that an average of 43 station-level metrics Equivalent availability factor 3
Many Metrics, Few Used were used and an average of nine were used EFORd 3
Of the 16 utilities surveyed, 13 (81%) re- for compensation decisions by the 11 com-
Lost work days/cases 3
ported using some combination of station- panies using such metrics at all. (The maxi-

86 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
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mum total station-level metrics was nearly an overall forced outage metric at the fleet cards) are a management tool used to en-
90; the minimum was nine.) level. When it comes to picking the metric sure that business activities throughout an
The obvious question when looking that best represents station-level employ- organization are well-aligned with corpo-
at Figure 3, is, Why are so many metrics ee performance, the more comprehensive rate goals and objectives. The balance,
tracked yet so few used for compensation metric often is chosen, such as equivalent to achieve a comprehensive view of the
purposes? For some companies, many of availability factor or demand equivalent business, is achieved when as many non-
the metrics tracked are indicators of the forced outage rate (EFORd) because these financial activities relating to employees
same concerns. For example, start-up communicate a better overall sense of how and customers are used as are financial
failures and boiler waterwall leaks both the plant performed in a given year. and operational measures. Nonfinancial
cause forced outages but are tracked and measures are useful because many pure-
managed separately at the station level, Keeping Score ly financial measures speak to only past
whereas they may be combined as part of Scorecards (also called balanced score- events.
Dr. Robert S. Kaplan, one of the origi-
nators of the balanced scorecard, suggests
1. The number of station-level performance metrics used for compensa- that information age companies must . . .
tion decisions. Source: EUCG
create future value through investment in
Small plant Medium plant Large plant
customers, suppliers, employees, processes,
technology, and innovation. Kaplans ap-
proach is to use the scorecard as a tool to
translate the typically more passive strategic
35 plan goals into action-oriented activities by
individual business units and down to indi-
vidual workers to guide daily work. Kaplan
Number of performance measures

30 also suggests that developing metrics, col-

lecting data, and analyzing the data are nec-
essary parts of the process.
Surveyed companies were also asked,
At what level are scorecards tied to
20 compensation? Multiple answers were
allowed (Figure 4). Each scorecard is a
combination of unique metrics selected
15 for company-specific reasons. For exam-
ple, employees are usually assigned met-
rics based upon their position and function
10 within the organization. Employees as-
signed to a specific station will typically
be assigned some combination of station
metrics, while a roving maintenance team
that services multiple plants will usually
0 be given fleet-level or fuel-type generation
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 metrics. Company executives tend to have
Plant number

2. The number of fleet-level perfor- 3. The number of station-level metrics tracked compared with the num-
mance metrics used for compen- ber of metrics used for compensation decisions. Source: EUCG
sation decisions. Source: EUCG
Measures used for compensation Total number of measures used
Small plant Medium plant Large plant
Number of performance measures

Total measures used

16 70

14 60
12 50
10 40
2 10
0 0
1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Plant number Plant

88 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011
Fleet metrics can also be used to focus As company strategic plans often
4. Scorecards are tied to compen- change, so will the results of this survey
employees at multiple stations on specific
sation for many of the surveyed
companies. Source: EUCG company-wide goals and objectives. Fa- should it be repeated. Certain key metrics
voring fleet metrics for station employees will surely remain, but others will cease
Small plant Medium plant Large plant is also an effective management tool to to be used, and new ones will find favor.
10 transform an everyone for himself atti- For this moment in time, this glimpse into
tude into a teamwork attitude. metrics used by power generation compa-
9 Some metrics are market driven. For nies in their employee compensation pro-
example, in PJM the EFORd metric plays grams should be helpful in designing your
a large role in determining capacity pay- unique compensation program.
7 ments received by each plant. Because this As explained in the first two reports, the
Number of companies

metric can influence actual payments or survey data is presented in summary form
revenues, it may be weighted more heavily in this article. The complete survey data-
5 in a particular compensation program. Es- base contains much more data and links
sentially, some metrics will have different specific data to specific fleets, allowing
4 weights depending on company circum- the user to drill down to plant-level data
3 stances. and establish benchmarking peer groups.
Some metrics, like one of the several However, the EUCG is a give to get or-
2 possible U.S. Occupational Safety and ganization, meaning that if you want the
Health Administration (OSHA) metrics, entire benchmarking database, you will
can be applied to different employee have to not only be a member of the EUCG
0 groups and allow for roll-ups to the fleet but also add your survey results to the da-
Station Fossil Holding Not Other
scorecard company company applicable level. For example, a plant may have an tabase.
scorecard scorecard OSHA metric assigned that results in an Charlene Foltzer (charlene.foltzer@
OSHA target and score for that plant. At pseg.com) is performance & metrics
their performance measured using fleet- the fleet level, that same OSHA metric manager at PSEG Power in New Jersey
level metrics because multiple stations of may be used, but possibly with a different and a member of the EUCGs Fossil
different fuel types are under their control. fleet target and corresponding score. Productivity Committee.

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May 2011 POWER | www.powermag.com 89

RT11_7x4.875v2.indd 1 12/14/10 1:44:49 PM


Self-Propelled Spent Fuel Cask Transporter

The new Wheelift Self-Propelled Modular Transporter increases
safety in spent fuel cask transport and alignment for NUHOMS-
type ISFSI installations by reducing worker exposure because
only one person is needed to operate the transporter from
between 30 feet and 50 feet away. The transporters omni-
directional steering and 10-inch lift capability enables the
same operator to perform alignments remotely to within
1/32nd of an inch while eliminating the need for an
independent leveling and alignment system. Efficiencies are
also improved, Wheelift says, because the omni-directional
travel capability allows for greater storage density. The transfer
cask can also be removed from the transporter deck to allow
the unit to perform other heavy haul tasks.
An onboard diesel-driven generator powers the transporter
as well as the transfer cask rams hydraulic power unit. An
alternative shore power connector is available for near-silent
operation as a backup system. A custom-designed cask support skid atop its deck and the push cylinder fitted with an electrically
actuated grapple eliminate the possibility of a broken hydraulic line that could potentially contaminate the horizontal storage
module. (www.wheelift.com)

Forged Ball Valves

Valve-maker Conval announced that its
popular Camseal zero-leakageball valves
now have forged bodies. These new forged
ball valves are available in half-inch
through 4-inch sizes with top entry, socket
weld, butt weld, and flanged ends. Pressure
classes range from ASME 900 through
4500.Camseal forged ball valves feature
zero body leakage, zero seat leakage, zero
seal leakage, robust stem-ball engagement,
superior bearing support, chrome carbide
coating, in-line servicing, integral ISO-5211
mounting pad, and a two-year warranty.

NOx Burner Optimization Kit for All Burners

Hamworthy Peabody Combustions new Q-jet Low NOx Burner
Optimization Kit can be retrofitted to practically any existing
burner, regardless of manufacturer, to increase efficiency and reduce
maintenance. In addition, the Q-jet Kit eliminates the need to replace
complete burner assemblies just to meet emissions requirements,
saving time and money. A key feature is that the kit works with single-
burner boilers as well as multi-burner utility boilers. According to the
company, the Q-jet Kit achieves NOx reductions up to 35% on gas firing
and up to 40% on oil firing when equipped with the SPIROjet low NOx
atomizer. Lower excess air level operation can also be recognized,
which leads to a lower carbon dioxide footprint for the boiler island.

Inclusion in New Products does not imply endorsement by POWER magazine.

90 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011

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POWER May 2011
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From the editors of POWER: The online magazine devoted to
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Advertisers Index
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Ambitech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 . . . . . . . . . . 13 Membrana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 . . . . . . . . . . 30
www.ambitech.com www.liqui-cel.com
Applied Bolting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 . . . . . . . . . . 46 Mitsubishi Power Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 . . . . . . . . . . 23
www.appliedbolting.com www.mpshq.com
Atlas Copco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 . . . . . . . . . . 37 Mobil Industrial Lubricants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 . . . . . . . . . . 20
www.atlascopco.us/clintusa www.mobilindustrial.com
Baker Concrete . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 . . . . . . . . . . 21 NetJets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 . . . . . . . . . . 47
www.bakerconcrete.com www.marquisjet.com
Bechtel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Orion Instruments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 . . . . . . . . . . 40
www.bechtel.com www.orioninstruments.com
Bedeschi America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 . . . . . . . . . . 32 Paharpur . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 . . . . . . . . . . 41
www.bedeschiamerica.com www.paharpur.com
Beumer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Parkline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 . . . . . . . . . . 51
www.beumer.com www.parkline.com
Brand Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 . . . . . . . . . . 24 Petro-Valve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 . . . . . . . . . . 12
www.beis.com www.petrovalve.com
BRUKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 . . . . . . . . . . 43 PIC World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 . . . . . . . . . . . 9
www.bruks.com www.picworld.com
C.S. Osborne & Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 . . . . . . . . . . . 4 ProEnergy Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 . . . . . . . . . . 10
www.csosborne.com www.proenergyservices.com/history
Carboline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 . . . . . . . . . . 49 Rentech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cover 2 . . . . . . . . . . . 1
www.carboline.com www.rentechboilers.com
Chatham Steel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 . . . . . . . . . . 26 Roberts & Schaefer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 . . . . . . . . . . 29
www.chathamsteel.com www.r-s.com
CleaverBrooks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 . . . . . . . . . . 25 Santee Cooper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 . . . . . . . . . . 54
www.cleaverbrooks.com/engineered www.santeecooper.com/wpsale
Clyde Bergemann . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 . . . . . . . . . . 28 SICK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 . . . . . . . . . . 52
www.clydebergemannpowergroup.com www.sicknorthamerica.com
ConocoPhillips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 . . . . . . . . . . . 3 SPX Heat Transfer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 . . . . . . . . . . 45
www.conocophillipslubricants.com/PowerMag www.spxheattransfer.com
Day & Zimmerman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 . . . . . . . . . . 31 STF S.p.A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 . . . . . . . . . . 44
www.dayzim.com www.stf.it
Dow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 . . . . . . . . . . 35 Superbolt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 . . . . . . . . . . 18
www.dowinside.com www.superbolt.com
Flexco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 . . . . . . . . . . 19 Super Radiator Coils . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 . . . . . . . . . . 16
www.flexco.com www.superradiatorcoils.com
GE Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 . . . . . . . . . . . 8 TEAM Industrial Servce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 . . . . . . . . . . 39
www.ge-energy.com/flexefficient www.teamindustrialservice.com/phasedarray
General Physics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 . . . . . . . . . . 38 Thielsch Engineering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 . . . . . . . . . . 14
www.etaproefficiency.com www.thielsch.com
Grace Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 . . . . . . . . . . . 5 TurboCare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 . . . . . . . . . . 50
www.graceindustries.com www.turbocare.com
HACH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 . . . . . . . . . . 17 Westinghouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 . . . . . . . . . . 33
www.hach.com/K1100 www.westinghousenuclear.com
Hadek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 . . . . . . . . . . 22 Zachry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 . . . . . . . . . . 11
www.hadek.com www.zhi.com
Hitachi Power Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cover 3 . . . . . . . . . . 53
Intergraph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cover 4 . . . . . . . . . . 55 Classified Advertising
Pages 92-96. To place a classified ad,
Kiewit / TIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 . . . . . . . . . . 34
www.kiewit.com contact Dianne Hammes, 713-343-1885,
Layne Christensen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 . . . . . . . . . . 27 dianeh@powermag.com

May 2011 POWER www.powermag.com 99

Solving the Challenges of

Growing Energy Demand
By Brandon C. Bethards

he electric power generation landscape in both America and ogy and have improved designs that more effectively address safety,
the rest of the world is poised to undergo a fundamental security, and environmental requirements. Still, its essential that
transformation in the next several decades. Global ener- companies developing SMRs have a clear path to obtaining regula-
gy consumption is projected to rise dramatically by 2035, and tory approval through the rigorous Nuclear Regulatory Commission
the methods by which we generate electricity and the fuels we design certification and licensing process, and a sharing in the cost
choose to use will begin to change as well. of further development and licensing efforts.
Richard Newell, the U.S. Department of Energys (DOE) ad- Few U.S. utilities are in a position to shoulder the entire cost as
ministrator of the Energy Information Administration, testified well as the risk to deploy first-of-a-kind commercial applications,
in February 2011 before the Senate Committee on Energy and such as SMRs or coal-fired generation with carbon dioxide (CO2)
Natural Resources, predicting that global energy consumption capture and sequestration (CCS). Although CO2 capture has been
including electricity and oil for transportationwill grow by proven feasible in the lab and at limited scale, a full-scale project
50% over the next 25 years, with much of that growth occurring is essential to showing commercial viability at a reasonable cost.
within developing nations. Utilities obligations to investors and ratepayers limit the financial
Americas energy demands will also increase, and while the and technological risks they are able and willing to assume.
U.S. will continue to rely on fossil fuels for power generation,
Newell pointed out that America will increasingly turn toward The Importance of Public-Private Partnerships
using cleaner sources of energy such as nuclear power, renew- In the cases of both SMRs and CCS, the success of these programs
ables, and natural gas. Meanwhile, large developing nations such depends on the willingness of the U.S. government to share in
as China will increase their use of coal and other fossil fuels the risk and cost burden to develop, license, secure regulatory
dramatically. approval for, and deploy these technologies. Federal and state
These predictions create some distinct challenges in meeting governments also have a role in the successful deployment of
the rapidly increasing power demands of the world. Among those these technologies through the energy and environmental poli-
include managing global competition for limited energy resourc- cies they create.
es and developing alternative and affordable methods for power FutureGen 2.0 is an example of a public-private partnership
generation while safeguarding our environment. The approach that will help take a clean energy solution from research to
we take to confronting energy challenges in the next several reality. Ameren Energy Resources, B&W, Air Liquide Process &
years will shape our future for generations to come. Construction, and the FutureGen Alliance have teamed with the
DOE to repower a plant in Illinois, equipping it with oxy-coal
Key Solutions: New Technologies and Policies combustion technology to capture and store 90% of its CO2 emis-
In the U.S., technology and policy are two key mechanisms that sions. The DOE is providing substantial support for this project
can help us meet these challenges. Maximizing the impact of in the form of a cooperative agreement grant, which reduces the
new, innovative energy technologies, and developing energy and capital risk for the developers and makes it more feasible than
environmental policies that are effective, affordable, and practi- with private financing alone.
cal, will require significant cooperation between the public and Large-scale innovations like FutureGen 2.0 and SMRs are impor-
private sectors. tant to Americas energy future. The knowledge and lessons learned
The Babcock & Wilcox Co. (B&W) and other businesses have from the development and deployment of projects like these have the
invested millions of dollars over the years researching and de- potential to benefit utilities and ultimately consumers, thus making
veloping solutions to meet the power generation needs of the public investment a worthwhile economic endeavor.
future. We made this investment because we believe that nuclear It is critical that industry and government are aligned and
power, clean coal technology, and renewable energy sources all work together to implement clean energy technologies and en-
play important roles in helping utilities cleanly and efficiently ergy legislation that will ensure energy security, demonstrate
generate and deliver electricity to the grid. environmental stewardship, and drive economic growth. The
Even though we can foresee the benefits of these clean power technologies, policies, and regulations developed from such co-
generation options, the development and commercial deploy- operation will set the stage for addressing energy challenges we
ment of any new technology is inherently expensive and risky. face in the future. With sound input from industry, utilities, and
This is particularly true in the energy business. Support through the public, a public-private approach can blaze a path to the
policy, regulation, and funding derived from the public sector, broad deployment of clean energy and emissions reduction tech-
however, can help mitigate these risks. nologies that are both environmentally sound and affordable.
For example, several of the small modular reactors (SMRs) receiv- Brandon C. Bethards is president and chief executive officer of
ing attention in the industry are based on proven nuclear technol- The Babcock & Wilcox Co.

100 www.powermag.com |
POWER May 2011


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Hitachi Power Systems America, Ltd. 645 Martinsville Road Basking Ridge, NJ 07920
www.hitachipowersystems.us power.info@hal.hitachi.com
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