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July 2017 Vol. 161 No.

Vol. 161 No. 7 July 2017

Plant Scherer

Advanced Technology for

Environmental Issues
Thermal Energy Storage Options
MISO: Past, Present, and Future
Entergys 550 Megawatt Ninemile 6 CCGT power plant
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A World of Solutions
The Powder River Basin Coal Users
Group (PRBCUG) selected Plant Scherer
as its Plant of the Year. The 3,600-MW
four-unit facility is one of the largest
power stations in the U.S. Courtesy:
Georgia Power.
Established 1882 Vol. 161 No. 7 July 2017

The Future Looks Bright for Natural GasFired Power
Generation but Price Volatility Is a Wild Card 6

A Mixed Bag of Nuclear Developments in the UAE, S. Korea,
Switzerland, and S. Africa 8
European Pumped Storage Plants Are in Crisis 9
Foggy Resolution for Russia-Ukraine Gas Spat from Arbitration Court 12
Researchers: Power Plant Carbon-Capturing Calcium Carbonate
Looping Technology Almost Market Ready 13
Researchers Develop Hybrid Salinity Gradient Power Technology 13
POWER Digest 14

Advanced Turbine Dynamics Monitoring System Proven Effective 16
Personal Protective Equipment Vending Simplifies Employee Safety 17


FERC Civil Penalty Order Underscores Need for Companies
to Invest in Compliance Training 18
By Glenn Benson, Davis Wright Tremaine


Improved Maintenance Strategy and Excellent Planning
Turns Coal Plant into a Top Performer 20
Plant Scherer has a dedicated workforce, a group that combines solid mainte-
nance planning with strong execution processes. The plant emphasizes safety, 9
fire protection, and risk reduction, and has completed several capital improve-
ment projects, which are all among the reasons it has been chosen by the
Powder River Basin Coal Users Group as its Plant of the Year.

Retrofitting Electrostatic Precipitators to Meet Current Emission Limits 25
Electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) are a proven technology for particulate mat-
ter control, but current ESPs present a challenge when it comes to meeting
the latest regulatory requirements. New techniques for retrofitting power sup-
plies and other equipment offer the potential for improved ESP performance.

Humboldt Bay Generating Station: A Case Study in Emissions Control

Troubleshooting 28
Pacific Gas & Electrics Humboldt Bay Generating Station in California had a
problem. The facilitys dual-fuel reciprocating engines worked well, but the
states strict emissions rules presented a challenge for the plants engineers,
managers, and maintenance staff. That meant Humboldt Bays operators
needed to identify ways to maintain efficiency while limiting emissions, a
lengthy process they explain in great detail.
July 2017 POWER 1
New Technology Holds the Key to Reaching Carbon Emissions Targets 33
Carbon capture technology has detractors, those who say its more hope
than promise. Research and testing has continued despite the naysayers and
some solutions used in fossil-fueled power plants have been effective in cap-
turing and utilizing carbon dioxide from flue gases. Two projects in the UK
have shown they could be game-changers for the technology.

Particle Sizing in Emissions Samples by Scanning Electron Microscopy 36

It can be difficult to measure particulates in stack emissions these days, as
low particulate loads have become the norm. An alternative methodscan-
ning electron microscopyhelps solve the problem because it can be used
on very light sample collections, as little as 0.25 milligrams.

Technological Advancements in Cooling Water Treatment 39

Regulatory agencies are critical of phosphorus-based water treatment chemi-
33 cals because of their negative impact on lakes and waterways, but non-phos-
phorus products dont always work as well in treatment systems. Recent tests,
however, show a new method of treatment helps overcome those problems.

MISO: Avoiding the Mess Facing Other Wholesale
Competitive Electric Markets 42
The Midcontinent Independent System Operators (MISOs) footprint covers
much of the central U.S., and its market structure has enabled MISO to dodge
some of the economic and policy issues faced by other electric power mar-
kets. However, it still wrestles with the same market forces affecting electric
generation and distribution nationwide as it looks toward the future.

How China Is on the Leading Edge of Environmental Technologies 46
Chinas reliance on coal is not going away, but it may come as a surprise to
many that the country is not ignoring the environmental impacts of coal-fired
36 power generation. The worlds most-populated nation has taken a lead role in
developing technologies designed to enable its vast coal fleet to meet tough
emissions and climate goals in the future.

The Latest in Thermal Energy Storage 50
The U.S. energy mix is changing, and the increased emphasis on renewables
such as solar and wind means energy storage is of even greater importance.
There are three main types of thermal energy storage systems, but just one
has significant commercial availability in the power sectora situation com-
panies working on storage systems want to improve as they search for new

Coal: The Next Chapter 56
By Betsy B. Monseu, American Coal Council

If you like POWER magazine, follow us on-
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Group and the Women in Power cut Nuclear Support Bill Thwarted
Generation Group

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POWER July 2017
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POWER July 2017

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The Future Looks Bright for
Natural GasFired Power
Generation but Price
Volatility Is a Wild Card
Aaron Larson

he U.S. Energy Information Adminis- plays are located in those areas, but pipeline

T tration (EIA) earlier this year reported

that the power sector was poised to
add 11.2 GW of new natural gasfired capac-
networks are also being expanded to accom-
modate growth elsewhere.
Meet POWERs New
Associate Editor
ity in 2017. If that forecast proves accurate, Gas Price Volatility Remains Darrell Proctor joined the
it will be the largest addition in any year In its January 2017 Short-Term Energy Out- POWER team as an associ-
since 2005. Whats more, the EIA said an- look, the EIA projected that natural gas ate editor in early June.
other 25.4 GW of gas-fired capacity would prices would increase this year and next. Darrell is a long-time writer
be added in 2018. The combined additions The Henry Hub natural gas spot price (the and editor who has exten-
would increase gas-fired capacity by 8% Henry Hub is a distribution hub located in sive experience covering the energy in-
from the 2016 year-end total. Erath, La., that interconnects with nine in- dustry. Among Darrells past employers
Its no secret that natural gas has been terstate and four intrastate pipelines, mak-
are Ponderosa Advisors, Bentek Energy,
gaining market share for some time. In ing it an important pricing point for futures
EUCI, and Clarity Digital Group, as well
April 2015, gas-fired generation exceeded contracts traded on the New York Mercantile
coal power generation in the U.S. for the Exchange) averaged $2.51/MMBtu in 2016. as two city newspapers early in his ca-
first time ever in a calendar month. Since The EIA in January expected prices to in- reer. Most recently he provided profes-
then, gas has beaten coal 18 out of the crease to an average of $3.55/MMBtu in sional public relations services through
24 months for which reports are available. 2017 and $3.73/MMBtu in 2018. his own business venture, which in-
Gas has provided about 33.1% of the total The dollar-plus price increases havent cluded writing freelance articles for IEEE
power generated in the U.S. compared to materialized so far this year. The average GlobalSpecs Engineering360 platform.
coals 31.1% during the two-year period. Henry Hub spot price through mid-June was
about $3.06/MMBtu. Thats a 22% price in-
Market Drives Gas Generation crease compared to last year, but its still Palmer believes there are four major
Increases less than in 2014, when the Henry Hub aver- drivers for changing basis differentials:
Expanded natural gas production from age was $4.39/MMBtu, and its far below the changes in supply from shale gas devel-
shale formations is one of the main reasons $8.89/MMBtu gas averaged in 2008. opment, the potential growth in liquefied
that gas-fired generation has developed a However, power plants dont typically natural gas shipments, planned Gulf Coast
competitive advantage. As more gas has procure gas for the price quoted at the chemical plant investments, and swelling
been produced, gas prices have decreased Henry Hub or any other wholesale hub for exports to Mexico. Those potentially big
and remained low in recent years. Its also that matter. The price actually paid by a swings in volumes can create significant
generally recognized that less manpower is plant includes what is called a basis differ- volatility in the natural gas price basis dif-
required to operate a gas-fired facility com- ential. The basis differential factors in such ferentials, Palmer said.
pared to a coal power plant. Fuel and labor things as supply and demand dynamics spe- Most generating companies have en-
costs are often the two largest expenses a cific to a given location, pipeline delivery ergy trading risk management systems and
power plant has. Cheap fuel and less labor costs, possible short- and long-term con- hedging tools, but that hasnt prevented
means cheaper power. straints, and other influences. Basis from some pretty efficient combined cycle units
Gas-fired power plants have other cost any wholesale hub can be positive or nega- from facing financial distress. In the end,
advantages too, especially in the age of tive depending on the situation. owners must exercise caution when lever-
strict environmental regulations. Most coal- Probably the bigger issue for genera- aging assets because low prices and low
fired stations have had to retrofit units with tors, in my mind, is the changing basis dif- margins often make covering fixed expens-
expensive air quality control systems, in- ferentials and the potential for increased es difficult.
creasing capital and operating costs. volatility in those basis differentials, Char- The risk of being in this business is
Many of the gas power plants currently lie Palmer, managing director at Opportune probably going up, not going down, Palm-
under construction are located in Mid-At- and head of its Power and Gas sector, told er said.
lantic states and Texas. Thats not surpris- POWER during an exclusive interview. Op- Aaron Larson is POWERs
ing because two of the nations major shale portune is an energy-only consulting firm. executive editor.

4 |
POWER July 2017


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A Mixed Bag of Nuclear the operating license application submit- That project, whose construction began in
Developments in the UAE, ted by ENEC in March 2015, the company October 2008, and a sister reactor, Shin
S. Korea, Switzerland, and added. Until FANR approves the operating Kori 4, were delayed nearly four years ow-
S. Africa licenses for Units 1 and 2, at least, fuel ing to extended testingand subsequent
The worlds nuclear sector saw a flurry assemblies manufactured by KEPCO NF re- replacementof safety-related control ca-
of activity during April and May, though ceived in late May will be stored. Mean- bling in the aftermath of a documentation
most of it wasnt good news. while, the International Atomic Energy scandal that rocked the countrys nuclear
First Unit at Barakah Built, but Reg- Agency and World Association of Nuclear industry and prompted the government to
ulatory Delays Prevail. Initial construc- Operators also want to conduct a series of shut down reactors for safety checks, de-
tion activities for the first of four units voluntary, but independent, assessments spite power outages (see, Documentation
under construction at the Barakah Nuclear of the robustness of the operating infra- Scandal Strains South Koreas Power Sup-
Energy Plant (Figure 1) in the United Arab structure, as well as to check the profi- plies in our August 2013 issue). Shin Kori
Emirates (UAE) were completed on May 5 ciency of operational personnel. 4 is now expected to come online within
on time and on budgetwhich makes this S. Korea Halts Shin Hanul Units, the next few months.
project unique within an industry charac- Launches Energy Policy Aimed at Re- A second set of two APR1400 reactors
terized by cost overruns and delays. But ducing Nuclear, Coal Share. The Bara- that KHNP was developing with KEPCO
now fuel loading, startup, and commer- kah units use relatively new South Korean Engineering and Construction at Shin Ha-
cial operation of the unit is still awaiting APR1400 technology. According to state- nul were suspended on May 25, however,
the approval of the Federal Authority for owned KHNP, the APR1400 evolved from just weeks after the election of President
Nuclear Regulation (FANR), and that could the well-proven OPR1000 Korean Stan- Moon Jae-in on May 9. KHNP has already
take several more months. dard Nuclear Power Plant design, which applied for a construction license for Shin
The four APR1400 units are being built took just 10 years and 234.6 billion won Hanul 3 and 4, and it was engaged in site
by the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp. (ENEC) ($193 million) to develop. The advanced preparation. Unit 3 was expected to come
and Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO). design incorporates a number of modifi- online in December 2022, and Unit 4, in
KEPCO subsidiary Korea Hydro and Nuclear cations and improvements to meet needs December 2023.
Power Co. (KHNP) will test and commission for enhanced safety and economic goals During his electoral campaign as a
the units, and then Nawah Energy Co., a and to address the new licensing issues member of the center-left Democratic
joint venture between ENEC and KEPCO, will such as mitigation of severe accidents. Party of Korea, Moon signed an agreement
take over and operate the units. KHNP also noted that the APR1400 has with six other presidential candidates to
But exactly when Unit 1the UAEs been developed to meet 43 basic design essentially phase out nuclear power in the
first nuclear power reactorwill begin op- requirements, such as 4,000-MW-rated country that currently depends on its 25
erations is unclear. ENEC estimates startup thermal power, a 60-year lifetime, and reactors for about 30% of its power sup-
will occur in 2018, a timeline that reflects lower probabilities of core damage and ac- ply. The governments last 7th basic long-
the conservatism of ENECs management cidental radiation release than the coun- term power development plan for power
and Board of Directors, as well as our lo- trys OPR1000 plants. supply and demand, released in July 2015,
cal, federal and international stakehold- KHNP, which has ambitious plans to foresaw 12 new reactors in operation by
ers, all of whom stand firmly united in the export the technology beyond the UAE, 2029 in a bid to meet environmental and
belief that long-term sustainable opera- especially to power-strapped Middle East economic goals. But during the electoral
tions begin with strict adherence to nu- nations, only put online South Koreas first campaign, Moon indicated that his admin-
clear safety, it said. FANR is also carrying power plant using APR1400 technology in istration would cancel plans for eight new
out a rigorous and stringent review of December 2016 at Shin Kori 3 (Figure 2). reactorsincluding the partly completed
Shin Kori 5and also shutter Wolsong
1, a 34-year-old CANDU 6 reactor that in
1. A nuclear mirage. Initial construction activities at Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy 2015 received, after a two-year hiatus, a
Plant in the United Arab Emirates, where three other APR1400s are simultaneously under con-
struction, were concluded in early May. Construction of Unit 1 began in 2012. As of early June,
license extension to operate until 2022.
the project as a whole was 80% complete. Courtesy: Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp. Then, on June 4, South Koreas new
government unveiled an energy policy
that signals it will abruptly turn away
from coal and nuclear and toward natural
gas and renewables instead. While experts
note that an energy roadmap will still
need to be hashed out, the policy factors
in a 2.2% average annual growth in elec-
tricity consumption and calls for a giant
surge in gas-fired generationfrom the
current 18% share it has now in the total
power mix to 27% by 2030. Renewables,
including hydropower, would rise from 5%
to 20%, while coal will plunge from 40%

8 |
POWER July 2017
2011 Fukushima disaster, and Austria, from vendors last December for 9,600 MW
2. First rate. Korea Hydro and Nuclear which banned it decades ago. of new nuclear power capacity. South Afri-
Power Co. (KHNP) on December 2016 be- Switzerland currently has five nuclear cas Cabinet designated Eskom as the pro-
gan commercial operations at the Shin Kori
power plants, and the oldest one is slated curing organization for the nuclear plants
3 nuclear reactor; Shin Kori 4 is expected to
to close in 2019. Nuclear produces 35% of in the new build program, which was out-
start up next year. South Koreas new energy
policy may put the construction of new reac- its power, while 60% comes from hydro- lined in the 2008 Nuclear Energy policy.
tors in the country on hold. Courtesy: KHNP power, and roughly 5% from solar, wind, But the Western Cape High Court effec-
biomass, and geothermal. While the En- tively halted the procurement process and
ergy Strategy 2050 law does not set a firm ordered the South African government to
deadline for when the remaining plants will hold public hearings and debate the $76
be closed, it boosts taxpayer funding for a billion program in parliament. The court
fourfold increase in solar and wind by 2035 also rejected nuclear cooperation deals
to secure the tiny countrys power supplies. South Africa agreed to with the U.S. in
Swiss voters also approved stringent goals 2009, South Korea in 2011, and Russia in
to increase energy efficiency. And, nota- 2015.
bly, the law will also aid hydropower gen-
erators, who are reeling from Europes low
now to 21.8%. Nuclears share will also wholesale prices. European Pumped Storage
drop to 21.6%. South Africas Nuclear Program Plants Are in Crisis
It will mean that South Korea, which Ruled Unconstitutional. At the end of A number of baseload generators across
already imports the most liquefied natu- April, meanwhile, a high court in Cape Europe have decried the fall in average
ral gas (LNG) supplies in the world after Town declared that South Africas plan to European wholesale power prices, which
Japan, will need to increase LNG imports proceed with a nuclear build was uncon- some peg to additions of subsidized low-
by more than 50% by 2030. It may also re- stitutional because the government did marginal-cost renewable generation to an
quire mitigating taxes on gas generation, not open the process to public scrutiny. already oversupplied market, a decline in
levying them on coal and nuclear instead. The case, filed by civil-society groups coal and gas prices, and a general dip in
Finally, it may mean closing a swath of Earthlife Africa and the Southern African power demand. But coal, gas, and nuclear
existing generation. Moon has so far or- Faith Communities Environment Institute, generators arent the only ones feeling a
dered a temporary halt to 10 old coal-fired challenges the legality of state-owned financial pinch.
power plants, and further outlined plans utility Eskoms request for information In June, Vattenfall, a large European
to close them permanently. He has also
called for a review of nine new coal power
plants, some of them partly built. TRAINING FIELD SUPPORT TECHNICAL EXPERTISE
Switzerland Votes to Phase Out Nu-
clear Power. In Europe, where most gen-
erators agree with transitional measures
to phase out coal power to curb carbon
DuraSquirt DTIs

emissions (see A Double Whammy for Coal
Power in Europe in POWERs July 2017 is-
sue), nuclear power is also under siege.
During his tough, high-profile electoral Bolt with confidence!
campaign, Frances newly elected presi-
dent, Emmanuel Macron, had endorsed for- No Feeler Gage Required
mer President Francois Hollandes plan to
slash nuclear output from 72% of Frances Weatherproof
total power generation last year to about
50% by around 2025. Subsequent reports Self-Marking
suggest that Macron will be pragmatic
about the date by which France will imple- Inspection on Your
ment that target, however. Some industry Schedule
experts noted that Macron faces pushback
from nuclear power plant workers, while
others raise energy security issues. Macron
on May 5 admitted to French journal Me-
diapart that nobody knows, concretely,
how to do this.
In Switzerland, on May 22, voters made
a more concrete decision to ban new
the best way to bolt!
nuclear plants (Switzerland has a direct
democracy, which lets voters decide ma- 1 802 460 3100
jor policy initiatives). The country joins 1 800 552 1999
Germany, which aims to phase out nuclear
power by 2022 in the aftermath of the

July 2017 POWER 9
Emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) from the U.S. electric power sector have fallen a dramatic 86% since the 1970s, owing to
several factors such as the varying sulfur and heat content of coal, the heat rate of power generation, diminished genera-
tion from coal, and the growing share of coal plants that use flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems. Notably, since the
1970s when SO2 emission controls first became available, FGD costs have declined by nearly a third, and as of 2015 had
been installed on 60% of the nations coal units. By comparison, fluidized bed combustion was installed on just 8% of
units, and only three plants in the U.S. employed integrated gasification combined cycle technology. Heres a look at how
the power sectors laudable environmental achievement came to be. Sources: EPA Criteria Pollutants National Tier 1
(19702016); Environmental Quality and the U.S. Power Sector: Air Quality, Water Quality, Land Use and Environmental
Justice, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (January 2017); Energy Information Administration
Copy and artwork by Sonal Patel, a POWER associate editor
million tons

46% 1990: Clean Air Act

Amendments establish
17.5 national cap-and-trade
million tons 1980: program for SO2.

51% Increased coal genera-

tion, lower heat content,
and higher heat rates
15 1990: ramp up SO2 emissions.
million tons 52%
2000: Phase 2 of the
Acid Rain Program
12.5 begins.
million tons
20042014: Heat content declines
and heat rate increases slightly, owing
to greater production of higher sulfur
1995: Phase 1 of the coal from Illinois Basin. However, coal
Acid Rain program 2000:
10 generation also generally declines, and
million tons 52% more FGD scrubbers are installed.

2005: EPA develops Clean Air Interstate Rule

(CAIR), a cap-and-trade program to reduce
7.5 SO2 emissions beyond the Acid Rain Program.
CAIR and proposed alternatives have been 2007:
million tons 2010:
challenged in court, but they prompted 91
GW of coal-fired capacity to retrofit FGD
49% 45%
2012: Natural gas prices
5 decline sharply, and coal
million tons generation starts to fall.


2.5 37% (Projected)

million tons
2016: COALS SHARE OF TOTAL SO2 has a steep 26% decrease between
U.S. GENERATION IN 2014 and 2015, owing to low
30% THE GIVEN YEAR utilization, and coal plants are retired 30%
to comply with the federal Mercury
and Air Toxics rule.
1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s

10 |
POWER July 2017
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structuring program aimed at returning its opment on the German electricity market from Arbitration Court
pumped storage hydropower fleet in Ger- and the regulatory framework for existing Beyond the bitter disputes that have
many back to profitability. The measure storage facilities has put the countrys recently cropped up between Ukraine
comes just months after Swiss generator pumped storage facilities under consider- and Russia concerning Russias 2014 an-
Axpo booked a sizable $558 million im- able economic pressure for years. Torbjrn nexation of Crimea and the subsequent
pairment on a 1,450-MW pumped storage Wahlborg, head of business area genera- separatist violence in Ukraines Donbass
facility launched in January 2016. tion at Vattenfall, said the restructuring region, tensions have been simmering
Vattenfalls restructuring program, program is the only realistic chance to between the two countries state-owned
which is expected to be implemented by keep most of our German pumped storage energy conglomerates for nearly a decade.
the end of 2019, would mean only 2,500 plants in long-term operation. The reason: natural gas supplies.
MW of its currently operational 2,800-MW Vattenfalls struggles came to light This May, an arbitration tribunal ap-
hydro fleet in Germany would be kept nearly six months after Axpo, which is peared to have handed Ukraine a victory
online through plant operation optimiza- owned by the Swiss government, reported in a case that has high stakes for both
tion and putting single plants in so-called steep losses for a second year in a row, Russias giant gas firm Gazprom, and
transitional operation mode. That essen- owing to profitability worries at its Lim- Ukraines gas production, and import and
tially entails keeping the plant in an oper- mern pumped-storage plant (Figure 3) transit company Naftogaz Ukrayiny.
able state, though they may not always expanded last year to add 1,000 MW to an For years, Ukraine protested what it
be ready for operation, Vattenfall said. existing 450-MW plantwhich is hidden considers Gazproms inflated gas price
So far, the companys 40-MW Niederwartha above the Swiss Alpine town of Linthal. hikes and unfair fines; meanwhile, it too
plant in Saxony is already in transition- According to Axpo, profitability of has raised tariffs for gas shipped across
al operational mode, and it will soon be the Limmern plant depends on the dif- its territory. Russia has accused Ukraine
joined by the 120-MW Geesthacht plant in ference in prices for baseload power and of not paying its gas-incurred debt and of
Schleswig-Holstein. Vattenfall also plans peak power. This margin is not enough illegally siphoning off supplies destined
to reduce its pumped hydro workforce of to guarantee the profitable operation of for Europe. Erupting disputes over the
420 full-time employees by 60%. the plant, and Axpo does not expect the years have left parts of Europe in the cold,
Vattenfall, which said it has invested situation to change in the medium term, with countries such as Bulgaria, Germany,
$67 million modernizing and upgrading its it said. Even though this power plant is Greece, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia
German pumped storage plants to ready immensely important for the security of enduring a total natural gas shutoff from
them for Germanys energy transition, supply in Switzerland, it cannot be oper- pipelines running from Russia through
noted that pumped storage plants are ated profitably in the coming years. Ukraine. In 2006, Russia turned off all gas
currently the only large-scale generation One way that Limmerns profitability exports to Ukraine for three days; in 2008,
facilities with storage capacity for excess could improve in the future is if more vari- it cut shipments by 50%; in 2009, a re-
electricity from renewable energy sourc- able power is added to the grid, and Axpo newed debt spat led to a total disruption
es. It said pumped storage is important is banking on it. Balancing energy is the of supply, which lasted more than 13 days;
because the plants serve as a guarantee trump card of the new Limmern pumped- and in 2014, gas supplies were temporar-
for the electricity network stability and storage power plant with its state-of-the- ily halted owing to the Crimea dispute.
are also one of few generation systems art and flexible pump turbines, it said. The two gas companies reached some-
what of a resolution after the 2009 event,
signing a 10-year price and transit con-
3. Tears of a mountain. Swiss utility Axpos 1,450-MW Limmern pumped storage plant,
completed in January 2016, generates and stores power by shifting water between two mountain
tract. But in 2010, after a political fire-
lakes: Lake Mutt, which sits at 8,100 feet above sea level, and Lake Limmern, 2,000 feet below it. storm that ensued in Kiev, former Ukraine
The plant uses four GE pump-turbines using variable-speed motor generators. According to GE, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was sen-
to get to the plant, workers use a cable car to traverse the first 3,280 feet in elevation, at least, or tenced to seven years in jail for abusing
ride an underground funicular, which is essentially a subway line several miles long, running from her power by agreeing to Russias terms
the bottom of the mountain to the power plant.Courtesy: Alpiq Burkhalter Technik AG on that contract.
Naftogaz has since moved to wean it-
self of Russian gas imports until the case
is settled, and in November 2015, it began
fully importing gas from European Union
member states instead. Meanwhile, in
June 2014, Gazprom filed the first arbi-
tration claim against Naftogaz for the gas
debt incurred under the 2009 take-or-pay
terms of the contract. Under the contract,
Ukraine must buy 41.6 billion cubic me-
ters (bcm) of Russian gas, but the amount
can be lowered to 33.3 bcm with Gaz-
proms approval.
Naftogaz responded by filing its own
arbitration claim for having overpaid for
gas between 2010 and 2014. It also filed a

12 |
POWER July 2017
separate complaint accusing Russia of not utilizing booked transit
capacity for gas supplies intended for Europe, calling for Gazprom
to provide compensation. Ultimately, Gazprom claimed $44 bil- MAINTAIN THE FINEST STORAGE OR WORK SPACE WITH
lion from Ukraine, and Naftogaz claimed about $28 billion from
The final ruling issued on May 31 from the Arbitration Insti-
tute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce was highly watched
because it has major implications for Europes future natural gas
supplies. Ukrainian officials told reporters that the tribunal re-
jected Gazproms take-or-pay demands, which required it to
pay for volumes of gas not imported. But on June 6, the Russian
News Agency quoted Gazprom Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev as
saying They say that the arbitration court revoked take-or-pay,
its not so. They did not cancel take-or-pay (principle). GET INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC
The case concerning Ukraines elevated transit fee for supplies INFORMATION AT
to Europe is still ongoing. For now, Ukraine is pairing with Poland CLEARSPAN.COM

to develop a regional gas hub, which will have prices aligned

with European standards, as one way to end Central and Eastern
Europes dependence on Russian gas. Meanwhile, Russia is bank-
ing on Nord Stream 2, a pipeline it anticipates will come into
has been providing the most versatile and dependable
service at the end of 2019 to siphon gas from the Russian coast
industrial building.
along the Baltic Sea to the German shore, bypassing Ukraine.
This April, Gazprom and five European companiesFrances V ERSATILE D ESIGNS - Whether you need a structure that is temporary or
Engie, Austrias OMV, British-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, and Ger- permanent, for workspace or storage, there is a ClearSpan structure.
manys Uniper and Wintershallsigned an agreement on a new
C OST -E FFECTIVE B UILDING S OLUTIONS - Drastically reduce construction costs,
financing model for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. If monthly utilities and maintenance requirements, while getting a structure
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togaz, as it would slash transit flow through Ukraine.
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Technology Almost Market Ready

A novel demonstration underway at Technische Universitt Darm- is more cost-effective and energy efficient than competing pro-
stadt (TU Darmstadt), a research university in Darmstadt, Ger- cesses, they claim. Project SCARLET will now embark on tests at a
many, has shown a calcium carbonate looping (CCL) technology bigger 20-MW pilot project at the coal-firedmile Huchet power
retrofitted at existing power plants to curb emissions of carbon plant in Saint-Avold, France.
dioxide (CO2) released during the combustion of fossil fuels is We need 80 kilograms of lime to capture one tonne of CO2,
nearly ready for the market. explained Professor Bernd Epple of the TU Darmstadts Institute
The technology is part of Project SCARLET (Scale up of Cal- for Energy Systems and Energy Technology. The current process
cium Carbonate Looping Technology for Efficient CO2 Capture costs amount to around 20 to 27 euro per tonne of CO2. Other
from Power and Industrial Plants), a three-year research project processes are more expensive and less efficient. Through SCAR-
funded by the European Union to obtain reliable information for LET we have succeeded in moving the [CCL] process a major step
the scale-up of CCL. forward towards market readiness.
CCL is essentially a post-combustion carbon capture technol- The team is now evaluating concepts for the utilization of the
ogy involving two chemical reactions continuously running in recovered CO2. The university noted that the price per tonne of
two interconnected fluidized bed reactors. In the first fluidized CO2 is currently very low on the global markets. At this point,
bed reactor, the absorber, a powder of burnt lime or calcium ox- any power plant operators making use of the process would not
ide (CaO), is contacted with the CO2 in the power station exhaust be in a position to be able to sell the captured CO2 at a rate that
to form calcium carbonate (CaCO3). The calcium carbonate then would enable them to break even, let alone make a profit. It
is transferred in the second of the two fluidized bed reactors, would have to be stored or reprocessed.
known as the regenerator, where high temperatures force out the According to Professor Epple, the possibilities are vast. Were
CO2 bound as the calcium carbonate thereby producing burnt lime considering using the CO2 directly for the production of metha-
and CO2 once again, the university said. The released CO2 can nol, he said. Global market prices for methanol are higher than
then be used for other purposes or stored whilst the burnt lime those for CO2.
is returned to the first fluidized bed reactor. The material needs
to be replaced after several dozen cycles, but the depleted lime
can then be used in cement production making it a valuable raw Researchers Develop Hybrid Salinity
material rather than a waste product. Gradient Power Technology
So far, researchers at TU Darmstadt have developed the techni- A hybrid technology created by researchers at Penn State Uni-
cal prerequisites for the industrial deployment for the CCL process versity could be the breakthrough needed to advance efforts to
through testing at a 1-MW experimental facility (Figure 4). Model produce power based on the salt concentrations between two
calculations and computer simulations show that the new process water sources.

July 2017 POWER 13
are kept from crossing the ion-exchange of these processes generate a voltage, you
4. The testing facility. Technische membranes. Ion-exchange membranes end up developing a combined voltage at
Universitt Darmstadts Jochen Hilz, Jochen only allow either positively charged ions the electrodes and across the membrane.
Strhle, and Bernd Epple (from left to right) in to move through them or negatively The team said it recorded open-circuit
the carbon dioxide testing facility, which hous-
charged ions, Gorski said. So only the cell voltages while feeding two solutions
es the 1-MW calcium carbonate looping experi-
mental pilot plant. Courtesy: Katrin Binner
dissolved salt is going through, and not at 15 milliliters per minute. At 12.6 watts
the water itself. But REDs downfall is per square meter, this technology leads
that it doesnt have the ability to produce to peak power densities that are unprec-
large amounts of power, he explained. edentedly high compared to previously re-
A relatively new method called capaci- ported RED (2.9 watts per square meter),
tive mixing (CapMix) uses an electrode- and on par with the maximum calculated
based technology that captures energy values for PRO (9.2 watts per square me-
from the voltage that develops when two ter), but without the fouling problems,
identical electrodes are sequentially ex- it said.
posed to two different kinds of water with The researchers will now explore how
varying salt concentrations, such as fresh- stable the electrodes remain over time, as
water and seawater. But, it, too, isnt yet well as analyzing how other elements in
able to generate much power. seawaterlike magnesium and sulfate
Funded by the National Science Founda- might affect the performance of the cell.
tion, the Penn State researchers solution
is to combine CapMix and RED in an elec-
trochemical flow cell. The custom-built POWER Digest
flow cell (Figure 4) features two channels India to Sell Only Electric Vehicles by
separated by an anion-exchange mem- 2030. Indias power minister Piyush Goyal
brane. A copper hexacyanoferrate elec- said at a Confederation of Indian Indus-
trode was then placed in each channel, try session in April that the government
and graphite foil was used as a current plans to make all its cars electric by 2030.
Researchers in May unveiled the tech- collector. The cell was then sealed using By [that year], not a single petrol or die-
nology, which essentially seeks to gener- two end plates with bolts and nuts, the sel car should be sold in the country, he
ate power from regions where freshwater university said. Once built, one channel said. While the move could drive power
in rivers meets the seawater in oceans. was fed with synthetic seawater, while demand in the nation that depends on
Methods to capture energy from salinity the other channel was fed with synthet- coal power for the bulk of its electricity,
gradients already exist and have long been ic freshwater. Periodically switching the India has also announced it will refrain
studied. The two most successful methods waters flow paths allowed the cell to re- from building any new coal plants after
currently in use are pressure-retarded os- charge and further produce power. 2022, shifting its focus instead to install
mosis (PRO) and reverse electrodialysis There are two things going on here that a total of 175 GW of renewable capacity by
(RED). make it work, said Gorski. The first is that year. Industry experts widely suggest
In PRO, which has evolved since the you have the salt going to the electrodes. that Indias push for electric vehicles may
1970s as the most common system, water The second is you have the chloride trans- facilitate energy storage to help balance
from a low-salinity feed solution perme- ferring across the membrane. Since both the surge in solar power generation it is
ates through a semi-permeable membrane
into a pressurized, high-salinity draw solu- 5. Worth its salt. This image shows the concentration flow cell. Two plates clamp the cell
tion, and power is captured by depressur- together, which contains two narrow channels fed with either synthetic freshwater or seawater
ing the permeate through a hydroturbine. through the plastic lines. Courtesy: Penn State/Jennifer Matthews
According to Christopher Gorski, assistant
professor in environmental engineering at
Penn State, PRO is so far the best technol-
ogy in terms of how much energy can be
captured. But the main problem with PRO
is that the membranes that transport the
water through foul, meaning that bacteria
grows on them or particles get stuck on
their surfaces, and they no longer trans-
port water through them, he explained.
Holes in the membranes are incredibly
small, and they become blocked easily.
Also, PRO doesnt have the ability to with-
stand the necessary pressures of super-
salty waters, he said.
RED, on the other hand, uses an elec-
trochemical gradient to develop voltages
across ion-exchange membranes. It cre-
ates energy when chloride or sodium ions

14 |
POWER July 2017
anticipating. However, they point out that will supply two SST5-5000 steam tur- mand. Because Jordan is one of the dri-
Indias car manufacturers arent equipped bines, two air-cooled SGen5-1200A gen- est countries in the world, and the power
for such a radical change, nor does India erators, and the turbine control system plant will be built in the desert at Attarat
have enough time to set up infrastructure for the 470-MW Attarat steam power Um Ghudran, 100 kilometers southeast
to support electric vehicles. A number of plant in Jordan, which is being built of the Jordanian capital Amman, one of
industry stakeholders have urged the gov- by China Energy Engineering Group the plants unique features is that its air-
ernment to promote more research and Guangdong Power Engineering Co. as cooled condensers will save up to 90%
development on electric vehicles. general contractor for the operator of of the water needed for the plants op-
German Court Rules Nuclear Fuel the plant, the Attarat Power Co. When eration compared with the use of a wet-
Tax Is Unconstitutional. The German it begins operation as expected in mid- cooling system.
Federal Constitutional Court in early June 2020, the plant will supply enough power Sonal Patel is a POWER
upheld a 2014 ruling of the Financial to cover up to 15% of Jordans power de- associate editor
Court of Hamburg that held the nuclear
fuel tax levied to German nuclear gen-
erators despite the countrys announced
nuclear phase out in the aftermath of the
Fukushima disaster is unconstitutional.
The ruling means that nuclear generators
will receive a refund of about $7 billion
they have paid between 2011 and 2016.
The tax was levied every time the nations
three nuclear plant owners, E.ON, RWE,
and EnBW changed a fuel rod.
Eskom Synchronizes Medupi Coal
Plant to Grid. Unit 4 of South African
state-owned utility Eskoms Medupi Pow-
er Station Project in Lephalale, Limpopo,
was synchronized to the national power
grid on May 31, becoming the third of
the plants six units to come online. Once
completed, Medupi will be the fourth-larg-
est coal-fired power plant, and the largest
dry-cooled power station in the world. It
will consist of six supercritical units with
an installed capacity of 4,800-MW. The
planned operational life of the power sta-
tion is 50 years. Caterpillar Electric Power products are trusted throughout the world, delivering
GE Inks Major Agreement for Viet- backup power when the mains supply fails or constant electricity where the grid
nam Power Facilities. GE and Vietnam cannot. Our products protect business against surges, sags and power interruptions
that can disrupt daily operations or cause loss of valuable data or system capacity.
Oil & Gas Group (Petrovietnam) on May
31 signed a memorandum of understand-
Cat power solutions go beyond the generator set, incorporating systems designed to
ing to cooperate on the development of deliver reliable, quality power even in the most demanding applications. Our expert
two 750-MW combined cycle gas turbine engineers, sales and project managers work with you to design power solutions and
power plantsMien Trung I and II. If systems to meet even the most complex power needs.
built, the plants will be fueled from natural
gas from the Blue Whale Gas Field, which Supported locally by a skilled network of authorised dealers and backed by full Cat
is the countrys largest to date, having an warranty, our product and system solutions give you peace of mind.
estimated 150 billion cubic meters of re-
serves. The Mien Trung I Plant is expected To find out more about Cat Electric Power solutions visit:
to begin operations in 2023 and Mien Trung
II in 2024. GE will help Vietnam identify
the latest technology solutions to provide
higher efficiency, lower fuel consumption,
and lower emissions. GEs development
partner International Mainstream Renew-
able Power also signed a joint develop-
ment agreement with Phu Cuong Group to
develop an 800-MW wind farm in Soc Trang
province. That deal follows a 1-GW initia- 2017 Caterpillar. All Rights Reserved.
CAT, CATERPILLAR, their respective logos, ADEM, Caterpillar Yellow

tive signed with the Ministry of Industry and the Power Edge trade dress, as well as corporate and product
identity used herein, are trademarks of Caterpillar and may not be used
and Trade last year. without permission.

Siemens to Deliver Equipment for

Significant Plant in Jordan. Siemens

July 2017 POWER 15
Advanced Turbine Dynam-
ics Monitoring System 1. Test data provides answers. The Turbine Dynamics Monitoring System (TDMS)
was utilized at D.C. Cook nuclear plant after a turbine retrofit. No adverse torsional modes were
Proven Effective exhibited in the 120-Hz avoidance zone. Courtesy: American Electric Power (AEP)
Grid behavior in todays power generation
environment is a stochastic system that is Torsional strain
more variable than in the past. One com- Torsional acceleration

Power spectral density (dB/Hz)

mon issue is the response to economic
dispatch, in which formerly baseload ther- 60
mal generation units are now operating as
load-following or peaking units and incur-
ring substantive mechanical and thermal 40
stress. Operation of these units outside of
original design basis has serious implica- 20
tions for long-term component health.
Monitoring of shaft dynamics using
the Turbine Dynamics Monitoring System 10
(TDMS) can enable plant operators to bet-
ter understand risk from grid interactions 0 50 100 150 200
as well as observe changes in shaft char- Frequency (Hz)
acteristics over time that could be attrib-
uted to degradation. address the plants needs by developing the MW hold points.
TDMS Quad Telemetry, which synchronously
Utilizing TDMS in the Field captures four rotor-dynamic variables of Additional Testing Demonstrates
An Electric Power Research Institute torsional strain, tangential acceleration, Beneits
(EPRI) study is leveraging the TDMS hard- lateral strain, and radial acceleration. EPRI is now sponsoring a project at a new
ware to explore questions about shaft The D.C. Cook Unit 2 application pre- coal-fired plant in the Czech Republic to
torsional excitation caused by the modern sented a number of challenges. For ex- directly compare the TDMS data to blade-
grid. The research also investigates the ample, it was conducted with the rotor tip timing data captured from an ultrasu-
consequences of low- or partial-load oper- in-situ in the bearings, in a location of percritical fossil unit. To date, the results
ation of steam turbinesparticularly the tight axial clearance, with partial shaft ac- have indicated that one-shot torsional
effect of varied backpressure and steam cess during installation, operating inside tests are not sufficient to observe operat-
flow conditions on final stage blading. a bearing housing oil mist, and with con- ing modes of these units.
In December 2016, EPRI and Suprock cern for locally high temperatures (greater TDMS has the sensitivity and longevity
Technologies successfully applied TDMS than 250F). The installation was housed to make observations that were previously
Quad Telemetry at American Electric Pow- inside a tight, roughly 5-inch axial space impractical. The data indicates that the
ers (AEPs) Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant between an oil deflector and bearing forced torsional frequencies are not con-
Unit 2, as part of torsional frequency veri- housing wall. stant. In one example, amplitude modula-
fication after a turbine upgrade. Past at- The telemetry captured data during tion of current carrying frequencies were
tempts at torsional tests of this unit had the initial turbine startup, but it also re- observed that produce sideband torques in
resulted in hardware failures. The shaft mained online for the duration of power proximity to the expected forced frequen-
diameter and environmental conditions ascension over several weeks. This demon-
were outside of the maximum operating strated the ability of the TDMS to provide
specifications of alternative telemetry data on demand while maintaining a flex- 2. Compact, but powerful. TDMS is
systems. ible plant schedule. an accessible and affordable option for the
The D.C. Cook Unit 2 Alstom turbine The TDMS is externally powered and power industry. Courtesy: Suprock Technolo-
retrofit paired with the existing generator battery-free. After the initial roll-off, AEP
rotor did not exhibit any torsional modes engineering staff members were trained to
inside the avoidance zone near 120 Hz. operate the TDMS and continued collect-
Figure 1 shows the resulting torsional ing data without requiring telemetry tech-
data from the test. The graph shows the nicians to be on-site. The capability of the
synchronous data from both tangential ac- TDMS resulted in collateral cost savings
celeration and torsional strain. compared to traditional methods, which
The advantage of capturing both motion require an on-site technician through the
and strain is that monitoring both types of duration of data acquisition.
dynamic energy provides a better picture The TDMS interface was easy to use,
of the torsional failure modes than would said AEP engineer Jeff St. Amand. The
otherwise be observed from a single axial TDMS is passive and does not require the
installation. EPRI and Suprock were able to plant to make specific power ascension

16 |
POWER July 2017
cies. Such modulations are speculated to
be consequences of varied power factor on 3. Personal protective equipment 4. Like taking candy from a ...
the grid among other potential sources, (PPE). Power plant workers regularly need vending machine. IVMs personal pro-
PPE, but the task of doing out the supplies tective equipment vending solution is utilized
such as generator health.
can be time consuming and costly. New vend- at a number of power plants to ensure em-
The sources of these sideband torques ing options make it easier for companies to ployees have the safety equipment that they
are the subject of ongoing research. The distribute and track these vital safety supplies. need, when they need it. Courtesy: IVM Inc.
significant consequences of this finding Courtesy: IVM Inc.
may include a reassessment of frequency
avoidance band criteria accounting for
measurements of the time-varying tor-
sional forced frequencies. And it provides
a growing body of information that makes
the case for continuous monitoring of tor-
sional vibration as part of the loss preven-
tion plan for steam turbine generators.
The TDMS technology has been proven
to survive and measure data from more
than two years in service, and it is rated
to survive at 6,000 rpm with intermittent
service capabilities to 35,000 Gs.
In 2016, the TDMS was commercialized
(Figure 2) to make this development ac-
cessible and affordable. The mission of the
TDMS is to meet an industry-wide torsion-
al vibration monitoring need while offer-
ing significant cost savings. ing, wasteful, and costly.
Christopher Suprock, PhD is manager
of Suprock Technologies LLC. A Simpliied Distribution Process
In 1993, Union Pacific Railroad approached
Personal Protective Equip- Indianapolis-based IVM Inc., which was,
ment Vending Simplifies at the time, a traditional vending-machine
Employee Safety management company, to build a custom Time Savings and Cost Reductions
By many indicators, working in the power PPE vending solution. It wanted a system When it comes to PPE equipment, ordering
sector today is safer than its ever been. that could dispense items, such as gloves supplies is a time-intensive task. A survey
In 2014, the U.S. Occupational Safety and and earplugs, and track employee supply of research conducted by Grainger found
Health Administration (OSHA) found that usage. that an average of five people are involved
utilities had a lower fatal work injury rate IVMs PPE vending solutions have since in the purchasing of company supplies.
per 100,000 full-time workers than any been deployed across a variety of manu- Each purchase consists of 42 steps with
other industrial sector. facturing and industrial settingsfrom an average of six handoffs and approvals.
While thorough training and increased nuclear plants, to utility plants, to con- A single purchase order, it was shown, can
communication initiatives serve as key el- struction sites. In addition to vending ma- take an average of 90 minutes to complete.
ements of safety programs, many of the chines, IVM also manufactures lockers and Through automated recordkeeping, av-
risks inherent to this line of work have other smart supply vending solutions. erage IVM customers see their employee
also led many organizations to make per- Duke Energy, one of the largest energy supply costs drop by an average of 35%.
sonal protective equipment (PPE) an es- holding companies in the U.S., has long Additionally, many organizations within
sential requirement. subscribed to IVMs solutions (Figure 4) to the power and industrial sectors have seen
more easily issue PPE, ensure safety com- employee supply consumption decrease
Outdated Safety Measures pliance, and meet OHSA standards. In ad- 40% to 50%, thanks to more implied over-
But even with a set of written industry dition, IVM has partnerships with the D.C. sight about who requests what equipment.
standards from OSHA in effect, workers Cook Nuclear Plant and PSEG Nuclear, and By automating the process of supply
can still lose a piece of safety equipment the company collaborates with organiza- ordering and inventory management, high-
or damage an essential item over time. tions across a range of industries to help value employees are freed up for the work
Failure to provide and maintain adequate them achieve their safety goals. that matters most. Legal risks are also
PPE not only presents physical risk to em- Approved users simply walk up to a cus- mitigated by IVM machines, because the
ployees, but also could carry serious legal tomized IVM vending machine or locker, machines automatically document the dis-
and financial implications for employers. swipe their badge, and select the supplies tribution of safety equipment to employ-
Sometimes, the biggest hurdle for a they need. This eliminates most adminis- ees.
workplace is manually monitoring, is- trative steps, while stock is reported and While not as exciting as summoning a
suing, and managing the distribution of maintained in real-timeand more effi- candy bar, empowering workers to remain
PPEa problem magnified by varying PPE ciently than ordering supplies on a whim safe on the jobsite through automated
requirements across job functions and to- would be. Real-time reporting enables supply vending can be a win-win for power
tal employees (Figure 3). And tracking PPE more precise employee-supply budget sector employers and employees alike.
compliance can be difficult, time-consum- forecasting. Mike Pitts is president of IVM Inc.

July 2017 POWER 17
FERC Civil Penalty Order
Underscores Need for
Companies to Invest in
Compliance Training
Glenn Benson

he Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a allowing the units to clear the DA market when they otherwise

T settlement with GDF SUEZ Energy Marketing NA Inc. (GSEM-

NA) in February 2017, in which GSEMNA agreed to pay civil
penalties of $41 million and disgorge an additional $40.8 million
probably would not have, and enabling GSEMNA to profit from the
LOCs when the units were predictably not dispatched. GSEMNA
employed a probabilistic, risk/reward approach whereby it would
of profits to settle allegations that it violated FERCs market ma- discount a given CT units DA offer based on its assessment of
nipulation regulations when offering energy into the wholesale the likelihood the CT would not be dispatched, weighing the risk
electric markets administered by PJM Interconnection LLC. This of running the unit at a loss if dispatched against the potential
is the largest civil penalty FERC has imposed since JP Morgan and reward of LOCs if it was not dispatched.
Barclays Bank were each required to pay hundreds of millions of This strategy allowed GSEMNA to obtain DA commitments and
dollars in July 2013. LOCs at times when the units were uneconomical and would not,
FERCs penalty against GSEMNA is just the latest in a series of and should not, have cleared. FERCs Office of Enforcement con-
orders FERC has issued over a number of years involving compa- cluded that GSEMNAs strategy departed from supply and demand
nies that sought to profit by exploiting market design flaws, not fundamentals and impaired the functioning of the LOC provisions
realizing FERC would deem their activities to be market manipu- of the PJM market and PJMs unit commitment process. The of-
lation rather than legitimate arbitrage. fers GSEMNA made in the DA market did not reflect the price it
Companies participating in the U.S. wholesale electric markets wanted for its energy, but instead the price at which it could
administered by regional transmission organizations and inde- clear and then receive LOCs. This, the Office of Enforcement con-
pendent system operators need to ensure their traders, officers, cluded, was contrary to the purpose of LOCs to compensate gen-
and employees receive periodic compliance training so that they erators for lost opportunity costs due to PJMs decision not to
do not run afoul of FERCs views on market manipulation. dispatch a CT. The Office of Enforcement took the position that
GSEMNA had fraudulently gamed the market to obtain LOCs.
Lost Opportunity Costs
In its settlement, GSEMNA stipulated to having adopted and Ensure Compliance Within Your Company
implemented a bidding strategy focused on profiting from lost Importantly, companies are expected to know how FERC has
opportunity cost (LOC) credits, as opposed to from the sale of treated other investigations of possible market manipulation.
energy from 12 combustion turbine (CT) units. PJM provides LOCs FERC does not believe GSEMNA was operating in a gray area.
to CT units to give them an incentive to maintain their resources While companies increasingly are litigating FERCs decisions on
as PJM pool-scheduled resources, which allows PJM to control alleged gaming in court, FERC has made clear that it views such
their output to manage system operations and ensure reliability. trading strategies as prohibited market manipulation.
Under PJMs tariff, CTs receive LOCs if they clear the day-ahead Companies participating in wholesale electric markets should
(DA) market and are subsequently directed by PJM to reduce out- hold periodic and regular compliance training sessions for their
put or are not dispatched in the real-time (RT) market. During traders, supervisors, and managers involved in offering generat-
the time when the alleged violation took place, PJM utilized a ing resources in organized markets regarding FERCs regulations
formula for calculating LOCs that did not deduct the start-up and governing energy trading, including specific training on market
no-load costs the generator would have incurred if dispatched. behavior that may violate FERCs rules against market manipula-
This provided CTs an opportunity to earn a greater profit when tion. Trainers need to be knowledgeable about how FERC has
they received LOCs than they would earn if they were dispatched. handled specific situations and be able to delineate what is law-
GSEMNA previously expected low profits from the 12 CTs in PJMs ful and what is unlawful or of questionable legality. This will
energy market because of the infrequency with which they were allow companies to chart a course that safeguards them from
dispatched. The strategy it devised, however, would allow it to investigations, while not needlessly inhibiting them from engag-
boost the profitability of the units without changing the econom- ing in legitimate and profitable activities.
ics of the units or the frequency with which they were dispatched. Glenn Benson ( is a partner in
Specifically, GSEMNA determined that it could bid the CTs in Davis Wright Tremaine LLPs energy practice
the DA market at a discount below each units costs, thereby in the firms Washington, D.C., office.

18 |
POWER July 2017

Improved Maintenance Strategy

and Excellent Planning Turns
Coal Plant into a Top Performer

Courtesy: Georgia Power

Southern Co.s Plant Scherer was chosen as the 2017 Powder River Basin Coal Users
Group Plant of the Year based on a rigorous selection criteria, including safety, fire
protection, and risk reduction benchmarks. The plants dedicated workforce imple-
mented a strategy utilizing excellent maintenance planning and execution process-
es, and completed several important capital improvement projects that led to the
Aaron Larson

Start with a Proper Maintenance

ts not uncommon for conditions to slip plant manager in 2014.
as a power plant ages. As time progress- The plant (see opening photo) is situated Strategy
es, shiny and new turns to dull and on a 12,075-acre site in Monroe County, Plant Scherer wasnt Howzes first rodeo.
old. Previously reliable equipment begins Georgia, between Atlanta and Macon. He had worked his way up the management
to fail and, in some cases, repairs never The station has four coal-fired units with ranks through several other Southern Co.
seem to result in like-new performance. a combined capacity of about 3,600 MW, facilities, including Lansing Smith, Scholz,
As a plant nears retirement, you might making it one of the largest power plants Bowen, Harllee Branch, and Plant Wansley.
even hear an old-timer remark that the only in the U.S. Howze had seen enough to recognize what
thing holding the place together is baling Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power worked well and what could be improved.
wire and binder twine, although duct tape operates the facility for its seven owners. One of the initial observations I made
is more likely to be the glue these days. The ownership breakdown is somewhat when I got to the plant was that we were just
There is something to be said for old- complicated, with Oglethorpe Power own- making it too hard to put coal in the build-
fashioned ingenuity, but in todays modern ing the majority of Units 1 and 2, Georgia ing or in the stock-out yard, Howze told
world, completing maintenance in accor- Power possessing smaller shares of the first POWER in an exclusive interview during
dance with manufacturers guidelines is two units and a 75% stake in Unit 3, and the Powder River Basin Coal Users Group
undoubtedly a better option. Although Florida Power and Light holding the bulk (PRBCUG) Annual Meeting, which was
Plant Scherer was certainly not limping of Unit 4. Other part-owners in the various co-located in Chicago with the ELECTRIC
through life held together by twine, the units are Municipal Electric Authority of POWER Conference and Exhibition in April.
35-year-old facility had begun showing its Georgia, Gulf Power, Jacksonville Electric Why does it have to be so hard? Howze
age when Johnny Howze III took over as Authority, and Dalton Utilities. asked himself at the time.

20 |
POWER July 2017

1. Relying on gravity. Plant Scherer replaced its original vibratory feeders with the gravi-
metric design shown here. The change resulted in fewer breakdowns and more consistent flow POWER POINTS
through the system. Courtesy: Georgia Power
Key Takeaways
A good maintenance strategy
and meticulous planning are key
drivers for successful power
Good lighting isnt a luxury
its a necessity.
A positive culture change often
results when maintenance and
operational improvements are
Having the right people in the
right seats on the bus is neces-
sary for teamwork to thrive.

feeders. Im telling you, this is no small

deal, Rahm said.
The project took a lot of time and cost a lot
of money, but the results made it all worth-
while. Nick Slappy, Scherers assistant plant
manager, explained that with gravimetric
Howze said one of his fundamental beliefs is that safety revolves around good mainte- feeders (Figure 1), the plant needed fewer
is that maintenance planning and mainte- nance. When the proper maintenance is com- parts and was able to reduce its warehouse
nance strategy are key drivers for successful pleted on electrical equipment, the odds of inventory. Gravimetric feeders also seem to
plants. He believed that if the station could someone being injured decrease. When small handle wet coal better than the vibratory de-
improve its maintenance, more than just mechanical problems are corrected before sign. Slappy said wet coal continues to slide
equipment problems would be solved. they fail, there is less likelihood of collat- through the gravimetric feeders, even under
I thought we could plan our work better, eral damage. Not to mention, when workers conditions that might have posed trouble in
Howze explained. We could never seem to arent constantly having to put out fires the past. The change has reduced downtime
make a plan and stick to it. As a result, shift (not literal fires, but those regular emergen- and contractor costs, as well as cutting the
schedules were inconsistent. We were work- cies that spring up when maintenance pri- number and frequency of train unloading de-
ing large amounts of overtime. orities are continuously changing), they can lays.
So Howze directed his team to focus on actually focus on safety and take the time to One longstanding problem that the plant
improving the plants maintenance strategy. do things right. faced was an inoperable crossover gate. The
The idea was to get employees working on Improving plant maintenance and better- lack of crossover functionality limited the
the right things at the right time. Managers ing the overall operation also rallies employ- plants flexibility, making it totally depen-
took a good look at preventive maintenance ee morale. When a plant starts running better dent on one line to get coal into the build-
tasks that were recommended by equipment and faces less emergent trouble, attitudes im- ing. That affected workers ability to perform
manufacturers, and they ensured the work prove and its like a cloud is lifted from the preventive maintenance, and it immediately
was being scheduled appropriately. station. A positive change in the plant culture turned minor troubles into major emergen-
Of course, equipment can break down at is the result. cies. Andy Waldrop, Scherer fuels manager,
any time, no matter how good your preven- was first to point out the problem to Howze.
tive maintenance program. But now when Capital Projects Improve Both men believed that getting the crossover
equipment fails unexpectedly at Plant Scher- Operation gate back in service would open a whole new
er, the operations folks review the problem Refining the maintenance strategy was a world for the plant.
with the maintenance workers and planning great first step, but Plant Scherer also needed And it did. Slappy said having the cross-
staff to decide if the trouble requires im- to make some serious investments in equip- over available meant repairs didnt need to
mediate attention or if it can be planned ap- ment retrofits. Randy Rahm, president of be worked around the clockthat reduced
propriately and executed through the normal CoalTech Consultants Inc. and executive di- overtime. The crossover also allowed work
scheduling process. The communication be- rector of the PRBCUG, noted that because to be performed on the trestle, stockout, and
tween departments and resulting prioritiza- Plant Scherer is so large, when a decision reclaim, all while coal continued to flow into
tion of work has made a big difference. is made to change something, the cost and the building. Thats been a big improvement
When operators get confidence in main- scope of the job is often quite significant. for us, Slappy said.
tenance workers sticking to the plan, it just For example, after years of trouble with Another important improvement was the
begins to work and grow and blossom, said the plants vibratory feeders, management addition of an automatic washdown system
Howze. decided to replace them with gravimetric on the tripper floor. Coal dust is, of course,
One thing that should not be overlooked feeders. Plant Scherer had 112 vibratory very dangerous. If allowed to accumulate, it

22 |
POWER July 2017
per floor, however; it was also a challenge
2. Pressure wash. Installing an automatic washdown system on the tripper floor has not
in other areas of the plant. One big reason
only improved cleanliness and reduced the fire hazard, but it has also decreased labor costs
because fewer workers are needed to clean the area. Courtesy: Georgia Power was that the plants dust collector was not
doing its job. Slappy said it was recirculat-
ing dust rather than adequately removing it.
To remedy the problem, the team installed a
new Engart system (Figure 3). Just like the
washdown system, water flushes the dust to
the coal pile runoff where it can be managed

Let There Be Light!

Most people probably wouldnt place lighting
at the top of the list of improvements needed
to turn a power plant into a top performer, but
then, they might be wrong. The fact is, you
cant clean or fix what you cant see.
Howze had been part of some LED light-
ing projects at other plants during his ca-
reer, so he knew what a difference improved
lighting could make. When he was plant
3. Efficient dust removal. Plant Scherers old dust collector had deteriorated and was manager of Wansley, an employee came up
recirculating dust rather than removing it. A new Engart system was installed to remedy the to him after new lighting was installed and
situation. Courtesy: Georgia Power said, Im seeing things that Ive never seen
in 30 years!
When a 30-year veteran tells you that,
you say, there must be something to this
thing, Howze said.
Slappy agreed with the assessment. If
you havent invested in LED lighting at your
facility, I would tell you, if you transition
from what you have today to LED lighting,
you will think youre in a different world, he
told an audience of power plant personnel at
the PRBCUG event.
Upgrading to LED lighting (Figure 4) not
only helped laborers see what needed to be
cleaned, it also helped maintenance person-
nel see what needed to be fixed. Although coal
leaks have always been considered unaccept-
able and given the highest repair priority at
Plant Scherer, prior to the lighting upgrade,
leaks could go unnoticed due to poor visibility.
With LED lighting, that is no longer a problem
poses a serious fire hazard and can even lead tripper floor, then a bottom washdown sys- and leaks receive quick attention.
to explosions. tem flushes material to a drain on the floor. Weve made a conscious effort that when
Rahm noted that when he visited Plant The drain discharge goes to the plants coal you have a coal leak, regardless of what kind
Scherer for the first time back in 1996 or pile runoff where a process has long been in of megawatts youre producing, you take it
1997, workers routinely cleaned the tripper place to deal with the water/coal mixture. off. You take the mill off. You find a way to
floor using air lances, which was danger- Although the washdown system is ulti- repair that coal leak, so that you dont put
ous and ineffective because it blew a lot of mately about safety and reducing the fire anyone in harms waythat you dont cause
dust airborne only for it to resettle on sur- hazard on the tripper floor, the system also or increase the chances of something com-
faces elsewhere. Although cleaning prac- provides a financial benefit. Fuel and labor busting, Slappy said adamantly.
tices evolved greatly since that time, the new are typically the two biggest costs for most Other process improvements at the plant
washdown system takes cleaning to a whole coal plants. If a manager wants to save mon- include utilizing 3-D modeling and de-
other level. ey, the easier of the two to cut is labor, and sign technology, and taking a multiangle
The washdown system (Figure 2) was thats exactly what installation of the wash- approach to transient pressure excursion
designed with the help of Fort Myers, Fla. down system allowed Plant Scherer to do. (TPE) issues. Slappy said the 3-D modeling
based Acensium. It is operated on a timer, Rather than keeping 10 Zachary-supplied has allowed employees to get engaged in
usually during the night shift because load laborers on shift cleaning around the clock, plant design. The tool has helped determine
is generally less and there are fewer people the plant was able to cut that number by more the best places to install safety switches and
affected by the activity. First, water sprays than half. access doors, and has really added value
through a header to washdown the top of the Dust was not just a problem on the trip- throughout the operation.

July 2017 POWER 23
also takes physical steps to reduce the risk
4. See what youve been missing. New LED lighting improved safety and forced
previously unnoticeable problems to be addressed. This image shows the tripper floor before
to personnel when wet coal is expected.
(top) and after (bottom) new LED lights were installed. Courtesy: Georgia Power When risk is high, areas around coal mills
are roped off to keep personnel out for safe-
ty reasons.
Concerning plant operations, Howzes
main focus is on a handful of items. It
shouldnt be a surprise to see maintenance
strategy and leadership heading up the list.
For production, he focuses on turbines, boil-
ers, and pulverizers, calling these the life-
blood of the plant. A good control system
is also a must. Plant Scherer has a Foxboro
distributed control system, but Howze noted
that his team has some capital projects in
play to optimize the control scheme.
Last, but not least, is operations training.
The plant has a high-fidelity simulator and
requires operators to go through a rigorous
qualification process every three years. The
goal of keeping the operators highly trained
is to protect plant assets. In theory, if equip-
ment is operated properly, fewer things fail.
That gives maintenance workers more time
to focus on preventive maintenance tasks,
which also improves reliability.

Primed and Ready to Prosper

Plant Scherers performance has been noth-
ing short of spectacular. Over the years, as
environmental standards have changed, the
station has been retrofitted with some of the
most modern control technologies available.
Each of the units has low-NOx burners.
Selective catalytic reduction is used for addi-
tional NOx, as well as mercury (Hg), control.
Electrostatic precipitators and baghouses
with activated carbon injection remove par-
ticulate matter and Hg. Scrubbers remove
acid gases, such as SO2, as well as Hg.
These best-available technologies have
brought this 1980s vintage facility into the
TPE refers to a phenomenon that can oc- solution utilized ash to reduce the risk of 21st century, giving it a bright future for
cur inside a coal mill. Under certain condi- combustion inside coal mills. But perhaps many years to come. However, equipment
tions, coal can combust in a mill, which can the most useful technology implemented will only take a plant so far; after that, it
result in a pressure excursion that, in extreme was a wet-coal process logic change. The comes down to the people. As Howze put it,
situations, can cause weak areas of the mill logic monitors electrical current draw and Youve got to have the right people in the
right seats on the bus.
The thing I love about my team is that
The thing I love about my team is that they are selfless. Im blessed to work with
them, Howze said. Im just the guy that
they are selfless. Im blessed to work with showed up when we had all these things go-
them. ing on, but they really make a lot of these
things happen. They do. Ill punt out some
Johnny Howze, Plant Scherer plant manager ideasnext thing I knowthey take it and
run with it.
Rahm recalled his most recent trip to Plant
to break open. temperature in the mill to alert operators of Scherer and how it compared to his first visit,
The Scherer team has worked with sev- potential trouble. By ensuring parameters I want to tell you, its night and day, he
eral different vendors to address the TPE are within specification, the coal mill can be said. He wasnt just talking about the LED
risk. One offered an additive that could maintained in a safe state. lighting either.
be spread across the coal to make the fuel Beyond engineering solutions designed Aaron Larson is POWERs
flow better into and through mills. Another to prevent TPEs from occurring, the station executive editor.

24 |
POWER July 2017
Retrofitting Electrostatic
Precipitators to Meet
Current Emission Limits
Electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) offer a tried-and-true technology for particu-
late matter control. However, existing ESPs can be challenged to meet
the latest regulatory requirements. Retrofitting power supplies and other
equipment offers the potential for improved ESP performance.
Jose Sanchez and Tom Keeler

1. More power. This image shows a scope trace and voltage-current curve comparing

he U.S. Environmental Protection
Agencys Mercury and Air Toxics a high-frequency power supply/switched-mode power supply (HFPS/SMPS) to a conventional
60-Hz transformer-rectifier (TR) power supply. The high operating frequency of HFPSs/SMPSs
Standards (MATS) rule, which became
produces a nearly pure direct current output waveform. Source: Electric Power Research Insti-
effective in April 2015, provides emission
tute (EPRI)
limits for filterable particulate matter (PM)
and other hazardous air pollutants, such as ESP = electrostatic precipitator
mercury, acid gases, trace metals, and organ- T/R = transformer rectifier Spark-over level
ics, from coal-fired power plants. Under the
MATS rule, the maximum achievable control
technology total particulate emissions limit is
ESP voltage (kV)

ESP voltage (kV)

0.03 lb/MMBtu for existing coal-fired plants.
To meet these emissions limits for con-
trol of PM, one of the most-reliable and
often-utilized control technologies is an elec-
trostatic precipitator (ESP), which is a well-
established and mature technology. However,
as regulatory requirements have become in-
creasingly more stringent, many existing pre- Time (msec)
cipitators are being challenged to collect PM
beyond their original design specifications. ESP current (mA)
For example, some plants may now use
dry sorbent injection for acid gas control and ducted a number of studies on the effective- to be taken to attain that goal. Additional
activated carbon injection for mercury con- ness of retrofit options for ESPs to meet new steps might include mechanical repairs, gas
trol, with the expectation that the existing environmental regulations. The most recent and particulate flow modifications, addition-
ESP will remove the PM. In some instances, study surveyed power supply technology ad- al electrical sectionalization, rapper sequence
depending on ESP size and condition, the vancements, such as high-frequency power modifications, and flue gas conditioning.
ESP may no longer operate as efficiently un- supplies (HFPSs) and new three-phase low- If the ESP is found to be in good mechani-
der these conditions. and mid-frequency power supplies. The cal order, and operating near the desired
Few, if any, new precipitators are current- study also documented case studies of ESP emissions level, then replacement of the
ly being built and installed in todays U.S. retrofits at five different plants. The study and power supply may provide the best means of
coal-fired marketplace. As a result, plants its findings are described in an EPRI report, ensuring its performance.
that are seeking to meet the new limits, and ESP Upgrades and Optimization: Operating Precipitator performance is directly re-
that have sufficiently sized ESPs in good Under MATS Conditions (3002006099). lated to the operating voltages in the system,
mechanical and working condition, are aim- and the power supply is the key system com-
ing to enhance performance of their existing ESP Power Supplies ponent providing the high-voltage (HV) di-
ESPs through upgrades or rebuilds of the When a plant is considering re-powering an rect current (DC) power (voltage and current)
ESPs with newer power supplies. Modern- existing precipitator to meet an emissions directly to the discharge electrodes needed
day power supplies that deliver higher av- goal, the plant owners should first undertake for electrostatic precipitation.
erage and peak voltage operation provide a a full evaluation of the precipitator and plant
viable means of boosting the operating per- operating conditions to assess whether the Historical Development of ESP
formance of an existing precipitator. re-powered precipitator could reasonably be Power Supplies
Over the past several years, the Electric expected to meet the goal and to determine Throughout the developmental history of
Power Research Institute (EPRI) has con- what additional steps, if any, might also have ESPs, their design and performance have

July 2017 POWER 25
in power factor improvement. For instance,
2. Sectionalization. The best possible performance and reliability always occurs when
the same input power into the SMPS can de-
each bus section is powered by one properly sized power supply. In most cases, if the existing
TRs are in good condition, the most cost-effective approach to upgrading performance is to liver 20% to 30% more output power than a
sectionalize the precipitator using new HFPSs on the inlet fields and reusing the existing TRs to conventional single-phase TR and power sav-
sectionalize the outlet fields. Frequently, the existing TRs can be left in place, and new bus bars/ ings can be realized. The high-frequency op-
cables can be utilized to reconnect to the intended field. Source: EPRI eration also results in quicker response time
to circuit disruption (sparking). The result is
more power applied to the precipitator field
(Figure 1).
HFPSs integrate all the main circuit com-
ponents, including the transformer, rectifier,
and controller, into a single, compact unit
that is comparatively lightweight. Their op-
eration also offers greater control flexibility.
The reliability of the HFPSs is now
nearly on par with the conventional 60-Hz
TR and circuit components. However, this
was not always the case. When they were
first introduced, and as they grew in size ca-
pacity, problems occurred related to power
quality, harmonics, and voltage transients
on the power lines; high-voltage transients
due to sparking/arcing and poor grounding;
inadequate cooling, leading to overheating;
and high-temperature failures. These prob-
lems tended to be site and installation spe-
cific. They have been largely overcome, and
been limited by the rating and design of the fier components are housed together in a HFPSs are now well-accepted as a reliable
power supplies. As the power supply and cir- single dielectric oil-filled tank that is sealed product for increasing precipitator power.
cuit component design improved and higher and suitable for outside use. The TRs are of
voltages were achievable, ESP designs robust design and are manufactured specifi- New Technologies: Three-Phase
evolved to utilize the high voltages and cur- cally for the conditions unique to the ESP Low- and Mid-Frequency Power
rents by increasing the collecting plate-to- application. The power supplies are designed Supplies
discharge electrode spacing, increasing the to operate with an incoming voltage ranging A number of other technologies have been
total collecting area connected to one power from 400 V to 600 V, single phase, at either introduced in the past few years and are be-
supply, and modifying the discharge elec- 50 Hz or 60 Hz. ing used in ESP retrofits. These technolo-
trode geometry. gies include three-phase TRs and controls
The earliest power supplies used a step- High-Frequency Power Supplies operating at 180 Hz, and mid-frequency
up transformer to generate high voltage with At present, the most commonly used power TRs and controls that operate in the 100-Hz
a separate rectifier component. Mechanical supply in ESP retrofits and upgrades are HF- to 400-Hz range. Like the HFPS, the goal of
rectification was the first option available PSs. Unlike conventional single-phase TRs these power supplies is to increase the av-
for converting alternating current to DC. that operate at 60 Hz, three-phase HFPSs erage kV closer to the peak kV in the ESP
Mechanical rectifiers function through the operate at considerably higher frequency lev- to improve power. Also, like the HFPS, the
use of multiple switches that are opened and elsup to 35 kHz. These power supplies be- mid-frequency power supplies rely on use
closed to alter the electric path of the elec- came available around 1994 and are typically of IGBT switch technology.
tric current. referred to as switched-mode power supplies While the voltage ripple reduction and
Vacuum tube rectifiers, introduced in the (SMPSs) or HFPSs. performance enhancement capabilities of
1950s, were a breakthrough that permitted The main components allowing the these lower-frequency power supplies are
DC electrostatic precipitation to become power to be switched at high frequency are not comparable to that of HFPSs, they are
more practical. The tubes were fairly large insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs), still able to attain significant ripple reduc-
because of the high voltages needed and were which have been improved over the past two tion with the design intent of avoiding the
typically glass enclosures. The tube rectifiers decades to allow high power levels to be complexity of HFPSs and preserving the
offered a quantum improvement in reliabil- achieved and to improve reliability. These proven reliability associated with the con-
ity and practicality over mechanical rectifi- power supplies operate at approximately the ventional single-phase, 60-Hz power sup-
ers. The disadvantages of tube rectifiers, as same peak kV levels as the conventional TRs ply.
compared to solid-state rectification, are the they replace, but due to the higher frequency, These new technologies are not integrat-
relatively high cost, limited life cycle, and they maintain average kV levels that are sig- ed like HFPSs. They comprise a separate
excessive heat created by the filament. nificantly higher than the average kV levels TR, a separate control cabinet, a switch as-
Transformer rectifiers (TRs), using silicon attained with a conventional single-phase, sembly that is usually housed in the control
diodes for rectification of the HV output of 60-Hz power supply. cabinet, and a current-limiting reactor that
the step-up transformer, were first used in The change from a single-phase circuit to may be located in the TR set, the control
the 1960s and have been the standard for a three-phase circuit provides better balance cabinet, or in a separate enclosure. These
many years. The HV transformer and recti- for the electrical load, and this tends to result power supplies offer greater compatibility

26 |
POWER July 2017

Table 1. Five retrofits. EPRI studied five plants that retrofitted their electrostatic pre-
cipitators (ESPs). This table provides some details associated with each project. (kacfm = thou-
sands of actual cubic feet per minute) Source: EPRI

Unit size collection Typical
(MW area (ft2/ opacity
gross) Fuel kacfm) Retrofit description (%)
2 x 1,200 Low-sulfur eastern 262 ESP sectionalized on first two fields and 23
bituminous coal upgraded with 32 high-frequency power
supplies (HFPSs), upgraded controls,
grounding, and load center.
2 x 423 Eastern bituminous 495 Units retrofitted with 16 HFPSs, up- 23
coal and Powder graded cables, automatic voltage control Content Licensing for
River Basin coal blend (AVC) boxes, and communications.
Every Marketing Strategy
550 Coal blend 445 Units retrofitted with 32 HFPSs, up- <10
graded communications, cables,
and distribution transformers. Marketing solutions it for:
Outdoor Direct Mail
550 Eastern bituminous 312 Units retrofitted with 32 HFPSs, up- <10
coal and Powder graded communications, cables, Print Advertising Tradeshow/
River Basin coal blend and distribution transformers. Also POP Displays Social Media
modifications to AVC controls.
Radio & Television
112 Eastern bituminous 266 Units partially sectionalized and <7
coal and Powder retrofitted with four three-phase power
River Basin coal blend supplies, decreased rapper density, and
computer and control upgrades.

with existing ESP equipment, such as volt- equipment described in the EPRI report offer
age controls, rapper controls, and superviso- the potential for improved ESP performance
ry controls. Cost, availability, and predicted and should be considered when an existing
reliability may make these power supplies precipitator is in need of a performance up-
more attractive than HFPSs. grade or the existing conventional TR sets
are in need of replacement.
Case Studies Voltage-current curves generated from
The most recent EPRI study documented five ESP operating data (secondary voltage
case studies of plants retrofitting their ESPs. versus secondary current) and computer
The plants involved were of the following modeling can be used to predict potential
designs: performance enhancement and the best
Logo Licensing | Reprints
new power supply configuration. Exact
Two 1,200-MW units with one-third of the performance will depend on the size of the Eprints | Plaques
ESP sectionalized and retrofitted with a ESP, the fuel quality, and consequently its
HFPS. particulate properties. Process conditions, Leverage branded content
Two 423-MW units retrofitted 100% with including the application of sorbents for en- from Power Magazine to
HFPS. vironmental control, flue gas and particulate create a more powerful and
One 550-MW unit retrofitted 100% with distribution, and other site-specific condi- sophisticated statement
HFPS. tions, will affect results. about your product, service,
One 550 MW unit retrofitted 100% with The new power supplies are not a pana-
or company in your next
HFPS. cea for an ESP that is in poor mechanical
One 112-MW unit sectionalized and ret- condition, but for precipitators that are in marketing campaign.
rofitted with a three-phase low-frequency reasonably good mechanical condition, they Contact Wrights Media to
power supply. offer a viable means for performance en- ind out more about how
hancement. For some ESPs, they can be the we can customize your
Some of these case studies also involved difference between a marginally compliant acknowledgements and
increased electrical sectionalization, which ESP and a reliably compliant ESP at sub- recognitions to enhance your
enhances the collection efficiency of the stantially less cost than adding collecting
marketing strategies.
various fields across and through the ESP surface area or a polishing unit.
(Figure 2). The case studies are summarized Jose Sanchez ( For more information, call
in Table 1. is technical leader for the Integrated Wrights Media at 877.652.5295
Environmental Controls Program in EPRIs or visit our website at
Potentially Improved ESP Generation Sector, and Tom Keeler
Performance ( is president
All of the new power supplies (HFPS, three- of TRK Engineering Services,
phase low- and mid-frequency) and other which specializes in ESPs.

July 2017 POWER 27
Humboldt Bay Generating Station:
A Case Study in Emissions Control
It can be a challenge to keep emissions in check while operating dual-fuel recip-
rocating engine technology during low-load conditions. However, doing
so is especially important under Californias strict emissions requirements.
The Humboldt Bay Generating Station team did just that by taking a crit-
ical look at multiple emissions control systems and identifying several
process modifications that improved overall plant performance.
Silas Biggin, Chris Brittain, Chuck Holm, Jill Lorenc, and Scott Washington

1. Reciprocating engines. Humboldt Bay Generating Station (HBGS) has 10 Wrtsil

umboldt Bay Generating Station
(HBGS) is a Pacific Gas and Electric W18V50DF A dual-fuel type reciprocating engines. Courtesy: HBGS
(PG&E) owned and operated facil-
ity consisting of 10 Wrtsil W18V50DF A
engines. The plant is situated on Humboldt
Bay in northern California. Each four-stroke
engine is capable of producing 16.7 MW
(gross) to provide a combined station net
output of 163 MW.
The 10 engines feed two 60-kV local
distribution lines and one 115-kV transmis-
sion line. Bus-tie breakers located prior to
the step-up transformers allow reconfiguring
engines to other line resources, as necessary.
Each engine is capable of operating between
full load and the permit minimum load of 10
MW. The station entered commercial opera-
tions in September 2010.
HBGS was constructed to replace an ag-
ing gas-fired boiler facility residing on the
same property. Dual-fuel type reciprocating
engines (Figure 1) were chosen for three
main reasons: Humboldt Countys relative
remoteness; lack of redundancy in the natu-
ral gas supply; and the risk of natural gas the combustion air on the intake stroke, and ple, 10 engines operating at the same time at
curtailment during cold weather. The engines pilot fuel is injected just prior to the pistons any load in diesel mode can only operate for
normally operate on natural gas with a small reaching top dead center on the compression 100 hours. In addition, the facility is only al-
amount of light fuel oil (LFO or diesel fuel). stroke. The fuel ignites during compression. lowed to operate an engine in diesel mode for
However, during emergencies all engines are The pilot fuel needed to ignite the gas certain conditions listed in the permit, such
capable of operating solely on LFO. is extremely small when compared to the as during gas curtailments, testing, and rou-
amount of natural gas utilized to generate the tine maintenance tasks that cause common
How It Works electricity. Full-load dual-fuel pilot fuel con- gas supply components to be out of service.
Burning natural gas in a diesel-cycle en- sumption is approximately three gallons per The engine control system allows a
gine requires the use of either a spark plug hour per unit compared to full-load operation seamless transfer to full-diesel operation,
or small amount of LFO to ignite the natu- diesel fuel consumption of approximately if the control system detects combustion
ral gas. Operating in dual-fuel mode, each 850 gallons per hour per online unit. anomalies or if gas flow is suddenly inter-
engine is required to utilize California Air Even though each engine is capable of rupted to the engines. Because of the limited
Resources Boardcertified LFO as pilot fuel operating on liquid fuel only, the HBGS air amount of diesel-mode operation this article
to ignite the natural gas burned in the cylin- permit only allows 1,000 hours of diesel op- will focus on issues resulting from dual-fuel
der. The natural gas enters the engine with eration on a rolling annual basis. For exam- operation only.

28 |
POWER July 2017
(exhaust) gasses flowing through the A and is common practice to add an SCR catalyst
2. Station catalyst. Flue gases flow B bank turbocharger turbines to control the layer or oxidation catalyst layer to improve
through layers of catalyst to reduce unwanted
emissions. Courtesy: HBGS
charge air pressure by bypassing combustion performance. It is not possible to add an ad-
gases into the exhaust pipe downstream of ditional NH3 slip catalyst layer, however. The
the turbocharger. The combustion gas tem- original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
perature leaving the turbocharger turbines is supplied emission control system does not
approximately 820F. have an open layer to add NH3 slip catalyst
Exhaust from the A bank and B bank tur- because the chemistry involved in the ROM-
bocharger turbines combines into a single style NH3 slip catalyst does not support two
exhaust pipe and 19% aqueous ammonia layers in series.
(NH3) is injected into the exhaust pipe a short Precise NH3 injection is critical to the
distance beyond that point. The combina- proper operation of the catalyst layers. Insuf-
tion NH3 and combustion gas mixture flows ficient NH3 flow into the SCR layers makes
through a mixing chamber inserted into the them incapable of destructing the raw NOx to
approximately 70-inch-diameter pipe about the desired levels. Excessive NH3 flow will
The HBGS air permit was issued to meet 15 feet prior to multiple rows of catalyst con- not affect the ability of the SCR layer to de-
the requirements of Title 40 Code of Federal tained within a single housing. The exhaust struct the NOx; however, it can overwhelm
Regulations Part 60, as well as requirements gas enters the housing at approximately 820F. the NH3 slip catalyst. If the over-injected
set forth by the Environmental Protection The catalyst (Figure 2) consists of two NH3 is greater than the capacity of the NH3
Agency, North Coast Air Quality Manage- rows (layers) of selective catalytic reduction slip catalyst, the excess NH3 flows through
ment District, and the California Energy (SCR) where raw NOx is destructed. The ex- the NH3 slip catalyst layer and is oxidized to
Commission. The permit is extensive (43 haust gas then flows through one row (layer) NOx in the oxidation catalyst layer. If the oxi-
pages) and addresses many pollutants. How- of NH3 slip catalyst where the excess NH3 dation catalyst becomes overwhelmed with
ever, for purposes of this article only nitro- is removed. Immediately following the NH3 the increased NOx, CO destruction will be
gen oxides (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO) slip catalyst one row (layer) of oxidation reduced, also resulting in high CO emissions.
emission troubleshooting and resolution are catalyst destructs the raw CO (Figure 3). At Proper NH3 injection is heavily dependent
addressed. full load the exit temperature is slightly lower on fine flow control and proper mixing in the
The dual-fuel NOx emission limit is 6 parts than inlet temperature. exhaust pipe. Each engine utilizes a dedicat-
per million (ppm), corrected to 15% oxygen, Significantly, the catalyst installed at ed NH3 injection system capable of injecting
on a one-hour average, and the CO emission HBGS does not follow the conventional cata- more than 500 liters per hour (l/hr) of 19%
limit is 13 ppm (corrected to 15% oxygen) on lyst order. Conventional catalyst installation aqueous NH3 in full-diesel mode and 20 l/hr
a three-hour rolling average. The pilot heat order is oxidation catalyst for CO removal, to 80 l/hr of 19% aqueous NH3 in dual-fuel
limit, which is 0.8 MMBtu/hr (three-hour followed by NH3 injection, followed by SCR mode. The NH3 flow requirement is depen-
rolling average), is also important when dis- catalyst for NOx removal. The benefit of the dent on raw gas NOx levels from the engine.
cussing NOx and CO limits. HBGS installation is no or very low NH3 In other words, the NH3 control system has
slip, allowing the facility to be installed in an approximate turndown ratio of 10:1 when
Process Explanation close proximity to population areas with no operating in diesel versus dual-fuel mode.
Combustion air (charge air) enters along danger of foul smelling NH3. An additional NH3 is supplied to each engine exhaust
both sides of each engine through a turbo- benefit is the elimination of continuous NH3 pipe from a common supply header at 80 psi.
charger-driven compressor. A waste gate slip monitoring. A single flow control valve (Figure 4) capa-
regulates turbocharger speed to control Hug Engineering supplied the exhaust ble of supporting diesel and dual-fuel opera-
combustion air (charge air) pressure at ap- catalyst, which consists of two layers of SCR tion regulates NH3 to each engine based on a
proximately 30 psi. High-pressure combus- brick, one layer of reduction/oxidation mate- NOx value measured immediately following
tion air exits each turbocharger compressor rial (ROM, NH3 slip catalyst) brick, and one the two SCR layers.
into charge air coolers to remove heat gained layer of oxidation catalyst brick. The SCR
during the compression process. The charge brick receives the NH3 and raw NOx exhaust 3. Emissions control equipment.
air leaves the charge air cooler and enters a gas and creates the reduction reaction result- Inside the ductwork, shown here, HBGSs
catalyst consists of two rows of selective
common charge air receiver installed along ing in water (H2O) and nitrogen (N) at the
catalytic reduction for NOx destruction, one
the upper engine block and situated between catalyst outlet. CO is not reduced in the SCR. row of ammonia slip catalyst, and one row
the A bank and B bank cylinders. The exhaust gas mixture (H2O, N, CO, and of oxidation catalyst for raw CO destruction.
During operation, 115F charge air and NH3 slip) enters the NH3 slip catalyst brick Courtesy: HBGS
natural gas enter the cylinder on the intake where the NH3 slip is removed. In the Hug
stroke. As mentioned previously, a small Engineeringsupplied ROM brick the NH3 is
amount of pilot fuel is injected during the first oxidized, producing some NOx, and then
compression stroke to ignite the natural immediately reduced to convert the produced
gas. The combustion gas mixture exhausts NOx to H2O and N. Then the exhaust gas
into a common exhaust header at approxi- mixture (H2O, N, and CO) enters the oxida-
mately 930F. tion catalyst brick where CO is oxidized to
The combustion gas splits to supply the A produce CO2.
bank turbocharger turbine and the B bank tur- The exhaust catalyst system is equipped
bocharger turbine. As mentioned previously, with two empty layers, one for the SCR
a single waste gate (air-actuated butterfly brick, and one for the oxidation brick. As
valve) regulates the amount of combustion catalyst system performance deteriorates, it

July 2017 POWER 29
included engines with lower operating hours.
4. Ammonia (NH3) addition. NH3 injection is controlled by a single flow control valve,
At that time, the engine with the most operat-
which posed problems for the original valve when operating at low loads. Courtesy: HBGS
ing hours had 24,000 hours, while the engine
with the least hours was at 6,000.
Plant operators began having trouble
keeping NOx and CO within emission limits.
The loads at which NOx and CO would in-
crease were somewhat random, but in gener-
al, it was more difficult to remain compliant
at lower loads than at higher outputs.

Focusing on Improvement
To remedy the trouble, plant staff concen-
trated on several items.
Ammonia Flow Control. Hug Engineer-
ing supplied predictive spreadsheets that in-
dicated the possibility of higher NOx during
over-injection situations (Figure 6). As raw
NOx levels decreased, plant personnel ob-
served that it was more difficult to maintain
compliance with NOx and CO limits. That in-
dicated NH3 over-injection was greater at the
5. Injection system. HBGS injects a 19% aqueous NH3 solution into the exhaust pipe to low raw NOx levels.
control NOx emissions. Courtesy: HBGS Plant operators tried manually throttling
NH3 supply valves to reduce over-injection,
and they were able to reduce NOx and CO
emissions significantly (Figure 7). Automatic
flow control valves were stroked and tuned
without success. The original flow control
valve was incapable of turning down enough
to control NH3 flow at the low-flow values
needed for dual-fuel operation.
Plant engineers identified a dual-range
flow control valve compatible with the ex-
isting NH3 control system. The original NH3
control valve was single stroke with a single
valve seat. That required the single valve to
control the full range (diesel operation and
dual-fuel operation) of NH3 flow.
The new control valve has a variable flow
coefficient, which allows fine control at the
low flows required when operating at lower
loads while in dual-fuel mode while still
maintaining the high flow capacity required
for diesel operation. Once calibrated, the du-
Immediately following the single flow load of 10 MW. al-range flow control valve provided a signif-
control valve, the NH3 injection system splits Wrtsil technicians were able to tune the icant improvement at low loads and reduced
into two separate streams to supply two NH3 engines and achieve pilot heat values below NH3 over-injection significantly. By install-
injectors inserted into the engine exhaust 0.8 MMBtu/hr at minimum load. However, ing the dual-flow control valve the facility
pipe (Figure 5). Rotameters installed in the reducing pilot heat values to meet permit avoided the expense of installing a low-flow
NH3 injection lines provide flow indication to requirements caused the CO emissions to control system in parallel with the high-flow
each injector. Needle valves installed down- increase closer to the permit limit and in- control system.
stream of each rotameter provide the ability creased the instances of the engine automati- The engines continue to operate with some
to equalize flow, as needed. Each injector is cally transferring from dual-fuel operation to over-injection because the mixing system is
supplied atomizing and purge air. diesel operation due to low exhaust tempera- sized to handle NH3 flow rates required for
ture from random cylinders. diesel operation. The facility continues to ex-
Challenges Although the plants permit limits opera- plore NH3 atomization and injection options
Prior to 2014, HBGS had difficulty operat- tion below 12.5 MW to 80 hours aggregate that will provide greater control.
ing engines below 14.5 MW, because the pi- per day, the facility began cycling load be- Tuning. Wrtsil technicians were con-
lot heat value would increase to the permit tween full load (16.7 MW) and 10 MW in sulted to tune the engines. Technicians were
limit (0.8 MMBtu/hr). The engine OEM was July 2014. Within a year, emissions from all limited in their ability to tune out high NOx
brought in to tune the engines, allowing the engines were deteriorating at a rate greater or high CO. Tuning an engine to reduce NOx
facility to operate at the minimum permit than had been previously experienced. This emissions will typically raise CO emissions,

30 |
POWER July 2017
tion layers had high efficiency even though
6. High NOx during over-injection. Over-injection of NH3 resulted in NOx increasing
the CO emission level was nearing permit
through the oxidation catalyst brick. Courtesy: HBGS
The CO catalyst efficiency is highly de-
pendent on NH3 slip catalyst efficiency. The
engine is capable of meeting CO emissions
limits with a highly efficient NH3 slip cata-
lyst and degraded CO catalyst. However, the
CO limit is reached sooner if the NH3 slip
catalyst efficiency deteriorates in conjunc-
tion with CO catalyst efficiency deteriora-
tion. For example, with a less efficient NH3
slip catalyst, meeting air permit emissions
limits became difficult once the oxidation
catalyst efficiency dropped below 90%.
Tests across the oxidation catalyst indi-
cated that NOx was increasing. The test re-
sult provided verification that the NH3 slip
catalyst efficiency had deteriorated, allowing
NH3 to enter the oxidation catalyst, thereby
causing some of the oxidation catalyst capac-
ity to be used converting NH3 to NOx.
Hug Engineering reviewed the catalyst
7. Optimal injection. By manually throttling NH3 supply valves, injection was optimized
and NOx remained in check. Courtesy: HBGS performance numbers and recommended that
the facility start replacing NH3 slip catalyst
for engine systems having difficulty main-
taining limits. Hug Engineering concluded
that the installed NH3 slip catalyst was not
destructing the NH3 slip, causing the follow-
ing oxidation layer to load up with excess
NH3. The result was higher NOx and higher
CO emissions.
Hug Engineering recommended adding
an oxidation catalyst layer, if the CO emis-
sions continued to operate near the permit
limit, and adding an SCR catalyst layer, if
NOx emissions approached permit limits.
HBGS has been following Hug Engineer-
ings recommendations with good success.
HBGS purchased two sets of NH3 slip cat-
alyst from Johnson Matthey, principally due
to the lack of available Hug-supplied ROM-
type NH3 slip catalyst. The Johnson Mat-
and reducing CO emissions will tend to in- air pressure swings 2 psid or more. theysupplied NH3 slip catalyst performed
crease NOx emissions. Engines operating The Wrtsil technician was able to tune as well as Hug Engineeringsupplied ROM
close to the emissions limit had limited suc- the engines to provide a more controllable catalyst.
cess with tuning due to the opposing nature emission stream. As a result, the station de- Due to the rapidly changing emissions
of NOx production versus CO production. cided to schedule engine tuning annually, control system equipment health, HBGS has
A very important tuning goal was to have even though the OEM doesnt believe en- been performing quarterly efficiency tests as
a steady raw NOx output from an engine. gine tuning changes over time. Nonetheless, opposed to the annual efficiency tests per-
Erratic raw NOx production causes the NH3 HBGS staff has observed that the overall formed previously. In addition, a vendor was
injection system to hunt for the proper flow system can experience changes, and the team contracted to perform the efficiency tests to
rate, resulting in almost constant over-in- feels it is important to tune the engines to op- gain more consistency in the testing. Previ-
jection. timize the entire system. ously an operator was assigned to perform
The Wrtsil technician tuned the engines Catalyst Health. The facility monitored the efficiency tests, which introduced the
to obtain steady raw NOx output at given catalyst efficiency by measuring the NOx possibility of inconsistent sampling.
loads. An important component in the tun- and CO levels across each layer. NH3 slip re-
ing process was the waste gate controlling duction across the NH3 slip catalyst was not Changes Improve Operation
charge air pressure. The waste gate is a but- monitored. HBGS contracted with Environex Inc. to
terfly valve bypassing exhaust gas around the Performance tests across the two SCR analyze catalyst performance and operation.
turbocharger turbine to control turbo speed layers indicated that NOx reduction had not Three areas of concern were identified dur-
and therefore compressor output pressure. deteriorated much in any of the engines. Per- ing the analysis.
NOx control becomes difficult if the charge formance tests also indicated that the oxida- Operating Temperatures. Analysis of

July 2017 POWER 31
catalyst material confirmed that the HBGS tions, it has been difficult to predict catalyst turbines to control charge air (combustion
catalyst was a titania-type material with an life accurately at HBGSit is one of the first air) pressure. Operating experience indicated
850F maximum allowable continuous op- dual-fuel plants built and operating in a heav- that a charge air pressure swing of 2 psid or
erating temperature. Prior to July 2014, en- ily cycling configuration (multiple starts, greater would cause the NH3 injection con-
gine load had been kept between 14.5 MW low load). Hug engineers had not seen such trol system to over-inject, resulting in higher
and full load. The result was that the catalyst rapid catalyst deterioration at other facilities, stack NOx values.
temperature remained below 850F. How- most of which are spark gas (not dual-fuel) At HBGS, all charge air pressure swings
ever, after July 2014 the peak catalyst tem- or are baseload stations. Engines used in the have been the consequence of a malfunc-
perature increased to 870F when the engines shipping industry typically operate at 75% tioning waste gate. Once the waste gate
operated at minimum permit allowable load. capacity while steaming. One positive de- swing was eliminated, the result has been
Tests performed by Environex found that velopment, however, is that throughout these more stable emissions and more stable NH3
the first catalyst layer had sustained con- efforts HBGS staff has gained valuable expe- flow control.
siderable damage and degradation due to rience predicting catalyst degradation and the Additionally, engine temperature control
the higher operating temperatures, which order of replacement. swings also cause emissions swings. In that
could account for the increased emissions Structural Damage Caused by Ther- case, CO and NOx can swing and result in loss
performance degradation noticed by station mal Cycling. The engines have between of NH3 control. However, temperature control
personnel. 1,400 and 1,600 starts since commission- issues have proven to be rare at HBGS.
HBGS staff was confident that Wrtsil ing. High cycle rates combined with the
technicians could tune the engines to operate high catalyst inlet temperature at low load Catalyst Brick Availability
at lower outlet temperatures, so tuning was has caused brick damage, such as crushing Catalyst brick availability is highly volatile.
scheduled for completion in late spring 2017. at the bottom brick rows, and resulted in In HBGSs experience, catalyst suppliers do
Tuning engines to lower exhaust tempera- gaps opening above the top brick rows. En- not maintain large catalyst brick inventories.
tures was expected to result in increased CO gines are taken off-line periodically to clean Orders placed by other facilities often de-
and decreased NOx. the brick and to plug gaps identified during plete stocks, resulting in lead times of three
The testing ultimately concluded that ex- inspections. months or more.
cellent emissions control equipment health High-temperature non-titania-based SCR HBGS has developed relationships with
was critical for dealing with higher CO pro- catalyst is available. HBGS staff intends to three different catalyst suppliers familiar
duction while not exceeding permit limits. consult with Wrtsil and catalyst suppliers with engine-based generation. In addition,
Catalyst Poisons. Another problem dis- to identify high-temperature catalyst that is the plant has started looking into the fu-
covered during the Environex study was so- compatible with its operating conditions, if ture more than usual to maintain in-house
dium and calcium poisons found on the first such catalyst is available. inventory levels higher than originally rec-
layers of the catalyst. ommended.
HBGS is situated on the east shore of NH3 Flow Control
Humboldt Bay, directly across from the en- The plants originally supplied NH3 flow A Successful Effort
trance channel. Large waves regularly break control hardware did not allow good NH3 In HBGSs case, there was almost no pre-
upon the rock breakwater just west of the flow control at low engine loads in dual- vious operating experience to draw upon.
facility, causing a salty spray to spread over fuel operation. In addition, the injectors, HBGS is one of the first facilities utilizing
the plant. Although the source of the poisons atomizing components, and exhaust mixing the Wrtsil W18V50DF A engine technolo-
is still up for debate, one theory on how so- equipment supplied were sized for full-load gy in a heavily cycling mode with such a low
dium entered the system is that the engines diesel operation and were highly inefficient permit level condition. The expected catalyst
routinely ingest the salt spray, which then at low loads in dual-fuel mode. The result life was based on the only available informa-
contaminates the catalyst. HBGS intends to was high over-injection rates and NOx pro- tion, which came from the shipping industry.
continue monitoring SCR catalyst perfor- duction in the oxidation catalyst. Facility The shipping industry, however, typically is
mance, focusing on the first layer, which is staff has continued to fine-tune atomizing operated under different conditions, includ-
affected most by the sodium. air rates and adjust injectors at low loads to ing less-stringent permit conditions, and the
The calcium source remains a mystery. find the optimum setpoint. engines operate near full load while steaming
However, one possible source is the water HBGS staff was hesitant to add a paral- (>75%).
component of the supplied 19% aqueous lel NH3 injection system sized for dual-fuel The HBGS team has been fully engaged
NH3. For that matter, sodium poison could mode operation. The exhaust pipe mix- in the effort of identifying corrective actions
be introduced via the same mechanism. ing equipment was sized to mix NH3 and to help operate the plant within its permit
The stations environmental specialist exhaust gas in diesel mode and cannot be parameters by fully understanding the limi-
has been tasked with gathering an aque- changed. In addition, no additional ports tations of its catalyst system. The staffs
ous NH3 sample and analyzing it for cal- were available to house low-flow injectors. philosophy is one of continual improvement,
cium and sodium. In the meantime, quality However, the addition of new dual-range and it has found studying the issue and iden-
control visits to the aqueous NH3 supplier variable-flow-coefficient valves has great- tifying further improvement to be an excit-
found that the demineralized water used ly improved NH3 flow control during low- ing endeavor.
in the production of the aqueous NH3 was load dual-fuel operation. The NH3 flow Silas Biggin is power generation plant
not monitored continuously. That could al- trends have stabilized and NH3 consump- engineer; Chris Brittain is operations and
low potential sodium and/or calcium break- tion has decreased. maintenance supervisor; Chuck Holm
throughs to go unnoticed during the aqueous is plant manager; Jill Lorenc is power
NH3 manufacturing process. Waste Gate Tuning plant assistant; and Scott Washington is
Due to a lack of industry experience op- As mentioned previously, the waste gate by- environmental field specialist for PG&E
erating facilities under tight permit condi- passes exhaust gas around the turbocharger Humboldt Bay Generating Station.

32 |
POWER July 2017
New Technology Holds the
Key to Reaching Carbon
Emissions Targets
Some naysayers have argued that developing carbon capture technology
for use on fossil-fueled power plants is pure folly. But research and pi-
lot tests have continued nonetheless, and various solutions have been
proven effective in capturing and utilizing carbon dioxide from flue gases.
One method, examined through two UK Department of Energy & Climate
Change projects, could be a game-changer.
Mark Stacey

he UKs Climate Change Act (2008) is born that day. Following two successful pi- and/or by-products for on-site reuse or sale.
part of the governments plan to reduce lot projects for the UK Department of Ener- Opportunities exist to convert the output
greenhouse gas emissions. It set out gy & Climate Change (DECC), the team has into harmless carbonates and bicarbonates
ambitious plans to reduce carbon emissions demonstrated not only that the technology for direct, safe deposit into the sea or into
in the UK by at least 80% from 1990 levels works, but also that it delivers sufficiently a diverse set of products, including formic
by 2050. Five-yearly carbon budgets were in both environmental and financial terms to acid, ethylene, methanol, syngas, and with
put in place to support the transition, but in make it an attractive option for the industry. additional feed materials, sulfuric acid. The
June 2016 the government set out impressive The teams new carbon capture and ex- remaining remediated cooled flue gas is then
new targets for the fifth budget period, aim- change technology uses flue gas carbon emitted from the wash column stack, which
ing to reduce emissions by 57% compared to dioxide (CO2) as a feedstock for conver- also acts as the output gas monitoring point.
1990 levels by 2030. sion into a range of valuable commodities, The process does not require elevated tem-
Figures from the London School of Eco- including formates and industrial alcohols. peratures and pressures, nor does it produce
nomics suggest that electricity generation Data from the two DECC trials suggest that any waste products that require disposal.
currently accounts for more than 25% of it not only captures 90% of CO2 at 99%
the UKs carbon emissions. Its clear that purity, but it does so at a net present value 1. Flexible deployment. The carbon
achieving the aggressive carbon reduction (NPV) of just 47 per tonne of CO2 abated, capture and exchange technology is modular
targets will require a step change across the compared to up to 75 per tonne for some by design and can be scaled up or down, as
energy industry. existing technologies. (NPV is the present needed. Courtesy: Crown International
Most recently, the industry has looked value of a sum of money in contrast to some
toward renewable energy production to re- future value it will have when it has been
place traditional electricity production, but invested at compound interest.)
what if the carbon produced by the exist- As youd expect from the name, the
ing generation processes could be captured method utilizes a two-stage carbon capture
and neutralized or, better still, turned into and exchange process. In stage one, the flue
useful by-products that could generate new gas is captured from the power plants flue
value streams or potential alternative sourc- stack at temperatures up to 270C. It is then
es of energy? cooled via a bespoke condensing economiz-
er, which recovers heat and water, and also
A New Carbon Capture and acts as the input gas monitoring point. From
Exchange Technology there, the gas moves into a wash column,
Several carbon capture and exchange tech- where a continually circulating metal-ion
nologies already exist, but to date, many of solution acts as the gas capture and carrying
the processes have proven to be too expen- medium, removing and transforming any
sive to develop, build, and operate to deliver NOx and SOx present.
a viable solution for the power industry. Once that process is complete, the con-
Four years ago, a Bristol, Englandbased version process gets underway. The remain-
company looking to develop an exciting new ing CO2 flows into a second-stage wash
technology to overcome these challenges column where the gas is captured and sepa-
approached Crown International for help. rated. It then undergoes further processing
It had the technology, but needed Crowns via a patented methodology in which it is
manufacturing expertise. A partnership was converted into high-grade hydrocarbon gas

July 2017 POWER 33
Modular Design Offers Flexibility DECC Studies Proved the Concept
2. Organized layout. The carbon cap- Where the technology really scores is that The first DECC project was a 5.2 million,
ture and exchange cell is shown here inside
the shipping container. Courtesy: Crown In-
it uses a modular design (Figures 1 and three-year carbon capture project, designed
ternational 2), allowing it to be easily retrofitted onto to deliver a cost/tonne of CO2 abated sig-
existing power stations and scaled up or nificantly lower than current carbon reme-
down. It was originally developed to suit diation technologiesprincipally carbon
industrial locations generating anywhere capture and storage amine-based processes.
between 5,000 and 100,000 tonnes of CO 2 The project was hosted and developed on
per year, where other technologies arent a site in South Wales. The new technol-
economically viable. ogy successfully abated 95% of the CO2
The fact that it takes just one to two captured from a natural gas boilergener-
years to install, from design to produc- ated flue gas stream, using the approximate
tion, means operators can begin to see a 10,000 tonne CO2 per annum capture ca-
return on their investment within just one pacity equipment.
year. Combine that with the fact that in- The results shown in Figures 3 and 4 are
dependent consultants have assessed the from the first two weeks of operation. The
technology as offering operating cost re- data clearly demonstrated the systems abil-
ductions of between 840,000 (versus ad- ity to capture both CO2 and NOx flue gas
vanced amine processes) and 1,470,000 emissions in ambient conditions.
(versus monoethanolamine); capital ex- Another essential component of the
penditure savings of 855,000 NPV; and South Wales project was the need to prove
likely upward carbon levy pressures cre- the long-term performance characteristics
ating a pressing need for savings, and of the electrochemical cells in removing
the financial incentives for adoption are near 100% of the CO2 from fossil fuel flue
clear. Thats even before a projected value gas emissions (Figure 5). This is impor-
stream of about 22 million per year for tant as fouling and mineral deposition in
the carbon captured and converted, in this the electrochemical cells have tradition-
particular case into formic acid, is taken ally been a stumbling block to developing
into account. the technologyan issue the team needed

PSEG Coal Power Generation Plants

Asset and Inventory Sale*



34 |
POWER July 2017

3. CO2 captured. Continuous emissions 5. Long-term success. CEMS data collected during slightly more than five months of
monitoring system (CEMS) data collected operation at the South Wales project showed CO2 capture rates remained consistently high.
during the first two weeks of operation at Courtesy: Crown International
the South Wales project showed a steady
decrease in CO2 as the system ramped up.
Courtesy: Crown International

4. NOx captured. Although the NOx

abatement was not optimized, the CEMS data
showed NOx decreased simultaneously with
the CO2 capture as the South Wales system
ramped up. Courtesy: Crown International

and exchange technology, using flue gas By treating carbon as a raw material
CO2 as a feedstock for conversion into a feedstock for the production of valuable
range of valuable commodity products, such formates, rather than as an expensive waste
as formates and industrial alcohols. material to be disposed of at high financial
and environmental cost, the process creates
Creating Value Streams a value stream from the by-products that
As part of the second DECC project, the makes this more environmentally-friendly
team carried out a detailed review of the approach commercially appealing.
global formic acid market to evaluate the Reusing by-products, rather than releas-
potential value of this by-product revenue ing them into the atmosphere, has the poten-
stream, which is just one of many possible tial to significantly reduce CO2 emissions
to prove could be overcome using this new by-products. Findings from the study sug- across the energy generation sector. Its a
proprietary technology. gested that, while concentration within the promising and versatile process that pro-
industry is relatively high (the industrys top duces a variety of commercial organic com-
Carbon Conversion 15 producers account for 88% of industry pounds, depending on the individual setup
The second DECC project was a nine-month production), production is expected to in- of the conversion cell.
research and development project to con- crease at a compound annual growth rate of If, as the London School of Economics
vert CO2 into high-grade formic acid, using 1.34% from 2017 to 2022. report states, the electricity sector is respon-
a process and at a cost that would make the Margins in the industry, based on factory sible for 25% of current carbon emissions,
technology commercially viable. The teams gate prices and input costs, are typically then capturing 95% of CO2 emissions from
goal was to develop, build, and demonstrate tight at about 14%, reflecting the high cost fossil-fueled power plants would be a sig-
a complete system that could utilize captured base of existing methods of production, but nificant step forward on its own. But, with
CO2 and, rather than consider it a waste prod- a significant component of this is the reli- the energy generation and industrial sectors
uct, create a viable revenue stream while ance on feedstock chemicals as part of the combined being responsible for 42% of UK
maintaining a low-carbon footprint for the process. Consequently, there is a real oppor- CO2 emissions, adopting this technology
capture and utilization of CO2. tunity for disruptive technologies that can across both sectors could represent the step-
In the DECC project, the system took a deliver relatively low setup and operating change the world is looking for.
CO2 feed from pressurized cylinders, but in costs while meeting the relevant compliance The key to success of any carbon cap-
a deployment situation it would interface regulations, creating a valuable potential ture technology lies in making sure it is
directly with the carbon capture system to revenue stream for companies using effi- commercially attractive enough for energy
utilize the captured flue gas CO2. cient new technology. companies to invest time and resources in
The pilot plant demonstrated the ability Most importantly, the role that adopt- adopting the solution. The results of the
to convert 100% of CO2 into formic acid. ing such innovative technology could play DECC trials suggest the benefits of this
It also demonstrated a production capacity in helping the UK and other countries particular new technology warrant that in-
with a product value stream of more than 8 reach carbon emission targets should not vestment.
million per annum (for this single site), at be underestimated. The DECC projects Mark Stacey is managing director of
significantly lower cost than current meth- demonstrated that the process could simul- Crown International, a UK-based company
ods of production. taneously capture in excess of 95% of CO2 with a background in new product design
By combining these two projects, the and 85% of NOx in the pilot sites flue gas and manufacture that provides compo-
team proved the complete carbon capture emissions. nents for carbon capture projects.

July 2017 POWER 35
Particle Sizing in Emissions
Samples by Scanning Electron
With low particulate loading common in stack emissions these days, particulate
matter measurement can be difficult using traditional techniques. Micro-
scopical measurement of particle-size distributions offers an alternative
because it can be performed on very light sample collections, allowing
particle-size determination of Environmental Protection Agency Method 5
samples that weigh as little as 0.25 milligrams.
Tim B. Vander Wood, PhD

1. Particles collected are visually

any stacks now have such a low par- concern is no less than 1 m, and transmis-
ticulate loading that the traditional sion electron microscopy can be used if par- apparent. A secondary scanning electron
aerodynamic methods of particle- ticle diameters less than about 50 nm (0.05 microscopy (SEM) image of stack particulate
size distribution (PSD) determination using m) are of interest. matter on a polycarbonate filter is shown
here. Courtesy: MVA Scientific Consultants
cascade impactors or cyclones may require
sampling for many hours in order to obtain Particulate Matter Sampling
sufficient material mass for accurate weigh- Considerations
ing. Even with long sampling times, total PSD measurement by SEM is most often
particulate collections of only a milligram used in conjunction with Method 5 (or 5B)
(mg) are becoming common. samples, and sometimes with Method 17
There are also some stack-sampling situ- samples. For these types of samples, the filter
ations where cascade impactors or cyclones used in sampling determines the subsequent
simply will not fit into the stack, may be de- SEM analytical approach.
graded by high temperatures, or are rendered The ideal filter is polycarbonate, which
unusable by the presence of liquid droplets. comes in a variety of pore sizes. The most
In such cases, the determination of PSDs in common pore size used in stack sampling is
the stack emissions for engineering studies 0.4 m. Smaller pore sizes (0.2 m and even
or compliance tests can be more easily ac- 0.1 m) are sometimes used.
complished by sizing the particulate matter Polycarbonate filters are preferred be- 2. Fibers trap particles. This SEM im-
(PM) collected by traditional methods, such cause they are nearly featureless. The lack age shows stack particulate matter collected
as the Environmental Protection Agencys of features means that automated image pro- on a quartz fiber filter. Courtesy: MVA Scien-
(EPAs) Method 5 Determination of Par- cessing analysis tools can be used to distin- tific Consultants
ticulate Matter Emissions from Stationary guish particles from the filter background.
Sources. Furthermore, the difficulties that Unfortunately, polycarbonate filters are tem-
can be encountered with Method 201A perature sensitive and will melt at 300F, so
Determination of PM10 and PM2.5 Emissions care must be taken to prevent overheating
from Stationary Sources (Constant Sampling during collection.
Rate Procedure) have led a number of states Sampling flow rate can also be an impor-
and provinces to accept microscopy-based tant consideration for polycarbonate filters,
particle sizing in cases where Method 201A particularly when smaller pore sizes are
cannot be applied. used, because filters can blank under heavy
The most common analytical tool used to load. Fortunately, very light sample loadings
measure the PSD of stack samples collected are most appropriate for PSD measurement,
on Method 5 or other filters is the scanning and samples experiencing increasing pres-
electron microscope (SEM). A high-quality sure drops across the filter are already more
standard SEM can be used to determine PSDs heavily loaded than is optimal.
down to about 0.3 micrometers (m), or as A rule of thumb for appropriate sample the filter. An underloaded filter is generally
small as 50 nanometers (nm), if a specialized loading leads to an estimate of optimal sam- preferable to an overloaded filter.
field emission scanning electron microscope ple collection times of about 20% of the time In sampling situations where a polycar-
is employed. Visible light microscopy may required to obtain a significant decrease in bonate filter cannot be used due to high tem-
be used if the minimum particle diameter of flow rate or increase in pressure drop across peratures, quartz fiber filters are generally

36 |
POWER July 2017

3. Visible like stars in the sky. The Table 1. Details tell the story. This table shows a sample image analysis output for the
same particles shown in Figure 1 are shown first 20 particles examined in one example. Courtesy: MVA Scientific Consultants
here, but using backscattered electron imag-
ing mode. Courtesy: MVA Scientific Consul- Minimum Maximum Mean
tants Perimeter diameter diameter diameter
Particle # Area (m2) (m) (m) (m) (m) Aspect ratio
1 0.3 1.7 0.4 0.8 0.6 1.0
2 0.6 2.6 0.4 1.1 0.7 1.0
3 2.7 8.2 0.3 2.5 1.5 2.4
4 0.5 2.2 0.5 1.0 0.7 1.0
5 0.3 1.9 0.3 0.9 0.6 1.7
6 0.6 2.6 0.4 0.8 0.7 1.0
7 0.5 2.4 0.1 1.2 0.7 1.1
8 0.3 1.7 0.3 0.5 0.4 1.0
9 1.0 3.5 0.6 1.3 1.0 1.0
4. Computer analyzed. The same par- 10 1.1 3.7 0.5 1.3 1.0 1.0
ticles shown in Figure 3 are shown here after
recognition by the automated image analysis 11 0.6 2.4 0.6 1.0 0.8 1.0
system algorithm. Courtesy: MVA Scientific 12 0.4 1.8 0.2 0.8 0.6 1.0
13 0.4 2.1 0.4 0.8 0.6 1.0
14 3.7 8.8 1.7 3.1 2.4 1.8
15 1.1 4.1 0.7 1.8 1.3 1.2
16 1.2 4.0 0.9 1.5 1.1 1.0
17 0.6 4.3 0.6 1.4 1.1 2.6
18 0.8 3.1 0.4 1.2 0.8 1.0
19 0.5 2.4 0.6 1.0 0.8 1.0
20 0.4 2.7 0.3 0.8 0.6 1.7

Table 2. Getting the full picture. The particle size distribution data from one sample
best. In those cases, a more heavily loaded is shown here in terms of number and mass percentages. This particular sample had 19,102
filter is preferred. particles. Courtesy: MVA Scientific Consultants
In such cases, a portion of the collected
Diameter range (m) Number (%) Mass (%)
particles can be removed and redispersed
onto a polycarbonate or similar filter. Care 0.5 1.0 55.4 1.5
must be taken in this step because some >1.0 2.5 34.4 7.3
components of the sample particulate may >2.5 5.0 7.1 16.0
be soluble in liquids used for redispersing
>5.0 7.5 2.0 21.0
the sample. For example, samples with high
sulfate or other salt concentrations cannot be >7.5 10.0 0.6 16.3
dispersed in water because those salts will >10.0 0.5 37.9
dissolve and then will not be included in the
particle size measurements. gorithm by a human analyst or removed to a entiating between them. In image analysis,
more suitable substrate for image processing- a particle is defined as a set of contigu-
Scanning Electron Microscopy based analysis. ous pixels all of which are brighter (or more
Analysis Samples that have been collected on or rarely, darker) than the threshold brightness
Figure 1 shows a polycarbonate filter that redispersed onto polycarbonate or similar fil- used to define the surrounding background
has been used in a Method 5 train to collect ters can be analyzed by automated SEM, al- pixels.
particulate material from a power plant stack. lowing for the unattended analysis of several Polycarbonate filters are ideal for this pur-
The pores in the filter are dark and the filter tens of thousands of individual particles. In pose. In Figure 1, the particles are easily rec-
surface itself is smooth and featureless. Par- MVA Scientific Consultants laboratory, the ognizable as bright features; however, there
ticles on the filter are easily recognized by analysis of 20,000 particles is standard. More is not sufficient contrast between the parti-
eye and can also be recognized by image pro- particles can be analyzed, if better statistics cles and the background for automated image
cessing algorithms. are required, especially for samples with a analysis algorithms to accurately distinguish
Figure 2 shows stack particulate collected very low fraction of particles greater that 10 the particles from the filter.
on a quartz glass filter. While the particles m. A variety of techniques are used to in-
are still easily recognized by eye, the compli- For automated particle sizing, the image crease the contrast. Instrument parameters
cated structure of the filter itself will confuse must contain sufficient contrast between the may be varied and/or different imaging
image processing programs, and this particu- background and the particles so that an im- modes of the microscope may be employed.
late must be pointed out to the computer al- age analysis algorithm is capable of differ- The same field of view, but in backscattered

July 2017 POWER 37
size and morphology parameters for the first Scanning Electron Microscopy
Table 3. Size matters. This table
breaks down the data into PM10 and PM2.5
20 particles analyzed. The full dataset con- Offers Options
percentages. Courtesy: MVA Scientific Con- sists of similar data for all 20,000 particles. Microscopical methods offer the ability to de-
sultants The accumulated data from the analysis termine PSDs on particulate matter samples
of the individual particles are submitted to of as little as 0.25 mg of particulate collected
Diameter Mass (%) appropriate software for the PSD calcula- in Method 5 (or Method 17) sample trains,
PM2.5 8.8 tion and other sample parameters, as desired. allowing for significantly reduced sample
PM10 62.1
Table 2 presents the PSD for the full dataset collection times when compared to cascade
in terms of both particle number and particle impactor and cyclone methods of particle
>10.0 37.9 mass percentages. Table 3 shows the data in sizing. These methods allow for the use of
terms of PM10 and PM2.5 fractions. completely customizable size fractions, and
electron imaging mode, is shown in Figure When particulate matter has been col- the reported fractions can be adjusted after
3. In this mode, particles are clearly defined lected on quartz or glass fiber filters and sample collection.
against the background. cannot be removed to a different substrate, Automated scanning electron microscopy
Figure 4 shows the particles that have automated SEM methods cannot be used. For PSD determination is based on the measure-
been recognized by the image analysis sys- these samples, SEM images of the particulate ment of the physical dimensions of several
tem. Once the particles are recognized, auto- (such as is shown in Figure 2) are analyzed tens of thousands of individual particles.
mated image analysis systems can determine in image processing software, but the indi- For samples where fully automated analysis
the average particle size, as well as any other vidual particles in each image are identified is not possible, several thousand individual
morphological parameters that might be of by a human operator, and the measurement particles are analyzed. Average diameter,
interest, such as aspect ratio, circularity, and of individual particle sizes and any required volume, perimeter, aspect ratio, and other
perimeter. morphological parameters is done by the im- morphological parameters that may be of in-
In fully automated systems, the prepared age analysis software, with the parameters terest in engineering and compliance studies
filter is stepped through the field of view of for each individual particle saved in a manner are recorded for each of the particles, and the
the microscope until a sufficient number of similar to that for fully automated analysis. appropriate particle size and/or morphology
particles have been identified and analyzed, In those cases, the typical number of particles distributions are calculated.
which typically totals around 20,000 indi- analyzed is a few thousand, rather than a few Tim B. Vander Wood, PhD
vidual particles in MVAs lab. Table 1 shows tens of thousands. ( is executive
a sample output, listing the requested particle director of MVA Scientific Consultants.

38 |
POWER July 2017
Technological Advancements in
Cooling Water Treatment
Regulatory agencies are becoming more and more critical of phosphorus-based
water treatment chemicals because they can have a negative impact on
lakes and waterways. In the past, treating cooling water with non-phos-
phorus products has not always kept systems in top condition, but recent
testing has proven one new method works as advertised.
Mike Mowbray

n recent years, public and regulatory Table 1. Water chemistry alternatives. This table shows the subjective ratings of
bodies have heightened their protection various water treatment chemistry options. Source: U.S. Water
efforts for our natural resources in order
Eco- National Pollutant
to protect against excessive water usage and
logical Discharge Elimi- Drink-
harm to the environment. For good reason,
Biodegrad- toxic- nation System Heavy ing Total
it is no longer acceptable for industries to Inhibitor ability ity (NPDES) status metal water Safety (%)
simply open up their valves and discharge
Molybdate 1 1 1 4 1 3 45.8
unregulated waste streams to the environ-
ment. Companies, and even municipalities, Zinc 1 1 1 1 4 2 41.7
are now subject to thorough review and com- Tin 1 2 4 4 4 2 70.8
ment periods to justify a facilitys proposed
discharge rates and water composition. 1 1 1 4 4 3 58.3
In the realm of water treatment, one area
that has historically come up during the en- 2 3 3 4 1 3 66.7
vironmental review cycle is the evaluation
of additives used to treat cooling water sys- Hydroxyphos-
2 3 3 4 1 3 66.7
tems. Chromate, a former chemical additive phonic acid
in cooling water treatment, was discovered to Phosphonocarbox-
2 4 3 4 1 3 70.8
be carcinogenic and its use is now banned. ylic acid
Aspartic acid
4 4 4 4 1 4 87.5
Phosphorus Usage polymer
Since the early 1970s, the use of phospho- Coffee extract 4 4 4 4 3 4 95.8
rus-bearing compounds in industrial cool-
ing water treatment programs has been
commonplace. Phosphorus (P)a common cooling water treatments for scale and cor- condenser tubes could affect vacuum and
constituent of agricultural fertilizer, and rosion control. This represents a significant thereby reduce power generation.
municipal and industrial wasteis current- challenge for facilities operating under direct
ly being reviewed by state agencies due to discharge permits. Searching for Alternatives
its impact on the eutrophication of lakes and Typical alkaline all-organic cooling water Recognizing the challenges facing the indus-
other waterways. programs where phosphonates are present as try, specialty chemical providers have been
Phosphorus has long been recognized scale inhibitors can have phosphorus levels diligently working to find an economically
as the controlling factor in plant and algae from 0.3 ppm to 2.5 ppm, while stabilized viable solution that can deliver the protection
growth for many lakes and streams. A minor phosphate programs can have phosphorus required. Suppliers have made non-metallic
increase in phosphorus can fuel substantial levels as high as 7.0 ppm. Alternative cor- corrosion inhibitors commercially available,
increases in both aquatic plant and algae rosion inhibitor options may not be viable but these organic inhibitors are often based
growth, which can have severe impacts on because they are often based on metals such on low molecular weight polymers, phospho-
downstream bodies of water, such as rivers, as zinc or molybdate, which are also being nates, and amino phosphonates.
lakes, or the Gulf of Mexico. closely regulated in terms of acceptable dis- Some of these organic molecules have
Phosphorus can originate from municipal charge levels. proven to be successful carbon steel corro-
and industrial facilities that discharge water, Without an effective corrosion and deposit sion inhibitors with improved environmen-
as well as from runoff from agricultural areas (scale) control program in place, industrial- tal acceptability, but they may have some
that makes its way into local water sources. cooling systems could be compromised in technical concerns. Organic molecules may
Many parts of the country are regulating the a relatively short period of time. Facilities be more susceptible to oxidizing biocides
acceptable P discharge levels well below could experience significantly higher oper- than inorganic molecules. Many azole-based
those commonly employed in traditional ating costs. For example, scale buildup on copper corrosion inhibitors are susceptible

July 2017 POWER 39
After the zero-P program was implement-
Table 2. Phosphorus-free test results. The water treatment program at a Mid-
ed, the corrosion rates improved drastically
west refining plant was changed to a phosphorus-free chemistry with the results shown here.
Source: U.S. Water within the first five hours of application.
The online corrator corrosion rates for the
Parameter Units Tower 1 Tower 2 mild steel (Figure 1) showed the significant
improvement during the implementation
pH N/A 8.59 8.58 phase. The corrosion rate in mils per year
Conductivity mhos/cm 2,117 2,299
(mpy) was reduced from greater than 2.5
mpy to less than 0.5 mpy.
"M" Alkalinity ppm as CaCO3 422 446 In this study, corrosion coupons were em-
ployed in addition to the corrator to monitor
Chloride ppm 123 315 the cumulative corrosion rates during a 45-
to 60-day exposure period. The results are
Calcium ppm as CaCO3 774 570 shown in Figure 2.
The results were better than anticipated
Magnesium ppm as CaCO3 665 500
and the primary objective of eliminating P
Silica ppm as SiO2 37.3 36.8 from the cooling water chemical treatment
program was attained. In addition, the zero-
Sulfate ppm as SO4 732 678 P treatment program provided a significant
reduction in the corrosion rates. The corro-
to degradation by oxidizing biocides. was implemented at the plant. sion rates dropped from an average of about
Hydroxyphosphonic acid has shown sus- In order to ensure proper system pro- 4 mpy to an average of around 1.3 mpy.
ceptibility to chlorine, even at low levels. tection, the corrosion rates were carefully
This presents a problem because oxidizing monitored using corrosion coupons as well Another Effective PhosZero
biocides are a necessary part of any suc- as an online corrator. The client wanted to Implementation
cessful water treatment program for con- maintain the same water efficiency, that In a second study, Minnesota Powers Ar-
trol of potentially harmful bacteria, such as is, not reduce the cycles of concentration, rowhead High-Voltage Direct Current Ter-
Legionella. Organic inhibitors based on the which yielded a Langelier Saturation In- minal was experiencing scale and white rust
phosphorus molecule do not meet the dis- dex (LSI) value of approximately 2.25. buildup inside its cooling tower condenser
charge requirement for P due to the rever- This LSI represents a relatively high scal- tubes, creating obstacles cooling the invert-
sion of some of the organic phosphonate to ing potential and the heat transfer surfaces er. If left untreated, the buildup could have
orthophosphate (O-PO4) and eventually to were monitored closely as well. During resulted in a costly asset replacement and
phosphorus. Unfortunately many alternative the course of the entire trial, there was no unscheduled downtime.
programs have failed to properly control the observed accumulation of scale that would At the same time, the Minnesota Pollu-
corrosion rates in systems without the use of impede the heat transfer efficiencies. Table tion Control Agency (MPCA) was institut-
P-bearing inhibitors. 2 lists the pertinent cooling water values ing new phosphate discharge limits and
Table 1 illustrates a green chemistry al- during the trial. encouraging plant management to meet the
ternative evaluation conducted by U.S. Water
Services Inc. (U.S. Water), a company based
1. Reduced corrosion rates. The water treatment program at a Midwest refining plant
was changed to a phosphorus-free chemistry with an almost immediate improvement in the
in St. Michael, Minn. The table contains in- mild steel corrosion rate. Source: U.S. Water
formation related to the various alternatives
where the values are the subjective ratings de-
termined by the authors of The Pursuit of a
Green Carbon Steel Corrosion Inhibitor: Part
Mild steel corrosion rate (mils per year)

1 of 4 published by Modern Pumping Today

in January 2015 (4 is the best score and 1 is the
worst). Based on this information, U.S. Water
developed a unique cooling water treatment
technology, called PhosZero, a zero-P cooling
water chemistry.

Finding the Best Option

A Midwest refining plant reached out to U.S.
Water for help achieving its goal of reducing
P concentrations in its discharge. The plant
had two different cooling towers due to dif-
ferent process conditions and both utilized
induced-draft counter-flow cooling towers.
Traditional water treatment programs were
being utilized in the treatment of the cooling
towers, but due to discharge regulations, the
client needed to find a viable chemical treat- Time (hours)
ment alternative. The new P-free program

40 |
POWER July 2017
new state limits before implementation.
2. Coupons tell the story. Corrosion coupons employed during a 45- to 60-day test
Minnesota Power reached out to ALLETE
were used to calculate corrosion rates, which ranged from 0.702 mils per year (mpy) to 1.661
mpy. Source: U.S. Water sister company U.S. Water for assistance
in achieving system efficiency and meeting
new state discharge limits.
U.S. Water worked with Minnesota Pow-
ers team to implement a zero-P program into
its system. The PhosZero chemistry provided
low enough toxicity to gain the approval of
the MPCA, yet strong enough scale inhibi-
tion properties and corrosion protection to
keep its system running efficiently.
A few months after introducing the ze-
ro-P chemistry into the system, hardness
balance testing showed that scale was be-
ing removed. Figure 3 shows the success of
the zero-P program with before and after
results of mild metal and zinc corrosion
3. More success. Hardness balance testing at Minnesota Powers Arrowhead High-Volt- coupons.
age Direct Current Terminal proved that scale was being removed after a PhosZero chemistry The results signify a paradigm shift in the
program was implemented. Corrosion coupons, shown here, offer visual confirmation of the water treatment industry. The norm used to
results. Source: U.S. Water be for facilities to have to settle for compro-
mised results or additional water use when
using alternate chemicals that didnt contain
P. Now the industry is able to meet low-P
concentrations in its discharges while still
protecting its critical assets.
Mike Mowbray is director of product
management for U.S. Water.

4th Annual

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Experience three days of high-energy discussion and exchange covering pressing issues facing
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Keynote & General Sessions:
Colorados Balancing Act
Roundtable: Western Electric Policy Priorities
Managing Change in the Western Power Market

Conference Sessions:
Big Data, Big Headache or Big Opportunity?
New Life for Coal in the Western Power Mix?
Energy Storage: From EVs to Pumped Storage and Beyond
Water/Energy Conflicts in a Rapidly Growing West

July 2017 POWER 41
MISO: Avoiding the Mess Facing
Other Wholesale Competitive
Electric Markets
The Midcontinent Independent System Operators (MISOs) geographic foot-
print extends down the middle of the U.S. Because of the structure of its
market, MISO has artfully avoided some nasty policy and economic issues
that characterize its neighbors in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Howev-
er, MISO still faces many of the same market forces that are transforming
the electric generation and distribution business across the country.
Kennedy Maize

he scope of the Midcontinent Indepen-
1. Vast reach. The scope of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO)
dent System Operator (MISO) is vast. stretches from Manitoba, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico. Courtesy: MISO
One of the original regional transmis-
sion and wholesale market operators growing
out of the Federal Energy Regulatory Com-
missions (FERCs) restructuring of much of
the U.S. electricity business in the late 1980s
and early 1990s, MISO stretches from Mani-
toba in central Canada to the Gulf of Mexico
in Southern Louisiana (Figure 1).
What we have done, MISO CEO John
Bear told POWER, is taken a bunch of
small, regional utilities and given them a su-
per-regional utility that requires less invest-
ment. The result, he said, is that we have
made electric deliverability more reliable and
increased quality for about 2 million people
and provided about $3 billion in annual ben-
efits to our members.
MISO, Bear noted, also has been able
to provide broad responses to major public
policy issues. Wind power is an example. In
2005, MISO had about 300 MW of wind ca-
pacity. Today, the system supports 17 GW of
wind, or about 8% of the systems generat-
ing portfolio. Coal has dropped from 65% of
generating capacity to about 35% in MISOs The MISO territory includes 191 GW coal and toward wind and natural gas is likely
footprint, and gas generation has risen from of generating capacity in 6,567 generating to continue in the near term. Northern Indi-
10% to 43%. Nuclear makes up a steady 8%. units, peak load of 131 GW, 65,800 miles of ana Public Service Co. (NIPSCO) recently
MISOs website notes that it manages one transmission, 36 local balancing authorities, announced plans to shutdown two large coal-
of the worlds largest energy markets, cover- and according to the ISO, 291,538 supervi- fired units at its Bailly station by mid-2018,
ing 965,000 square miles and delivering 689 sory control and data acquisition data points. and NIPSCO plans additional coal shut-
terawatt-hours of energy in 2016 to millions The numbers are so large they are hard to downs at its Schahfer Generating Station.
of homes. The regional transmission orga- grasp. The systemwith headquarters in Low-cost gas and wind generation is clob-
nization (RTO) says in 2016 it yielded $2.6 Carmel, Ind., north of Indianapolis, and re- bering coal in the Midwest as elsewhere in
billion to $3.3 billion in regional benefits, gional offices in Eagan, Minn.; Little Rock, the U.S. Regardless of new federal govern-
driven by enhanced reliability, more efficient Ark.; and Metairie, La. runs a sprawling ment policy pronouncements aimed at rescu-
use of the regions existing transmission and network of generation and transmission with ing coal, low-emissions sources are likely to
generation assets, and a reduced need for the precision (Figure 2). prevail in MISOs view. Nuclear is also likely
addition of new assets. According to Bear, the trend away from to decrease as a victim of the advance of gas

42 |
POWER July 2017
and wind.
In Bears analysis, solar wont play a big The Future of Competitive Wholesale Electric Markets
role in the next few years. The region is not
bathed in sunshine. Because MISOs electric The federally-created-and-governed re- wholesale electricity. At a panel discus-
prices are low, solar remains uncompetitive. gional, competitive wholesale markets sion hosted by the Federalist Society
Thats in contrast to sunny California, where are under attack by state regulators and in April, as reported by SNL, several
energy prices are so high that solar can grab utilities with special needs, such as keep- panelists questioned whether the FERC-
market share. ing uneconomic nuclear plants in the regulated markets could survive. Larry
wholesale markets or boosting renewable Gasteiger, federal regulatory policy ma-
Capacity Markets generation. So far, only the Midcontinent ven at New Jerseys major utility Public
Other large competitive wholesale mar-
Independent System Operator among the Service Enterprise Group, said, Time for
kets have lately been consumed by contro-
versyparticularly in the Mid-Atlantic and multistate regional transmission organi- action in the wholesale markets is sim-
Northeast where state actions to subsidize zations appears to be immune from the ply running out when it comes to nuclear
uncompetitive nuclear capacity in the whole- controversy. That could change. generation. Im real concerned about the
sale markets threaten the viability of the Illinois and New York have adopted lack of urgency. This issue has been dis-
RTO/ISO concept (see sidebar). MISO has plans to put a thumb on the scales of the cussed for years. I dont think we have
largely been able to dodge those policy and wholesale markets pricing to keep favored years more to go.
economic bullets. nukes in the capacity queue. Connecticut In early May, the quorum-less FERC held
Because of its structure, MISO has es- and Ohio appear ready to follow suit, and a two-day technical conference on the fu-
chewed the hard-capacity markets that char- New Jersey may also get in line. ture of wholesale markets in the face of
acterize RTOs such as PJM Interconnection
Proponents of the nuclear plant bailouts state moves to favor nuclear generating
and ISO-New England (ISO-NE). We dont
argue that competitive wholesale mar- technologies, often for political reasons
have a capacity market, Bear said. In the
MISO system, most of the states utilities kets dont recognize the value of nuclear such as jobs, tax base, and the like. At
continue to be vertically integrated monopo- powers zero-carbon emissions. To address that meeting, acting FERC chair Cheryl
lies, with the responsibility for providing ad- the alleged discrepancy, both Illinois and LaFleur said, Its no secret Im a strong
equate generation to meet retail distribution New York created zero-emissions credits supporter of wholesale competitive mar-
load. Thats unlike the prevailing model to (ZECs), which subsidize nuclear power by kets. Centralized capacity markets are
the east, where generation and distribution recognizing the value of its carbon-free designed to signal new entry and exit into
are separate entities and the ISOs determine generation. In New York, the value of the markets, rather than through the in-
resource adequacy. ZECs from rescued nuclear plants does not tegrated resource planning used in the
States have jurisdiction over resource equate to a value for the emissions from vertically integrated markets.
adequacy in most of MISO, Bear said. So
the politically challenged Indian Point During the May FERC conference and
MISO doesnt have to conduct forward ca-
nuclear facility, much nearer Manhattan, the earlier Federalist Society meeting,
pacity auctions to buy reserve generation at
competitive wholesale prices from gener- which Gov. Andrew Cuomo persuaded En- LaFleur laid out three avenues to solve
ating entities. That appears to be working. tergy to close. the tension between the states and the
MISO has been able to reduce its generation The move by states to influence the feds: negotiation, litigation, or capitula-
reserve margin and still remain confident that wholesale markets auctions has caused tionfederal deference to the states to
it can meet future loads. heartburn at the Federal Energy Regu- make their own resource adequacy deci-
MISO conducts what it calls a fixed re- latory Commission (FERC), overseer of sions. That third option looks like MISO.
source adequacy plan, (FRAP), a short-term
alternative to the long-term capacity auctions
in PJM and ISO-NE. A 2015 analysis by the of its hands-off approach to long-term capac- capacity simultaneously co-optimizes zonal
consulting firm ICF International said, The ity, dealing with Michigan and southern Il- capacity requirements subject to zonal trans-
[MISO] capacity auction is prompt rather linois decisions to restructure into separate mission capability constraints and economic
than forward-looking like the ISO-New Eng- generating and transmission regimes. MISO supply offers at the time of the auction.
land (ISO-NE) and PJM markets, meaning came up with a plan for a bifurcated approach Translated from FERC-speak, the commis-
that capacity for the June-May annual plan- to capacity, which it called the competitive sion effectively said a systemwide competi-
ning period is procured in April of that same retail solution. It would have continued tive auction better matches supply, demand,
year. the existing short-term auction for most of and delivery than relying on state utility sys-
While MISO brags that it does not have its business, while adding a new three-year tems judgment of resource adequacy.
a capacity market, its independent market forward auction for the restructured systems Responding to the FERC rejection, MISO
monitor, David Patton of Potomac Econom- in Michigan and Illinois. In early February, said it is going back to its stakeholders to try
ics, is critical of the ISOs approach to ca- FERC rejected the MISO plan for two differ- to come up with a solution. Power Markets
pacity. Last year, Patton told stakeholders, as ent market-clearing processes, arguing that it Today reported that MISO said its initial re-
reported by Platts, that while MISOs energy could introduce unnecessary price volatility. view of FERCs order will be complicated
market is working well, its approach to ca- In one of the last decisions before losing by the lack of detail contained in the order
pacity has not provided efficient economic its quorum, FERC said it would like MISO concerning the reasons our proposal was re-
signals to facilitate investment, retirement to implement a more conventional capacity jectedor guidance that would allow MISO
and capacity import/export decisions. auction mechanism, arguing that an auction- to better determine alternative paths to en-
MISO last fall moved to adjust an aspect based marketwide clearing mechanism for sure reliability in competitive retail areas.

July 2017 POWER 43
tor for that study.) It concluded, Concerns
2. Central command. The MISO system is headquartered in Carmel, Ind., shown here,
that the bulk power system (generation and
and has regional offices in Minnesota, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Courtesy: MISO
transmission) is inherently incompatible with
competition do not appear to be well-found-
ed. The system can be made to work under
any of the institutional/regulatory arrange-
ments considered in this study. Problems and
issues will arise with widespread competi-
tion, but they will be much less technical than
political and institutional.
When FERC, under the leadership of
Chairman Betsy Moler, adopted open-access
transmission, three existing power pools
New York, New England, and PJMwere
already positioned to adapt to the new re-
gime. In the Midwest, the MISO website
notes, Several transmission owners recog-
nized the benefits of FERCs vision to form
an independently operated regional transmis-
sion system, voluntarily coming together in
1998 to establish MISO. At that time, the
name was the Midwest Independent System
FERC accepted the MISO open access
Pseudo-Ties imposed substantial economic and reliabil- transmission tariff in 1998 and approved
Another troubling issue facing MISO is how ity costs on [MISO] that will only grow as MISO as the first regional transmission orga-
some utilities in its territory are treated when pseudo-ties proliferate. nization in 2001.
they win bids into PJMs capacity market. Based on its successful operation of an
The issue is called pseudo-ties, (which re- MISOs Origins independent transmission system, MISO be-
minds some of old-fashioned clip-on neck- In April 1996, after years of discussion at gan planning to operate a competitive energy
ware). This has to do with who controls state and federal levels over the closed na- market, as was occurring across the country.
dispatch of the generating units when the ca- ture of the nations high-voltage transmission In 2005, MISO began acquiring and centrally
pacity is needed and how that impacts trans- systemcontrolled by the vertically inte- dispatching electric power through much of
mission system reliability. grated monopoly electric utility systems middle America. At about the same time,
Bear noted to POWER that PJM has per- the FERC issued Order No. 888 (named for MISO began running a market for financial
formance rules accompanying its capacity re- FERCs new headquarters building at 888 transmission rights, a tradable commodity. In
quirements. The rules allow PJM to become First Street NE in Washington, D.C.). The 2009, MISO launched an ancillary services
the balancing authority (BA) for the remote
units, wherever located. The ISO-NE and
the New York Independent System Operator
(NYISO) have similar rules.
FERC said it would like MISO to implement
According to MISO, under the rules a a more conventional capacity auction mech-
generating unit that is physically located in
the MISO BA could be controlled by the anism ... the commission effectively said
PJM Interconnection BA, allowing PJM to
dispatch the units at will, as if they were part
a systemwide competitive auction better
of the PJM system, hence pseudo-tied to matches supply, demand, and delivery than
PJM. However, many of those units are so
far away from PJM that the eastern system relying on state utility systems judgment
is unable to model the impact of the dispatch
on MISOs system reliability. As a result,
of resource adequacy.
MISO claims PJM could unknowingly and
unintentionally overload MISO transmission thrust of the order, and follow-up Order No. market, becoming the regions overall bal-
lines when dispatching a pseudo-tied unit 889, required owners of interstate electric ancing authority governing energy dispatch
physically located in MISO. transmission to become common-carriers of across its growing footprint.
Pattonwhose firm Potomac Econom- electricity rather than monopolies. In 2013, after two years of planning, MISO
ics is also the independent market monitor FERCs move to open access to transmis- integrated the transmission systems of Enter-
for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, sion was driven by a landmark 1989 study gy (Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas,
ISO-NE, NYISO, and the Regional Green- by the former Congressional Office of Tech- Gulf States, and New Orleans), Louisianas
house Gas Initiative in the Northeastin nology Assessment (OTA) titled Electricity Cleco Corp., Lafayette (La.) Utilities Sys-
April asked FERC to order PJM to end its Wheeling and Dealing, Technological Con- tem, Louisiana Energy and Power Author-
pseudo-ties policy. Patton argued that the siderations for Increasing Competition. (Ed. ity, Louisiana Generating, South Mississippi
policy, which FERC blessed in 2014, has note: Kennedy Maize was an OTA contrac- Electric Power Association (now known as

44 |
POWER July 2017
tax credits expire (they were enacted in 1992
3. Where to from here? MISO CEO John Bear foresees a decarbonized energy fleet,
featuring expansive wind generation and more natural gas. Much of the future, however, will be
as a short-term subsidy, which has contin-
determined by federal policy. Courtesy: MISO ued for the past 25 years), the wind proposi-
tion could change. Late last year, Patton told
MISO, according to RTO Insider, Some
wind generators appear to be deliberately
over-forecasting their output to inflate their
MISO is less bullish on solar, as its foot-
print often is cloudy. But in January, MISO
integrated a 100-MW community solar proj-
ect from Minnesota (selling power to Xcel
Energy) into its wholesale market, a first,
according to Utility Dive. MISO remains
committed to supporting our members in
meeting their policy goals through reliable
and efficient markets, said MISO vice pres-
ident Todd Ramey. This project furthers the
integration of renewable resources into our
MISO is gingerly examining utility-scale
Cooperative Energy), and East Texas Electric ity plan, Bear said hes confident Michigan energy storage. The 1,872-MW Ludington
Cooperative. and Illinois will be able to work out ways that pumped storage project in Michigan, oper-
MISOs new members across the South they can continue with MISOs traditional ated by Consumers Energy, is in MISOs
will begin to receive the broad array of ben- approach to capacity. As others have noted, territory. Battery storage is on the corporate
efits that our markets provide, including the one of the reasons MISO considered alter- radar. We are having a lot of discussions
cost savings realized from improved reliabil- ing its approach to capacity in Illinois was about all the different things storage can do,
ity and efficient commitment and dispatch, because Exelons Clinton nuclear plant was Bear said. Storage is a big game-changer.
said Bear in a press release at the time. facing a shutdown. The Illinois legislature But much of the future depends on natu-
Two years later, RTO Insider newsletter
reported, Entergy and MISOs Independent
Market Monitor told the Entergy Regional
State Committee in Little Rock on Aug. 11
We foresee a decarbonized generating
[2015] that the December 2013 integration fleet, with lots more wind and solar, more
has produced substantial benefits and that the
transition was well-managed. Entergy said it agile natural gas, and some continued coal
had achieved $236 million in annual savings
since the integration with MISO.
and nuclear.
John Bear, Midcontinent Independent System Operator CEO
MISOs Future
MISOs first order of new business may be
old business: dealing with the FERC order authorized the subsidies that will keep the ral gas. While wholesale markets love low
rejecting its bifurcated capacity plan. One plant running. gas prices, they make life difficult for re-
of FERCs criticisms of the MISO scheme In the longer run, MISO faces many of newables such as wind and solar, and for
was, as Power Markets Today noted, that the same market forces that are transforming storage. Coal, nuclear, and gas come with
MISO would have to allocate that trans- the electric generation and distribution busi- storage built-in.
mission capability across two different auc- ness across the country. We continue to see The other big question for the future,
tions, which could lead to price separation pressure from a public policy standpoint and said Bear, is load. MISOs peak demand
that does not reflect what is actually hap- from environmental issues, Bear said. We has been sinking, while the overall amount
pening on the system. foresee a decarbonized generating fleet, with of electricity use is going up. Conservation
Patton has suggested that the ISO could lots more wind and solar, more agile natural programs, he said, have been not that suc-
run a dual market to make sure resources in gas, and some continued coal and nuclear. cessful. As with all economic markets, its
competitive areas are paid enough. He has Bear said federal policy would be im- not just a matter of supply, or resource ad-
advocated a plan similar to what ISO-NE has portant for MISO (Figure 3). The Obama equacy, but also demand and the interaction
proposed, a two-part capacity auction with administrations Clean Power Plan, which with supply that defines prices.
conventional bidders in one and subsidized the Trump administration is now trying to For MISO and competitive wholesale
bidders in the other. Winners in the second reverse, was pretty significant for MISO, markets, its Economics 101supply and
auction would then have to compete against as was the Mercury and Air Toxics regula- demand determines prices. For monopoly
the winners in the first auction, including tion, which forced a lot of older coal plants markets, thats irrelevant. Which paradigm
meeting the requirement of a minimum of- to close. prevails? Well see.
fer price rule, which sets a floor on capacity When it comes to wind power, Bear noted Kennedy Maize is a long-time energy
bids. that with federal tax credits supporting it, journalist and frequent contributor to
Discussing FERCs rejection of the capac- wind is incredibly inexpensive. Should the POWER.

July 2017 POWER 45
How China Is on the Leading Edge
of Environmental Technologies
Coal proponents and climate skeptics often cite Chinas current and future reli-
ance on coal power to bolster talking points. What is little discussed is the
recent, massive transformation of Chinas vast coal fleet, which is aimed
at keeping the country on track to meet stringent emissions and climate
Sonal Patel

he U.S. has officially announced it will 1. A controlled shift. Between 1980 and 2016, the technology employed at new coal-
exit the Paris Agreement, which leaves fired power plant builds in China has shifted. Courtesy: Center for American Progress
Chinaan economic powerhouse with
a population of 1.3 billion people and a colos- Subcritical Supercritical Ultrasupercritical
sal demand for electricityat the helm of the Megawatts added per year
worlds efforts to mitigate climate change.
But while China has been criticized for its re- 50,000
liance on coalit remains the worlds largest
producer, consumer, and importer of coal to-
dayover the past five years, the country has
embarked on a remarkable transition to ramp
up environmental measures, driven largely 30,000
by a desperate effort to tamp down rampant
air pollution in some of its major cities.
Through considerable progress to imple- 20,000
ment ambitious programs to increase the
energy efficiency of power generation and 10,000
a rapid scale-up of renewables and nuclear
power, the country has transformed its power
sector into one of the cleanest in the world 0
at a breakneck pace. Today, its new highly 1980 1986 1992 1998 2004 2010 2016
efficient coal fleet is equipped with domes-
tically developed and imported technologies capital investment. Between 1978 and 2003, came in 2004, when the National Develop-
that seek to meet some of the worlds strictest the government encouraged reform of the in- ment and Reform Commission (NRDC), the
emission limits for sulfur dioxide (SO2), ni- vestment systems to raise funds for a power key government agency which leads program
trogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), plant expansion, and in the 1990s alone, implementation at a national level, issued
and mercuryand which make Americas China boosted its power generation capacity new requirements for coal plant planning and
much smaller but highly beleaguered coal from 17 GW to 227 GWmostly from new construction. The rules mandated that any
fleet look like a relic from the past. plants that were small coal-fired units outfit- new coal plants larger than 600 MW or with a
ted with subcritical steam cycles. Most had coal consumption rate of less than 286 grams
Mandatory Emissions Reductions few or no air pollutant emission controls, so (g)/kWh should have PM removal and flue
The stunning pace of development of environ- inevitablyalong with soaring power genera- gas desulfurization (FGD) systems installed.
mental technology innovation in China can be tion that fueled its budding economyChina It also encouraged the use of supercritical
attributed to policies that the country has put saw an intense increase of air pollutants, spur- and ultrasupercritical technology, as well as
in place relatively recently. Chinas period of ring smog and haze, along with rampant acid combined heat and power plants. In 2007, the
profound economic growth, urbanization, and rain problems across large swathes of south- country then launched the Large Substitut-
demographic change began nearly three de- ern China. ing Small program, which meant every new
cades agoas the country embarked on reforms The ramp-up of air pollution prompted the and existing coal plant of more than 135 MW
to open up its economy to foreign investors government in the late 1990s to issue a no- needed FGD systems. Emission standards
after the Cultural Revolution, which was em- tice on strict control of small thermal power strengthened in 2012, meanwhile, prompt-
bedded on fiercely anti-capitalist elements. equipment manufacturing construction, ing the installation of electrostatic precipita-
The reforms prompted development of ener- which banned construction of power units tors (ESPs) and selective catalytic reduction
gy-intensive heavy industrial sectors, includ- under 25 MW and forced some small, inef- (SCR) units at more than 80% of the coal
ing steel and cement. But the countrys power ficient power units under 50 MW to close. fleet. All these strict policies forced the de-
supply couldnt keep up, owing to a lack of One of the first strict pollution measures commissioning of an estimated 95 GW of

46 |
POWER July 2017
five-year plans, Qian noted. In 2014, for ex-
Table 1. Conventional air pollution standards for new and existing plants in milligrams per
cubic meter (mg/m3). Source: Center for American Progress
ample, China published the Action Plan on
Upgrade and Reconstruction of Coal-Fired
Pollutant (mg/m3) China U.S. European Union Power Plants for Energy Conservation and
Nitrogen oxide Existing 100 135 200 Emission Reduction, which sets technical
standards for new and existing coal plants to
New 50 95 150
meet by 2020 (or by 2017 for plants in eastern
Sulfur oxide Existing 50200 185 200 China and 2018 in central China) for higher
New 35 136 150 power generation efficiency and pollutant
emission levels that are on par with gas-fired
Particulate matter Existing 2030 19 20
generation. The standards are stricter than
New 10 12 10 comparable ones in both the European Union
and in the U.S. (Table 1).
small thermal generating units between 2005 tion from the 2005 level. The total amount It also mandates that new pulverized coal
and 2014. of [PM], SO2 and NOx emitted from thermal units of more than 600 MW be outfitted with
According to Qian Zhu of the International power plants in 2014 was halved compared ultrasupercritical technology, and that pul-
Energy Agencys (IEAs) Clean Coal Centre, to that of 2006.Also as significant, by 2014, verized heating units and circulating fluid-
the resulting environmental gains were stun- 100 GW of Chinas total coal capacity of 907 ized bed (CFB) units of more than 300 MW
ning. By the end of 2014, the share of units GW featured ultrasupercritical technology, a adopt supercritical technology. To drive the
300 MWe in the installed thermal power ca- figure that has grown exponentially. Today, adoption of high-efficiency, low-emission
pacity was 77.7% and the share of units 600 according to data from S&P Global Platts, technology, the government has offered,
MWe reached 41.5%, she wrote in a recent of Chinas 920-MW coal fleet, 19% uses ul- since 2016, feed-in tariffs for power gener-
IEA overview of Chinas clean coal inno- trasupercritical technology, 25% uses super- ated from low-emission plants.
vations. The share of [combined heat and critical technology, and 56% uses subcritical The measures have paid off in a big way,
power] units increased from 13.3% in 2000 technology (Figure 1). as Melanie Hart, Luke Bassett, and Blaine
to almost 29% of thermal power generation Johnson of the Center for American Progress
capacity in 2013. The national average coal Stepping up Efficiency point out in a report on Chinas coal genera-
consumption rate for power supply in 2015 Chinas environmental vision is rooted in a tion that was released in May. By 2020, all
was 315 g/kWh, which is a 55 g/kWh reduc- national energy policy, typically set out as coal-fired units nationwide must achieve the

July 2017 POWER 47
expand the use of air-cooled thermal power
2. Double the heat. Units 3 and 4 at the Guodian Taizhou Phase II Project, which came
technology since around 2005. An indig-
online between September 2015 and January 2016, demonstrated Chinesedesigned and sup-
plied double-reheat ultrasupercritical technology. The calculated coal consumption at the $1.27 enously built 600-MW air-cooling system
billion project is 256 grams of coal-equivalent per kilowatt-hour. Courtesy: China Guodian Corp. was scaled up to a 1-GW ultrasupercritical
air-cooling unit and installed at the Huadian
Ningxia Lingwu Power Plant in Northwest
China in 2010. The technology now report-
edly equips 66 GW of Chinas fleet.
Particulate Matter Control Technolo-
gies. Chinas strong concerns about its wide-
spread fine particulate issues have spurred a
number of innovations. According to the Chi-
nese Academy of Engineering, researchers at
Tsinghua University have developed novel
technologies, including in situ low-intensity
phase-selective laser-induced breakdown
spectroscopy, an in-flame two-stage diluted
sampling system, and a thermophoretic sam-
pling system to tamp down ultrafine PM
formation at an early stage of the pulverized
following efficiency standards or shut down: el single-reheating unit, the double-reheating coal combustion process for plants burning
300 [g/kWh] for all new plants and 310 [g/ unit adds another level of reheating to allow high-sodium lignite and anthracite coal. The
kWh] for all existing plants. The 100 most the system to reach a higher thermal cycle ef- academic institution also says that stricter
efficient coal-fired power plants in China ficiency, adding to gains in power generation emission standards have prompted the use of
range from 271.56 [g/kWh] to 294.88 [g/ efficiency while slashing coal consumption multi-field coupled control technologies,
kWh]. No plant on the U.S. top 100 list can and generation costs, says the plants own- including hybrid conventional approaches
currently meet these efficiency standards, er China Guodian Corp. Unit 3 has a plant involving acoustic force, electrostatic force,
the authors noted. efficiency of 47.82%, one of the highest in chemical bonds, and thermophoretic force.
China and in the world, and its emissions of These technologies are used alongside the
A Technology Vision PM, SO2, and NOx are 2.3 mg/m3, 15 mg/m3, widely applied use of wet ESPs, low-temper-
According to Qian, achievements in effi- and 31 mg/m3, respectively, noted Qian. The ature ESPs, and hybrid ESP/bag systems.
ciency have also been driven in large part by demonstrated technology has since been ap- Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Stor-
Chinas giant investments in research and de- plied to at least two other power plants. age (CCUS). Chinas commitment under
velopment (R&D) of new technologies and Circulating Fluidized Bed Technol- the Paris Agreement is to reduce its carbon
processes. Strategic objectives set out in its ogy. China now has a total of more than intensity 60% to 65% from the 2005 level
11th Five-Year Plan (20062010), 12th Five- 3,000 CFB boiler units, a technology that by 2030, peaking its carbon emissions by
Year Plan (20112015), and 13th Five-Year suits Chinas high-sulfur coal resources. In 2030, and boosting the share of non-fossil-
Plan (20162020) prioritized technology de- 2013, China commissioned the 600-MW fueled power to 20%. In 2012, China became
velopment for large-scale ultrasupercritical supercritical Baima CFB demonstration the worlds largest emitter of greenhouse
and CFB units, as well as for carbon-captur- power plant, which continues to be one of gasesresponsible for 23% of the global
ing integrated gasification combined cycle the largest units of its type. The steam pa- total. The country has been exploring a num-
(IGCC) units. These comprehensive plans rameters adopted by the Baima CFB unit ber of ways to capture CO2, including with
also take into account domestic intellectual are 25.4 MPa/571C/569C. The emissions of precombustion methods such as the Green-
property rights and funding initiatives. SO2, NOx, and PM (192, 112, and 9 mg/m3, Gen IGCC project. It has so far completed
The result: China has both adapted and respectively) are reportedly much lower than three demonstration post-combustion carbon
improved on technologies developed abroad, designed values for burning low-quality coal. capture projects. In 2014, it also put online a
but also achieved cost reductions through Integrated Gasification Combined 35 MWth oxyfuel boiler in Hubei province
process innovation, incremental manufactur- Cycle Technology. Also in 2013, China as part of a long-term plan to launch oxyfuel
ing, and deployment at scale. But Chinas put online its first IGCC plant, the 250-MW boilers of 200 MW to 600 MW after 2020.
development of domestic technologies and Huaneng Tianjin demonstration plant (Figure That project is supported by the Huazhong
optimized engineering designs that are ap- 3). The project in Tianjin province uses sub- University of Science and Technology, along
plicable to various parts of its power genera- bituminous coal. The gasifier is a dry-feed, with a number of power generators and plant
tion process, on both new and existing power oxygen-blown, pressurized two-stage reac- equipment makers. Projects are also under-
plants, are also laudable. Some examples of tor. Modifications in 2014 improved project way to explore deep saline aquifer carbon
significant progress follow. reliability and availability significantly, said storage, micro algae cultivation, and for
Double-Reheating Ultrasupercritical the plants majority owner, China Huaneng long-term enhanced oil recovery. According
Technology. A noteworthy example is the Group. In July 2016, the plants owners to experts, China is on track to demonstrate
Guodian Taizhou Phase II Project, an ultrasu- completed 72 hours of continuous operation the entire CCUS process and is determined to
percritical plant consisting of two 1,000-MW during full-load commissioning tests on the accelerate its commercial application.
units put online between September 2015 and carbon capture system, which uses an ab-
January 2016 that demonstrated indigenously sorption chemical solvent-based process. Prospective Technologies
designed double-reheat technology (Figure Air-Cooled Power Plants. In response A number of initiatives are ongoing in paral-
2). Compared to a conventional gigawatt-lev- to water scarcity, China has sought to vastly lel to develop even higher-efficiency power

48 |
POWER July 2017
heavy metals and volatile organic compounds.
3. GreenGen. China Huaneng Group and seven other Chinese state-owned companies,
and later U.S.-based Peabody Energy, banded together between 2006 and 2007 to develop
Several programs are also examining utiliza-
a large-scale integrated gasification combined cycle unit with a carbon capture and storage tion of byproducts from pollutant removal.
system. The first phase involved construction and operation of the 250-MW Huaneng Tianjin The technologies would be beneficial to a
demonstration plant. The second phase, currently underway, involves improving existing sys- number of countries bent on expanding their
tems and developing a demonstration-scale system to draw about 7% of the syngas from the coal fleets. According to some experts, how-
Tianjin plant for carbon capture, which is to be used for enhanced oil recovery. A third phase ever, conditions in the U.S. may not support
may involve building a larger 400-MW plant with associated carbon capture facilities. Courtesy: an expansion of highly efficient coal genera-
Huaneng Group tion, taking into account lessons learned in
China. One reason is that the U.S., unlike
China, has access to cheap and plentiful shale
gas, which has put coal-fired generation at
a competitive disadvantage. Additionally,
emissions regulations and the general public
perception that coal is a dirty fuel have ef-
fectively halted the development of any new
coal-fired power plants in the U.S.
If China is going to reduce emissions
substantially, more efficient coal generation
has to be part of its equation, at least for the
near to medium term. In the United States,
investing in next-generation clean coal plants
is not a good solution because natural gas is
cheap, plentiful, and lower-emitting than all
but the most expensive coal-fired power, the
authors of the May overview from the Center
technology solutions, as well as to increase On the emissions front, research continues on for American Progress noted.
the flexibility of coal plants, so that they can multi-field fine particulate control technolo- Sonal Patel is a POWER
support the high penetration of renewables. gies, as well as on control technologies for associate editor.

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July 2017 POWER 49
The Latest in Thermal
Energy Storage
As renewables gain a greater foothold in the energy system, the importance
of energy storage is going to increase in kind. With the ongoing gradual
shift away from traditional baseload energy sources, the development of
efficient energy storage systems is imperative.
Abby L. Harvey

ike it or not, the U.S. energy mix is 1. Times are changing. As the U.S. energy mix shifts away from traditional baseload
changing. According to the Energy In- forms of generation, thermal energy storage provides an opportunity for renewables to fill the
formation Administration, U.S. fossil void. Courtesy: SolarReserve
fuel production fell 7% from 2015 to 2016.
Coal, in particular, decreased 18%, sitting
at its lowest level since 1978. Even natural
gas, which has been on an upswing in recent
years due to the shale boom, fell 2% from
2015 to 2016.
Renewable energy production, on the
other hand, increased 7% during that period,
with wind and solar accounting for nearly a
quarter of that jump.
The problem with this shift, of course, is
the loss of baseload energy generation. The
nation needs electricity 24 hours a day, not
just when the sun is shining and the wind is
blowing. Fortunately, the answer to this prob-
lem is known. Renewables must be combined
with some form of energy storage, such as
batteries, pumped hydro, or via thermal en-
ergy storage (TES, Figure 1).
On the surface, TES is a pretty basic idea.
Energy is stored as heat in some form of me-
dium for future use. However, delving further
into the options and applications for TES re-
veals a much more complex picture.
in concentrated solar power (CSP) applica- all new CSP plants operating or under con-
Thermal Energy Storage 101 tions where the use of TES enables a proj- struction are equipped with a TES system.
There are three main types of TES sys- ect to produce electricity well after the sun Latent Heat Storage. Latent heat stor-
tems, only one of which has significant has gone down (see Crescent Dunes Solar age is not as commonly used in the energy
commercial availability in the power sector. Energy Project, Tonopah, Nevada in the production sector, but recent developments
Compared to the other options, sensible heat December 2016 issue). Generally, the me- have shown promise in some applications.
storage is relatively inexpensive and much dium of choice in CSP plants with TES is Latent heat storage relies on the storage
less complicated. Latent energy storage and molten salts, which can withstand extreme- medium changing states, for example from
thermal-chemical storage systems are ex- ly high temperatures. solid to liquid. Latent heat storage mediums
pensive and as of yet largely experimental. There are a variety of different CSP sys- are often referred to as phase change materi-
Sensible Heat Storage. The most tems, each presenting unique energy storage als (PCMs).
widely used form of TES in the energy pro- requirements. While a direct TES system While sensible heat is the least expen-
duction sector is sensible heat storage. In a using molten salts is viable for a power sive TES option, PCMs offer benefits worth
sensible heat TES system, a liquid or solid tower system like that at the Crescent Dunes pursuing if costs can be driven down. For
storage mediumsuch as water, molten project (Figure 2), a parabolic trough proj- example, sensible heat storage requires very
salts, sand, or rocksis heated or cooled to ect would likely require a slightly different large volumes of storage medium due to low
store energy. TES system. According to the International energy density. PCMs offer an energy den-
Sensible heat storage is widely utilized Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), nearly sity roughly three times greater.

50 |
POWER July 2017
up with the PV cost decreases.
2. Sensible heat storage in action. SolarReserves Crescent Dunes project in Ne-
To stay competitive with PV, CSP has to
vada utilizes sensible heat storage to store up to 10 hours of energy. The molten salt used in
the storage process is kept in two large tanks in the center of the solar field. Courtesy: Solar- bring something unique to the table, and it
Reserve has done so in the form of TES. Thermal
storage is required for any of these CSP
technologies to move forward, Anoop
Mathur, chief technology officer and found-
er of Terrafore Technologies, told POWER.
Using TES in CSP puts the technology
in a position to hold a greater percentage of
the energy mix someday, as PV and wind
are not currently well-positioned to serve
as baseload generation sources. With TES,
a CSP plant could run 24 hours a day, a fact
that SolarReserve has proved with its Cres-
cent Dunes project in Nevada.
The Crescent Dunes project is a 110-MW
plant located three hours outside Las Vegas.
The plant boasts 1,100 MWh of energy stor-
age, which can provide 10 hours of electric-
ity at full load. The plant powers 75,000
homes during peak operation.
The projects molten salt power tower
sits at the center of a massive field of mir-
rors, or heliostats, directing light to the top
of the tower (Figure 3). The mirrors heat the
energy storage medium directly, making the
3. A field of mirrors. The Crescent Dunes solar receiver sits in the center of a massive process more efficient than other systems
field of heliostats. Molten salt is pumped up the tower where directed heat increases its tem-
that bolt on energy storage, SolarReserve
perature to roughly 1050C. Courtesy: SolarReserve
CEO Kevin Smith told POWER. I think
the view in the solar thermal world is that
the tower configuration with molten salt is
the most efficient and cost-effective thermal
storage for large-scale. The heat collected
is used to generate steam that in turn drives
a turbine generator.
SolarReserves process pumps the molten
salt up to the top of the tower where it is
heated, making full use of the unique quali-
ties of the salts. The molten salts used by
SolarReserve remain solid until heated to
about 450F, but once they are in a liquid
form, they stay in that state at temperatures
as high as 1050F. SolarReserves cold
salts are kept between 500F and 550F,
meaning that the companys TES system
has about a 500-degree working range.
In contrast, parabolic trough CSP proj-
ects heat an interim liquid, which in turn
heats the molten salt. The difficulty with
that technology is the [fluid] thats utilized
for heat transfer has kind of a maxi-
Thermo-Chemical Storage. As the is insignificant. mum temperature of maybe 700F or 750F.
name suggests, thermo-chemical storage So theyre operating from a 550F-to-700F,
(TCS) uses chemical reactions to store en- Applications in Concentrated or 750F [range], which is only about a
ergy. TCS systems offer even greater energy Solar Power 200-degree delta, whereas we can transfer
density than PCMs. CSP has had a rough go of it as its sister 500-degrees of delta into our molten salts.
Just about everything related to TCS is technology, photovoltaic (PV) solar, has been Essentially it means were packing more en-
costly. For example, IRENA points out in a enjoying a few good years of growth. Ac- ergy into each pound of molten salt, Smith
technology brief, the cost of the equipment cording to the Solar Energy Industries Asso- said. Its kind of two or three times the en-
from a thermo-chemical reactor is much ciation, the PV market grew 97% from 2015 ergy stored in the salts.
higher than the cost of the storage material, to 2016 as PV prices fell by nearly 20%. CSP, With its 10 hours of storage, the Cres-
which is not to say the cost of the material on the other hand, has not been able to keep cent Dune project can produce electricity 24

July 2017 POWER 51
requires less material to do the same job.
4. Lighting up the night. Using sensible heat storage, the Crescent Dunes project is
able to produce energy long after the sun has set, helping power the lights of Las Vegas. Cour-
Where the molten salt system used at Cres-
tesy: SolarReserve cent Dunes requires two large tanks, one for
the cold salt and one for the heated salt,
the TerraFore system requires only one tank
and less material.
Within the tank, three different salts
would be stacked. At the top are salts with
the highest melting point and at the bot-
tom are salts with the lowest melting point,
with a layer of salts with a mid-range melt-
ing point in the middle. The system uses a
thermal transfer fluid, which flows from the
solar receiver to the top of the tank where it
then flows through the stacked bed of cap-
sules, heating them in turn as the fluid slow-
ly cools. Once it reaches the bottom of the
tank, the thermal transfer fluid is pumped
back to the solar receiver.
That cycle continues until the stored en-
ergy is needed, at which time the heat trans-
fer fluid is pumped from the tank into the
power block where steam is generated to
drive a turbine.

Finding a Good Match

Mathur doesnt see his PCM process be-
ing adopted at large-scale CSP projects like
Crescent Dunes in the very near future, but
he hopes that at some point it might make
its way into that sector. For now, he believes
the best place for his technology to enter the
market is in distributed CSP.
Working with a company in Sweden,
hours a day, though typically it only runs TCS. One such project, an encapsulated Mathur believes he may have found a good
1214 hours a day. Generally, the plant is PCM developed by TerraFore Technolo- match. They have developed a dish Stirling
producing electricity for NV Energy from gies, has received significant support from system, which can operate at about 800
around 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Figure 4) simply the Department of Energy and may be on 900C, but it works exactly like a PVwhen
because it is not needed for more than that. the verge of commercialization. the sun shines it generates electricity. So
In some markets, like say Chile or oth- As noted, PCMs hold an advantage over they cannot be competitive with PV because
er markets, they really want a project like sensible heat storage mediums due to their PV costs are so low. Now, if they can put
this to run 24 hours a day. The U.S. has a increased energy density. The best way to storage with it, they become competitive
pretty diverse mix of power; theres still a take advantage of PCMs, Mathur said, is to with a dispatchable standpoint, he said.
fair amount of coal-burning power projects encapsulate them. However, doing so is no For the time being, SolarReserve is hap-
out there and a lot of nuclear, and those fa- easy task. py with the technology it has developed.
cilities have to run 24 hours a day, Smith The big issue of encapsulating is how do The company currently has a number of
noted. you encapsulate a solid which expands almost projects under development around the
However, as the nations energy mix con- 20%? he said. That means you have to have world, all based on the same technology
tinues to change, SolarReserve predicts that a capsule, think about a ball partially filled used at Crescent Dunes. The core tech-
Crescent Dunes could be operating for lon- with salt, how do you make that? You cannot nology, which is our receiver technology,
ger stretches. Longer-term, a lot of [coal open it and fill part of it and seal it because does not really need to be modified very
and nuclear] will be phased out, and as the sealing becomes an issue. much when we go from location to loca-
U.S. markets change over the long-term, we The answer, according to Mathur, is poly- tion, Smith explained.
may see that we could be operating more 24 mers. I thought about it, dreamed about it, However, that doesnt mean the compa-
hours a day. But for right now, its more the so I said why cant we put some kind of a nys leadership isnt keeping an open mind.
peak demand periods 8, 10, 12, 14 hours a polymer on top of my capsule, on the salt? Were keeping our eye on other options out
day of generation and typically well into the Then put my shell material, and then heat it, there on thermal storage and other materials
evening hours, Smith said. and then the polymer will disappear, leav- that we can utilize, Smith said, but right
ing a void behind, he explained. So that now we really dont see anything thats on
Implications for the Future gives it expansion volume. It is a chemical the horizon near-term that can be done on a
While sensible heat transfer currently domi- way of creating a void inside the shell. commercial scale.
nates the TES field, there is a lot of research TerraFores system improves on the Abby L. Harvey is a
and development activity in PCMs and traditional sensible heat system in that it POWER reporter.

52 |
POWER July 2017
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July 2017 POWER 55

Coal: The Next Chapter

Betsy B. Monseu

he new administration in Washington, D.C., has a sharply ing improvements to existing coal plants, and market structures

T different vision for the development and use of our nations

abundant energy resources, including coal. These riches are
seen as a strength, not something to be kept in the ground.
that do not incorporate the value of coals dispatchable 24/7
generation capability and its ability to store fuel inventory on-
They are viewed as a means to achieve energy independence and A 2014 IHS Energy study showed the diversity of a U.S. gen-
provide energy security. eration fleet anchored by coal saves Americans $93 billion an-
nually and reduces by half the potential variability of monthly
Change Begins Early Under Trump power bills. What will happen to natural gas prices with coal
Less than one month into the new administration, Congressional less available? The marketplace should have concern about that
Review Act legislation revoked the Department of the Interiors dynamic.
Stream Protection Rule (SPR). This rule would have restricted The buildout of renewables generation continues, spurred by
access to coal reserves, increased mining costs, eroded federal polices, including attractive tax incentives and subsidies. With
and state tax revenues, and resulted in the loss of high numbers electric load growth low, flat, or negative in some regions, coal
of well-paying jobs. Notably, the absence of the SPR does not in- and other generation sources are being pushed out, unable to
crease coal minings risk to the environment; effective state pro- compete with free. More recently, subsidies for nuclear plants
grams overseen by the Interior Department are already in place. are further complicating the electricity markets and negatively
President Trumps executive order on energy independence affecting coal generation.
and economic growth, signed a little more than two months into
his presidency, mitigated a threat to the use of coal for electric- Coal Remains Important
ity generation. That order directed an immediate reevaluation Recent issues and decisions regarding reliability continue to
of the Environmental Protection Agencys (EPAs) Clean Power demonstrate the importance of coal to grid reliability, and the
Plan (CPP) for greenhouse gas reductions from the power sector. risk associated with reduced fuel diversity and increased reliance
The Energy Information Administrations Annual Energy Outlook on non-coal power generation.
2017 shows that 240 million tons of annual coal production (as California has moved away from coal to renewables and natu-
of 2040) will be maintained without the CPP. As to the CPPs ral gas. Southern California Gas Co. in late April warned that it
environmental impact, even the EPA acknowledged it would be might not be able to meet electricity demand during upcoming
negligible. peaks due to continued restrictions on its Aliso Canyon gas stor-
These policy actions, and better market conditions, are result- age facility, in the aftermath of a leak there in the latter part of
ing in a more optimistic view of the coal industry, including by 2015. Within days, the California Independent System Operator
investors. Improvements include a strong market for metallurgi- issued a Stage 1 Emergency notice that it could not meet op-
cal coal, increased export opportunities, and higher natural gas erating reserve requirements for a 2-hour period.
prices, which means more coal-based generating units are run- In the Northeast, another region that has moved away from
ning more often than a year ago. coal, the B.L. England coal units scheduled for shutdown in May
were ordered by PJM to continue operations for two years to
Challenges Persist protect reliability in that region.
Notwithstanding the turn for the better, there are ongoing bar- And in Oklahoma, the Department of Energy issued an emer-
riers to a longer-term path of sustainability for the coal indus- gency order in April for the Grand River Dam Authority to con-
try. Addressing these barriers is important to the power sector. tinue operation of a coal-fueled unit to maintain grid reliability
Fuel diversity and choice are necessary to maintain a robust, there.
competitive fuels marketplace that keeps electricity prices af- With investments of $111 billion made through 2015 for emis-
fordable for consumers, enhances grid reliability, and supports sions reductions, 90% of the U.S. coal fleet is equipped with
energy security. Coal is indispensable to the power sectors abil- advanced emissions controls and operating cleaner than ever.
ity to fulfill these objectives. Its price level and price stability Protecting these plants and investments, not stranding them,
over time have been key to affordable electricity. must be a policy priority.
However, the U.S. coal fleet has been reduced by about President Trump and key Cabinet members have declared the
50,000 MW in the past several years due to plant closures to federal war on coal over. They have pledged to level the play-
comply with EPA regulations. More coal retirements are likely to ing field. Writing the next chapter for coal has begun, and it
occur due to lopsided policies for building new electricity gen- must continue with urgency.
eration sources, New Source Performance Review issues inhibit- Betsy B. Monseu is CEO of the American Coal Council.

56 |
POWER July 2017
FEBRUARY 27-28, 2018
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