New Forum

I’ve added forum capabilities to the blog – check out the categories by clicking on “The Forum at T2E3″ in the page list at the upper-right of this page, or visit the following link:

The Forum at T2E3

If you have ideas for new categories or have any trouble posting a question or comment, please let me know with a comment to this post, or send me an email.

Thanks for your participation!
-Tina

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Japan to Construct Combustion Power Plants – Power Technology

Power Technology reported today that Japan has collected enough wood waste from the rubble of the March 11, 2011 earthquake to fuel 5 new power plants.

Japan to Construct Combustion Power Plants – Power Technology.

Based on some gross assumptions, the 5 million tons of wood waste they’ve collected will fuel five 10 MW power plants for 12-15 years.

Assumptions include:  the wood waste has an average heating value of 6,800 Btu/lb (20% moisture), net plant heat rate is 14,000 Btu/kWh and plant capapcity factors will be better than 80%.

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Power Workshop

I will be presenting a seminar on how to calculate key performance indicators for combined cycle power plants at this year’s ASME Power Conference. 

For more information on the conference – including how to register for the workshop, see ASME’s website.

Looking forward to seeing many of you next month!

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NFPA 56 Coming to a Site Near You

As reported by Combined Cycle Journal, presentations at this year’s spring CTOTF gathering included an outline of the new NFPA 56; regulations on safe handling of natural gas piping systems – including preparation for repairs, venting and purging.

From the article, regarding the new “Provisional Standard for the Commissioning and Maintenance of Fuel Gas Piping Systems”:

“NFPA 56 provides minimum safety requirements for the commissioning and maintenance of fuel gas piping—from the point of delivery to the equipment shutoff valve—found in power plants and industrial and commercial facilities. Activities impacted include the cleaning of new or repaired piping systems, placing piping systems into service, and removing piping from service. The term “system” applies to all system components—including valves, regulators, and other appurtenances—and any segment of the system that can be isolated from it.”

The standard, which is expected to be released later this year will require new operating procedures and inspections for most facilities.  To learn more about NFPA 56 from the CTOTF presentation, visit www.ctotf.org- there should be an item on the left-hand navigation bar for “NFPA 56″.  The link opens a PDF of the presentation made by John Puskar of CEC Combustion Services Group.  A full copy of the NFPA 56 draft is included at the end of the presentation for industry review (note, this is not the official release version – that is not expected to be available until later this year).

Natural gas is a powerful commodity.  Please be safe.

Thank you again to CCJ for another timely and important article.

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7FA issue with liquid fuel lines

 Combined Cycle Journal posted an article yesterday (4/14/11) regarding a potential safety hazard on the 7FA liquid fuel lines – even when the unit is not a duel fuel unit, and fired natural gas only.

A leak around a blank flange on an unused liquid fuel port led to a pressure reduction in the combustion chamber  – which allowed the flame to move back and attach to the fuel nozzle itself.  Once the flame was attached, severe material deterioration occured.

The details, including pictures and recommendations are included in their article, here.  If you operate any 7FA’s – on any fuel – I recommend you take a look at the article’s findings.

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Engineer’s Week

Happy Engineer’s Week!

As the 60’th Celebration of Engineer’s Week comes to a close (official Engineer’s Week is February 20-26, 2011, according to the National Engineers Week Foundation [NEWF]), I was reminded this morning that Engineer’s Week is about more than just recognizing a slice of industry.  It’s about celebrating what engineers do for others.  The front page at the NEWF web site is covered with awards to engineers from various groups (NASA, National Academy of Engineers, etc.) that recognize individual engineers “whose accomplishments have significantly benefited society”.  Engineer’s Week is about reaching out and encouraging more people to get involved, and to be part of the solutions to the problems we face.  Engineers don’t just sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to ‘take care of things’ – they are actively involved in making the world a better place.

You don’t have to dig very deep on the NEWF website to find ways to participate.  Their “get involved” page lists 50 different examples and recommendations for reaching out to others, helping to solve the worlds problems and encouraging younger people to get interested in science and engineering.  There are links to volunteer opportunities with organization such as Engineers Without Borders, Mathcounts, and local schools and science centers.   It’s worth a look.

And don’t let something like an engineering degree stop you from participating.  I know many, many people who do more engineering than I do who don’t have that piece of paper.  Engineering is more a process for solving problems than anything else.  For me, it’s about helping others to be more efficient – more efficient equipment, more efficient data collection, more efficient reporting systems.  Getting more done with less effort.  Maybe I’m just lazy at heart… but my pursuit of leisure time sure keeps me busy!

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Improving GT Availability

This month’s Power Engineering magazine highlights one of the best papers of the 2010 Power Gen Conference.

See page 54 in Power Engineering, February 2011.

The whole paper can be found at PowerGenWorldwide in PDF form.

The paper gives details around MHI’s experience with increasing the availability of the M501F, but the information could be extrapolated to apply to all industrial gas turbines, and other equipment as well.

The highlights of the paper include planning for gas turbine performance from four difference angles of attack:

  1. Design
  2. Scheduled Maintenance
  3.  OEM Support
  4. Continuous Monitoring

Better designs, which include planning for maintenance, can lead to less downtime.  Especially when the designs lead to increased part longevity.  Time between repairs and/or replacements is on the rise as better coatings and materials are available.

Using experienced crews and well-tested procedures for your scheduled maintenance can lead to shorter outages overall, so your plant can get back on line – or at least available to be on line – faster.

OEM support, especially for newer designs, can improve troubleshooting efforts and may lead to upgrades in parts or services which further reduce down time in the future – especially if the upgrade means a part can operate longer between inspections.

Continuous monitoring – my personal favorite – can lead to finding problems when they’re small, and fixing small problems with a short outage – instead of waiting to find big problems later, requiring extensions on major outages if additional parts need to be ordered.

Monitoring technology is improving every year.  Neural net, or “smart” software can learn how a plant operates, then detect small abnormalities before alarm limits – or even warning limits – are reached.  Expertise is still needed to find the source of the abnormalities and solutions for getting back to ‘normal’ – but overall these new systems are effectively reducing downtime – leading to significant improvements in equipment availability.

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Integrating Renewables

Thinking about solar power and the current concerns regarding the increased costs of integrating wind power into the grid… Germany is learning first hand how grids designed for central power generation may not be adequate for significant distributed generation.

See the following article in the NewScientist:

Solar Power Could Crash Germany’s Grid

Plant and Grid operators are finding that there are minimum generation requirements on the lines.  You can’t turn a large coal fired boiler down below a safe minimum load, and if you take too many plants offline to allow solar and wind to cover loads during the middle of the day, the grid may not be able to recover when the sun sets and the air goes still – all at the same time people are heading home, re-energizing their homes and firing up the oven for dinner.

Once again it comes back to sufficient energy storage capabilities on the grid.  Whether that means pumped storage, hydrogen production, geothermal heat wells, fly-wheels or something altogether new is still a question for debate.  Maybe a mix of all the above technologies, along with a smattering of electric car batteries will be the answer. 

One thing is for certain, most have us have gotten used to having clean, reliable power.  I don’t think we’ll be willing to give it up anytime soon.

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