Monthly Archives: July 2009

ASME Power 2009 – My Presentation

Last week was the ASME Power 2009 Conference in Albuquerque, NM. It was a great conference. 2.5 days of presentations and exhibits, as well as some interesting (and entertaining) keynote speakers (they weren’t all engineers). I’ll try and give you the highlights here over the next few weeks (it will take me that long to find some spare time).

The first highlight has to be my presentation, of course!

Tuesday morning I presented a paper that Allen Kephart of CleanAir Engineering, Rhonda Walker of Environmental & Safety Services and I wrote. The title of the paper is:
“Energy Efficiency by Optimizing Annual Testing Schedules – Coordinating RATA Testing with Other Annual Test Requirements”

The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate the benefits of combining Performance Testing with Annual RATA (Relative Accuracy Test Audits for emissions systems). Since RATA requires you to remove your unit from Automatic Generation Control (AGC), which can be a hassle – and can also be costly, depending on the market conditions – it makes sense to get as much benefit from the unit’s load schedule during RATA as possible.

While only a few people at my presentation acknowledged that they execute annual performance tests, more and more entities are starting to require them – of course, they’re not normally called “performance tests”. They are often called capacity and heat rate “demonstrations”. For example, PJM requires an annual capacity demonstration: take any 2-hours of actual operating data and then extrapolate your measured capacity to a peak summer day condition. That will become your declared capacity for the next year. PJM uses this information for determining their reserve margins, among other things.

Your plant may also get capacity payments based on this “demonstrated” capacity – so it is in your best interest to write a procedure for the demonstration (I’ll call it a test), and make sure you setup the plant in the same way each year. Not only will you have a better chance of optimizing your capacity for the test, but you’ll also be in a better position to compare this year’s results with last year’s when you know the same number of pumps and cooling tower fans were in operation (i.e. for degradation determination).

There are a number of other things to consider when running a performance test concurrently with a RATA test. If you’d like a copy of the paper, just let me know (

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