INDUSTRY BRIEFS: OEMs, service providers, people, plants

Inspection guide for drum-level instrumentation

The 2017 edition of Boiler Inspection Guidelines for Drum Level Instrumentation, issued by Clark-Reliance Corp, concisely presents inspection requirements for ease of reference by O&M personnel. The basis for the seemingly indestructible, spiral-bound 5.5 × 8 in. book is Section I of the ASME Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code (current edition). It includes requirements for water columns, water gage valves, gage glass, remote level indicators, magnetic water-level gages (MLGs), and water-column isolation shutoff valves.

New to the guidebook this year is content pertaining to the use of MLGs, a topic which may have generated confusion among plant personnel in the past. The standard use of MLGs available from most manufacturers could result in a Code violation and safety hazard. Code compliance is assured by following guidelines presented in the Clark-Reliance publication.

The information presented is completely up-to-date and incorporates the 2015 Code changes and CSD-1 requirements, as well as recommendations from Section 7. Additionally, it identifies the most common non-compliant drum-level equipment arrangements and recommended solutions.

Emerson makes the virtual powerplant a reality

With the introduction of what Emerson says is the industry’s first integrated control and simulation platform, the company has positioned plant owners to fundamentally change how they operate their facilities. Emerson reports that sales of Ovation™ high-fidelity embedded simulation have more than doubled in the past year, confirming significant interest in the “virtual powerplant” and its value in minimizing operational risk and in improving reliability.

In the virtual plant, the Ovation simulator runs in parallel with the Ovation control system. This allows operators to test control logic changes in advance, based on real-time plant data, ensuring those changes won’t disrupt operations. Other Emerson technologies—such as pattern recognition, Pervasive Sensing™, and analytical tools—enhance the virtual experience.

Finding experienced operators for today’s advanced plants is one of the industry’s biggest challenges and an opportunity for Emerson given its controls advancements. Bob Yeager, president Power & Water, Emerson Automation Solutions, told the editors, “Emerson is improving operator effectiveness and confidence while reducing operating risks through intelligent control systems, more realistic training and simulation platforms, and easier-to-use technologies.”

Siemens update

The first four of twelve 1200-MW, 2 × 1 H-class combined cycles for Egypt’s Beni Suef, Burullus, and New Capital power projects were connected to the grid only 18 months after contract signing. Completion of the fast-track project is expected in May 2018.

Siemens and Atos, a leading European digital services firm, will leverage their portfolios to help US utilities and O&G industry establish an integrated first line of defense against cyber-attacks.

Siemens commissions Tate & Lyle’s 2 × 0 SGT-700-powered cogeneration plant in Loudon, Tenn.

A 44-MW mobile power unit introduced by Siemens is said to be the largest in the growing market for fast power. It can be installed in less than two weeks. The mobile system features the SGT-A45 TR engine based on Rolls-Royce aero-engine technology. The gas-turbine core uses components from the industrial Trent 60 that have been adapted to a proven free power turbine.

Recent orders:

      • Turnkey 2 × 1 H-class combined cycle for the Electricity Generating authority of Thailand.

      • Four turnkey powerplants for IPP customers in Argentina with a combined capability of nearly 690 MW. Six SGT-A65 TR (formerly industrial Trent 60) gas turbines are at the heart of two plants in the cities of Lujan and Matheu; six SGT-800 engines will be installed in San Pedro and Zarate.

      • Five SGT6-5000F engines for the Fadhili CHP plant in Saudi Arabia, with a total capability of about 1500 MW.

      • Two SGT-700-powered compressor trains and two SGT-700-powered simple-cycle generator packages for the Liwa Plastics Industries Complex in Oman.

      • A 1 × 1 SGT5-4000F-powered combined cycle for the King’s Lynn Power Station in Norfolk, UK.

Hampa Engineering Corp, an EPC contractor, orders compressor trains for two onshore natural-gas processing plants in Iran. Commercial operation is expected year-end 2018. Likely of greatest interest to CCJ readers is the selection of prime movers. Four compressors will be powered by DLE-equipped SGT-700 gas turbines rated 33.7 MW in mechanical-drive applications. Another four compressors will be driven by SGT-100 gas turbines rated 5.7 MW in mechanical-drive service. The SGT-100 began life as the Typhoon, designed by Ruston Gas Turbines, which spawned European Gas Turbines. EGT became part of Alstom Gas Turbines which sold this and several other gas-turbine models to Siemens. Compressors for the remaining two trains will be motor-driven. All compressors are of Siemens design (Demag/Demag-Delaval).

Castle Peak Power Co, Hong Kong, orders a combined-cycle power block for its Black Point Power Station in Tuen Mun. The single-shaft unit, consisting of one SGT5-8000H gas turbine, one SST5-5000 steam turbine, and one water-cooled SGen5-3000W generator, will be commissioned by Siemens before 2020.

Macquarie Infrastructure Corp orders two Trent 60 wet low-emissions engines for the Bayonne Energy Center, which delivers power to Con Edison in New York City via an underwater transmission line. The units can produce full power from a standing start in less than 10 minutes.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems update

The OEM reports that its global fleet of 146 advanced gas turbines had accumulated more than 4 million operating hours by the end of 1Q/2017.

Paul Browning, president/CEO of MHPS Americas, announced during Carnegie Mellon Energy Week that the university’s new index measuring carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s powerplants reflects a cleaner environment, which is attributed to the replacement of old coal-fired units with efficient gas-fired capacity and renewables.

Grand River Dam Authority completes the first fire of its M501J-powered Grand River Energy Center, east of Chouteau, Okla, March 14. The engine is the first such machine to operate in the Western Hemisphere. The 495-MW 1 × 1 combined cycle is said to have the potential to become the most efficient plant of its type in the US when fully operational.

The M501JAC, an enhanced air-cooled gas turbine, is designed to produce 540 MW at 63% efficiency. As of mid-December 2016, the machine had demonstrated 99.5% reliability during 11,000 hours of commercial operation.

With an order for two M501J machines from Iberdrola SA’s El Carmen combined-cycle plant in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, MHPS now has 47 J engines on order and 23 such units operating globally. The fleet had accumulated 335,000 hours of commercial service at 99.3% reliability through 2016.

Entergy Louisiana LLC orders two MHPS 501GAC gas turbines to power its 980-MW St. Charles Power Station, scheduled for operation in 2019.

MHPS expands its global relationship with OSIsoft to drive further development of the digital powerplant. The latter’s PI will serve as the core for new interactive, cloud-based analytics services provided by the OEM. As part of this strategic alliance, the two companies will collaborate to define and promote new integrated digital solutions that add intelligence to powerplants worldwide, using best-in-class software while leveraging their respective knowledge.

Dominion Virginia Power breaks ground for its 1588-MW Greensville County Power Station, which will be equipped with three 1 × 1 combined cycles powered by M501J gas turbines.

Sulzer update

Sulzer breaks ground for a new pump service facility in Pasadena, Tex, adjacent to the company’s existing center for electromechanical services. The new shop will become the regional headquarters for pump services in the Americas, including state-of-the-art equipment and technical support.

At-speed balancing bunker, located in Sulzer’s Houston Service Center, celebrates 20 years of service to the industry. The machine, which has balanced over 2800 rotors, is an integral part of the diagnostic and repair process for large rotating components. The service center’s dedicated vacuum chamber, bunker, and advanced electronics work in concert to achieve precision balancing. Turbomachinery up to 30 ft long, 8.5 ft in diameter, and 25 tons can be tested at speeds up to 40,000 rpm.

Sulzer is selected by ABB to provide maintenance and repair services in the UK for the OEM’s medium- and high-voltage motors and generators. Sulzer, named a Loyalty Partner after successful completion of a comprehensive audit, will provide inspection, remedial work, modifications, repairs, and rewinds of ABB’s large machines rated at 6.6 kV and above. Its service centers in Birmingham and Falkirk have expanded their facilities to meet the additional demand.

The gas turbines at Associated Electric Cooperative Inc’s Holden Power Plant, a 3 × 0 V84.2-powered peaking facility, recently were upgraded to extend calendar-based inspection intervals to 10 years for HGP and to 20 years for a major without affecting reliability and performance. The units each had accumulated about 10,000 EOH since first operation a dozen years ago. Here is some of the work done by Sulzer:

      • Compressor—rotating and stationary sections, including inlet guide vanes—were coated to prevent oxidation by protecting against corrosion and fouling (photo).

      • The flame tube F-ring was machined to expose fresh material, overlain with Inconel 82, and re-machined to original dimensions. Expected result: Improved component durability.

      • Combustion section was protected with a full thermal barrier coating; chromium carbide was applied to mating services in the combustion section to minimize wear during expansion/contraction.

      • Additional cooling holes were drilled in the flame tube behind the A-row tiles to reduce oxidation and erosion.

Sulzer solves gas-fuel nozzle leak issue on Frame 6B and 7EA engines. Solution can be implemented during routine scheduled maintenance to effectively reduce to zero previously tolerable minor leaks at the primary-fuel nozzle tips. This enables the turbine to run at optimum parameters for power, efficiency, and component lifespan—while assisting the owner/operate meet more-strict emissions regulations.


Camseal® zero-leakage ball valves are designed for long life and inline access to internal components for ease of maintenance and repair. Brochure [link to] provides plant personnel the information required to make a purchasing decision—including Cv values, operating torques, working-pressure charts, dimensions, materials, fire-safe test data, quality certifications, etc. Short video brings key points in the brochure to life.

BASF Corp announces the availability of Camet™ ST, a sulfur-tolerant oxidation catalyst designed to prevent the deactivation of catalyst systems installed on units burning gas with fracked and biogas components.

3M Industrial Group’s Liqui-Flux® ultrafiltration modules offer an alternative to conventional treatment steps—such as flocculation, sedimentation, and multimedia filtration—to remove turbidity, suspended solids, and pathogens from raw water streams. Heart of the Liqui-Flux module is the company’s UltraPES™ polyethersulfone membrane which is said to reduce the potential for fouling. High caustic resistance and free-chlorine tolerance are two attributes of the modules, which can operate at pH values between 1 and 13.

Clark-Reliance Corp announces a new line of coalescing filter elements for the gas processing industry. VertexCore™ filter elements are designed to eliminate unsafe filter-element change-out techniques while increasing filtration efficiencies.


Mike Hartsig, until recently the plant manager of Griffith Energy, a 2 × 1 F-class combined cycle in Kingman, Ariz, has put his work boots in the closet. He was replaced by Scott Henry, who had been O&M manager at that facility.

Frank Meade replaces Jeff Zelik as plant manager at Eagle Point Power Generation, Westville, NJ, commissioned in 1991 as a 7EA-equipped refinery cogeneration facility and recently upgraded by owner Rockland Capital. Zelik is now at WorleyParsons.

News of Charlie Zirkelback’s passing last July reached us only recently. The Union Carbide/Dow Chemical Corporate Fellow was a “plant guy” at heart with a solution for just about everything not working correctly. Respected by colleagues in the Frame 6 Users Group, he was honored with the organization’s John F D Peterson Award in 2006 for his contributions to the industry.

Conval Inc appoints Michael Glavin VP of engineering with responsibility for new product development and technology. He has more than 25 years of experience in fluid handling, including engineering leadership positions at Cameron, Tyco Valves and Controls, and Worcester Controls.

US Water Services Inc, a subsidiary of Allete Inc—an energy company that owns Minnesota Power and Superior Water, Light & Power—names LaMarr Barnes CEO. Most recently, he was the company’s senior VP of marketing and strategy. Barnes has more than 25 years of experience in industrial water treatment and technology management.

Company news

ANZGT Field Services and Engine Cleaning Technology (ECT) sign a distribution agreement giving Air New Zealand access to ECT’s efficient compressor technologies—including the R-MC family of gas-turbine cleaners, injection equipment, and inlet conditioning systems.

 ep³ LLC describes its new process improvement tool in a short video “Lessons Learned,” which explains how to inject new life into your plant’s continuous improvement efforts. Write for a demonstration or contact COO Malcolm Hubbard, a former G-class combined-cycle plant manager, directly.

Clarcor Inc’s announced acquisition by Parker Hannifin Corp was completed at the end of February. The strategic transaction creates a combined organization with a comprehensive portfolio of filtration products and technologies.

Mee Industries Inc uses a case history to describe the success of its inlet cooling technology in the challenging summer environment experienced at an Italian refinery in Venice. Output of a 25-MW gas turbine was increased by 1 MW and emissions were reduced.

NV Energy and Apple have agreed to build 200 MW of solar power generation capability in Nevada to support the latter’s Reno data center. This is in addition to the 491 MW of universal solar resources in the state currently serving the utility’s customers.

M&M Engineering Associates, a provider of field and lab engineering services, is acquired by Acuren Inc, a provider of non-destructive testing, inspection, and related services. A goal of the merged company is to help plants optimize the lifecycles of their critical assets.

Power Services Group Inc, a provider of turnkey MRO solutions for steam and gas turbines, integrates the capabilities of its affiliated companies—Airco Inc, Turbine Generator Maintenance, and Orbital Energy Services—to serve the power-generation and process industries.

Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises Inc acquires Universal Acoustic & Emission Technologies Inc. UniversalAET is a bolt-on acquisition for B&W MEGTEC, a supplier of environmental control technologies and engineered products, operating under the trade name B&W Universal.

Bibb Engineers, Architects, and Constructors’ Chairman/CEO Bob Bibb, PE, called to say 2016 was a year with an increasing amount of detailed design jobs and some specialized owner’s engineering work. Some of the firm’s recent efforts include the following:

      • Served as due-diligence OE for Kindle Energy (Blackstone) on its successful bid for more than 5000 MW of operating assets from AEP.

      • Engaged by LS Power as OE on 2 × 0 7FA- and LM6000-powered generating facilities.

      • Detailed design to support the relocation of a 501D gas turbine for Quantum Energy Partners.

      • Development engineering for a proposed 400-MW combined cycle.

      • Assisting Pathfinder Energy on its loan guarantee application for a 300-MW compressed-air energy storage project.

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Ring eight bells for David Brumbaugh, a positive force in all aspects of life

If you never met David Brumbaugh at your plant or office, or at a user-group vendor fair—often with wife Shelley and occasionally daughters Abigail and Hannah—that’s unfortunate. The late president of DRB Industries LLC was particularly knowledgeable on gas-turbine inlet and exhaust systems, air filters, and cooling towers, and always willing to share best practices and lessons learned. He was positive-minded and had an engaging personality; many in the electric-power industry benefited from his caring/sharing nature.

David died last Saturday evening (April 16) of a heart attack—so unexpected it left even close personal friends in shock. Rick Shackelford, division director, powerplant operations, for NAES Corp, knew Brumbaugh well, both personally and professionally. He told CCJ, “Such a terrible loss for Oklahoma. . .the power industry. . .his family. . .and his friends. David was a true-life world-changer.”

Industry people generally are aware that David founded DRB Industries to support powerplant owner/operators in the selection, installation (including design and construction services to the degree necessary), inspection, and maintenance of filtration and cooling products. But that was only the tip of the iceberg for this perpetual-motion machine of a man.

Family, politics, and religion were David’s passions. At the time of his death, he was chairman of the House (of Representatives, State of Oklahoma) Majority Caucus. A representative from the Broken Arrow area since 2010, he authored numerous bills that have been signed into law. His legislative focus was streamlining of government processes, job creation, transparency of government activities, and protection of religious liberties.

Local news reported that House members held a moment of silence for their colleague on Easter Monday and sang “Amazing Grace” together. The photo here, from The Washington Times, shows the folded American flag on David’s desk at the front of the chamber to honor his service in a rapid-deployment air assault infantry unit attached to the 101st Airborne Division, as well as the state flag draped across his empty chair.

David’s body will lie in repose Thursday (April 20) in the state Capitol building.

Deeply religious, David was an ordained deacon, former chairman of the deacon board, and Sunday school teacher at Tulsa Bible Church. Reflecting on David’s years of teaching Sunday school, Phil Martin, the Tulsa Bible Church’s associate pastor of discipleship, told local news, “He was a legend there.”

David was well known to the editors. His work was featured in several CCJ articles over the years and more were in the works. At least one of those was to address filter testing to help guide users in product selection. He was working with EPRI on a methodology for verification of manufacturers’ claims at the time of his death. David shared his thoughts on cooling-tower performance assessments both in print and by way of webinar; the latter still is accessible to you and just as pertinent today as when it was presented and recorded.

David achieved more in his 56 years than most would accomplish in multiple lifetimes. But no one really does everything on his, or her, own. Much of David’s strength derived from strong family support. He was the very visible part of Team Brumbaugh, but Shelley, with help from Abigail and Hannah, helped to make that possible by managing both the family home and daily business activities.

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Upcoming meetings for your consideration (through June 2017)

7F Users Group: Some new faces, same great program

The technical agenda for the 7F Users Group’s 2017 conference, May 15-19, at the La Cantera Resort & Spa in San Antonio, Tex, is gas-turbine-focused and robust, and offering diversity of subject matter to address the many O&M challenges facing plant management today.

Recall that the program for last year’s 25th anniversary meeting was changed to drill deeper into engine topics, moving in-depth sessions on heat-recovery steam generators, steam turbines, and generators to the Power Users program in late summer where that equipment could be covered in greater detail.

Agenda highlights. Monday (May 15) starts off easy enough: The annual golf tournament is conducted from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in parallel with tours of PW Power Systems Inc’s nearby facility specializing in 7FA component inspection/repair/manufacturing. Busses leave the hotel lobby at 9, 10, and 11; the tours each take about an hour and a quarter.

Remainder of Monday (2 p.m. to 6) is set aside for technical sessions presented by PW Power Systems. Features and benefits of the third-party supplier’s commercial offerings—some of which you may not have associated with PWPS™ previously—dominate the content descriptions for those sessions.

In the editor’s view, a nugget in the supplier’s program of value to virtually all plant O&M personnel, and especially those at plants self-performing maintenance, is the “7F Scrap Clinic.” Given today’s razor-thin margins in the generation business, you likely do not want to scrap repairable components.

Tuesday and Wednesday are the “meat and potatoes” of the meeting, offering perhaps a dozen or more presentations by owner/operators and open discussions on a variety of topics that impact plant performance, safety, etc. You can expect about 250 users to attend these closed sessions, from 8 a.m. to 3:30, p.m., ready to share their experiences—both good and bad.

Sessions running from about one to two hours each focus on the compressor, combustion, and turbine sections of the engine, safety, performance and controls, auxiliaries, and 7F Top Issues and best practices.

The 7F Best Practices Awards program is a collaborative effort between the user group and CCJ. Presentations of the 2017 awards will be made at the conclusion of the Top Issues discussion Wednesday afternoon. Finalists this year are the following plants:

      • Barney Davis Energy Center.

      • Calhoun Power.

      • Effingham County Power LLC.

      • Faribault Energy Park.

      • Green Country Energy LLC.

      • Nueces Bay Energy Center.

      • Nuevo Pemex Cogeneration.

      • Plant Rowan.

      • Rathdrum Power LLC.

      • Thomas A Smith Energy Facility.

      • Vandolah Power.

      • Woodbridge Energy Center.

Special vendor presentations are incorporated into the program from 3:45 to 5 both days, just ahead of a three-hour vendor fair beginning at 5:30. There are two 45-minute supplier sessions, each with three companies presenting in parallel. It’s virtually impossible not to find at least one topic of interest. Here’s a rundown:

Tuesday, Session 1:

      • Repair of platform cracks on 7FA.03 first-stage buckets, Dr Warren Miglietti, ProEnergy

      • 7FA diffuser-duct insulation and liner system upgrade to improve reliability and performance, Lester Stanley and Scott Olson, HRST Inc, and Jeff Wilkinson, Alliant Energy

      • Benefit of stacking inlet cooling technologies for power augmentation, Chris Mieckowsi, Stellar Energy

Tuesday, Session 2:

      • Emergent generator repairs required because of increased cyclic duty, Jamie Clark, AGT Services

      • 7F product offerings for enhanced operational flexibility, Dr Peter Stuttaford and RuthAnn Rawlings, PSM

      • Impact of GT upgrades and increased cycling requirements on catalyst systems, Andrew Toback, Environex Inc

Wednesday, Session 1:

      • Machinery protection and monitoring, Jim Fenton, Alta Solutions Inc

      • Mitigating the impact of weather conditions on GT operations, Adam Jeffries, AAF International

      • 7F turning-gear design, operation, and maintenance, Tim Connor, Koenig Engineering Inc

Wednesday, Session 2:

      • Advanced ultrasonic inspection methodologies for aft compressor-wheel cracking, Kevin McKinley, Veracity Technology Solutions

      • The changing landscape for combined-cycle operation, David Cicconi, Emerson

      • Condition-based maintenance of the generator, bus, and transformers, James Timperley, Doble Engineering Co

The OEM owns Thursday and Friday. Program arrangement this year mirrors that of 2016 with appropriate subject-matter breakout sessions. This avoids the mesmerizing effect of a seemingly endless parade of speakers that one can experience with a single-platform format, the old standard. The new format allows users to drop out of a session without disrupting other attendees and return invigorated, not having had to listen to a presentation of little or no interest.

Thursday begins with a two-hour general session, half of what it was last year, and transitions to five 45-minute breakout sessions with 15-minute breaks between. Each breakout period features presentations on four topics arranged in parallel. A 45-minute feedback session closes out the classroom activities with both users and the OEM participating. The busy day ends with a three-hour product fair from 6 p.m. to 9.

The Thursday breakouts promise a blend of information of value to users with less than three years in the industry as well as those with a decade or more of experience. Topics include the following:

      • Compressor, including lessons learned from flat-bottom inspections.

      • Combustion, including an update on DLN 2.6+ fleet experience and NOx spikes.

      • Turbine, including experience with AGP and repairs of cracked third-stage buckets.

      • Exhaust-frame enhancements.

      • Rotor-life-management best practices and latest life-extension results.

      • Accessories and controls, including best practices and troubleshooting recommendations.

      • Electrical systems, including maintenance best practices and impacts of cyclic operation.

      • Digital solutions, including analytics for improving reliability.

      • Repair operations: New service shop network for keeping owner/operators involved throughout the repair process.

      • 7F.05 and beyond, including fleet experience, best practices, information-sharing with Dot-05 users, and technologies in development.

Important to note is that several of the 45-minute presentation/discussions are offered twice, so you have a couple of opportunities to attend sessions of greatest interest.

7F Grad School is the theme for Friday’s program. The grad-school idea was introduced by GE last year and was well-received. Subject matter is broader than offered in the Thursday program and allows attendees the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of “why things are the way they are.” It’s also a way to decompress from the onslaught of technical material received the first four days of the conference and gain valuable perspective.

Program arrangement is the same as for the Thursday program except that there are only three breakout sessions on Friday before the meeting concludes shortly before noon. Here are the topics:

      • Market dynamics for engineers and the impacts they have on operations. Factored into the presentation/discussion are the effects of renewables, fuels and their prices, energy storage, expiring PPAs, etc.

      • Controls 101. Demystifying modern control systems for the mechanically inclined.

      • Repairs 101: Session will answer such questions as, “Why are you proposing to do that to my parts? Can I weld single-crystal buckets? How firm are the recommended intervals?” and any that you want answered.

      • Aeromechanics 101 includes an overview of airfoil design, blending considerations, the hazards of running with cracked airfoils, etc.

      • “Make my plant better” is a strategic discussion session involving plant-level considerations, uprate opportunities, and oft-overlooked mods capable of maximizing site performance.

      • O&M zeroes in on outage planning and execution best practices, inventory management, minimizing variable costs, etc.

CTOTF™, April 23-27, 42nd Spring Conference and Trade Show, Orlando, Fla, DoubleTree by Hilton. Chairman: Jack Borsch, Lake Worth Utilities.

501D5-D5A Users. June 6-8, 20th Anniversary Meeting, Napa, Calif, Napa Valley Marriott. Chairman: Gabe Fleck, Associated Electric Cooperative Inc.

V Users Group, June 12-15, 2017 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tenn, Renaissance Nashville Hotel. To register or for more information, contact Kelly Lewis, conference coordinator.

Frame 6 Users Group, June 18-22, Annual Conference & Vendor Fair, San Antonio, Tex, La Cantera Hill Country Resort and Spa. Co-chairmen: Jeff Gillis, ExxonMobil Research & Engineering Co, and Sam Moots, Colorado Energy Management.

T3000 Users Group, June 20-22, 2017 Conference, Atlanta, Ga, Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel and Conference Center. Chairman: Bob Lake, FPL. To register or for more information, contact Elizabeth Moore, event coordinator.

Cycle Chemistry and FAC, June 27-28, training workshop conducted by Dr Barry Dooley, Structural Integrity Associates Inc. Hilton Embassy Suites, Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Best practices improved for in-situ blending, shim removal from Advanced Turbine Support

Continual improvement of O&M best practices is a goal of plant managers focused on keeping their employees safe and their facilities at the top of the dispatch list. The process of continual improvement also is embraced by equipment and services suppliers wanting to create or maintain a competitive edge.

Mike Hoogsteden, director of field services for Advanced Turbine Support LLC, called yesterday to tell the editors about advancements in the capabilities of the company’s technicians regarding in-situ blending and shim-extraction. The bottom line: What might not have been possible yesterday is today.

Blending. Hoogsteden said Advanced Turbine Support recently developed, patented, tested, and proved tooling that allows—depending on rotor stacking—expanded in-situ (no case removal) blending of compressor blades and stator vanes back to Stage 11. The blends can be analyzed by engineering to determine any associated risks both before and after the work is done. Advanced Turbine Support recommends attempting in-situ blends on rotating blades and stationary vanes (photo array) when engineering analysis confirms such repairs are preferable over immediate unit disassembly.

Shim extraction. Most owner/operators of GE Power E- and F-class gas turbines have heard about shim extraction without case removal. So, what’s new? Advanced Turbine Support now offers the capability—depending, again, on rotor stacking—to extract or blend shims back to Stage S-3. In certain situations, shim grinding is possible beyond S-3.

If shim extraction is new to you, consult GE Power’s Technical Information Letter 1562, “E- and F-Class Shim Migration and Loss,” which describes how to inspect for migration of shims between front-end compressor stator-vane segments. It says that once a shim has migrated to 50% of its height and is protruding into the air stream, the OEM no longer considers this a low-to-medium risk condition.

Hoogsteden said his company’s technicians have successfully mitigated migration risk for a decade now, by extracting without case removal S-1 and S-2 shims from E-class engines and S-0 and S-1 shims from F-class compressors. He added that Advanced Turbine Support recommends an in-situ extraction or blend to remove protruding stator-vane shim material once a shim has migrated 0.050 in. from the compressor case—this to prevent damage that could result from a shim liberation.

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Best Practices for performance, O&M, water management, safety, and M&D

Best practices are the foundation of continual-improvement programs implemented by generating plants to help ensure top performance on a predictable and repeatable basis. In 2016, plants powered by gas turbines (GTs) were recognized by the COMBINED CYCLE Journal’s Best Practices Awards program for their achievements in water management, O&M, performance improvement, fast-start procedures, monitoring and diagnostics, outage management, and safety.

Most of the 50 or so best practices submitted to the editors last year were profiled in the first three 2016 issues of the CCJ. If you missed them and your back copies aren’t within reach, you can access these valuable ideas online using the search function provided towards the top of every page. The final group of 2016 best practices appears in the fourth-quarter issue now in the mail and full versions will be available online in the coming weeks. They are summarized below.

Fast starts/performance improvement: Colusa, Chaves

Financial success for many conventional generating plants today depends on their ability to start quickly and operate flexibility to accommodate the unpredictability of must-take renewables. To achieve its goal of staying on the leading edge of renewables integration, PG&E’s Colusa Generating Station implemented a so-called agility controls package and installed a heating blanket on the steam turbine.

The former features improved startup automation and software that enables fast, reliable, and repeatable ST hot, warm, and cold starts. The heating blanket cut ST hot/warm start times from 81 minutes to less than an hour, and allowed faster loading of the steamer—reducing the ramp time by approximately half. The improvements saved an average of 66 million Btu in fuel per start and reduced CO and NOx emissions by an average of 52.5 and 75 lb per start, respectively.

The Aureliano Chaves Power Plant, owned by Ibiritermo SA and operated by Petrobras, was challenged to improve its starting reliability and reduce the time to breaker close. The Brazilian plant’s technical staff saw an opportunity for conserving resources (fuel, cooling water, personnel time, etc) and starting faster and more reliably by reducing the time to pull vacuum. Addition of a vacuum pump to supplement the capability of the hogging ejector reduced by two hours the time to start the plant.

Water management: Faribault, Rokeby, Amman East

Minnesota Municipal Power Agency’s Faribault Energy Park constructed a system of clay-lined ponds to reduce the plant’s burden on the local aquifer, collect and reclaim storm-water runoff for plant use, and provide a place where the community can fish, picnic, and walk trails. The conservation of groundwater can be significant: The 6 million gal collected during one unusually high-rainfall month was sufficient to support plant operation for about 100 hours.

In addition, the plant O&M team implemented several methods for reducing cycle water consumption. An example is a simple but effective program for monitoring makeup flow to the condenser. An increase in flow is indicative of steam or water leaking from the facility. Ultrasonic probes and an infrared camera then can be used to pinpoint leak location.

Plant management at Lincoln Electric System’s Rokeby Generating Station shared its experience on plant infrastructure improvements and expansions that affected more than just generation assets. Case in point: The facility’s original sanitary lagoon could not meet the needs of the growing plant. This triggered periodic material removal by an outside contractor, the cost of which continued to increase as additional non-sanitary discharge points were directed to the system.

Plus, regulations covering lagoon design had been updated since the original lagoon was installed and it no longer met county permitting requirements.

Plant personnel conducted an audit of plant wastewater and rain-event flows and determined the sanitary and site drain flows should be separated. The treatment system designed to accommodate all existing plant waste streams relies on a standard sanitary lagoon, and a bio-retention “rain garden” for storm-water and oily-water-separator discharges. Some permit modifications were required. A side benefit of the project was updated underground utility drawings and a beneficial reconfiguration of the oily water separator system.

AES Jordan PSC’s Amman East Power Plant is located in an area with minimal water resources. The plant’s “Put Safety and Environment First” program identified the following five areas with an opportunity for reducing water consumption:

1. Water supply network for the fire protection system was divided into zones and monitored for leakage, valves were upgraded, fire-system relief valves were modified to discharge to the raw-water storage tank rather than to drains, etc.

2. Evap-pond water is recycled for HRSG-blowdown cooling instead of using raw water.

3. Water-saving devices were installed in service rooms and restrooms.

4. Plant startup procedures were modified to minimize water use. Examples: a reduction in steam venting and faster ramp.

5. A treatment system was installed to allow use of evap-pond water for site irrigation.

Success! Water consumption was reduced by more than 25,000 gal/day; annual financial benefit was $25,000.

O&M: Faribault, Ferndale, MPC Generating, AL Sandersville

Faribault Energy Park’s HRSG experienced several reheater tube failures, all located at the end of a tube bundle. The lower header had only one drain line in the center, inadequate to handle the flow required. Result was an accumulation of water at the far end of the header causing those tubes to remain cooler and subjected to stretching as the hotter tubes in the bundle expanded.

The fix: A second drain line was tapped into the header where water accumulated, the original manual drain valve was replaced with an automated one and a thermocouple installed in the drain line, and a level transmitter and condensate pot were installed for moisture detection. No tubes have cracked since the modifications were made.

When Puget Sound Energy’s Ferndale Generating Station was commissioned in 1994, the operator interface in the control room consisted for four Bailey OIS 20 proprietary consoles with 19-in. 640 × 480-resolution CRT displays and an alarm printer tied to the DCS. Next step in controls evolution, in 2003, was a Wonderware upgrade with four InTouch operator stations (21 in., 1024 × 768 CTRs). Market changes, etc, dictated automatic generation control in 2015, requiring an operator-interface solution to allow more effective information exchange.

Project cost was a management concern. The four Wonderware computers were reconfigured to support two monitors each (total of eight 40-in. flat-panel LED displays). Another four 40-in. monitors were installed to display alarms, weather, and feeds from security cameras. Additionally, three 24-in. monitors were installed to accommodate the turbine controls at this 2 × 1 combined cycle.

Plant personnel designed and installed, during normal work hours, a custom structure to support the monitors using standard steel pipe joined by aluminum fittings of the type typically specified for handrail systems. The 15 high-definition monitors reduce eye strain and are arranged in a horseshoe configuration to minimize operator fatigue. Total out-of-pocket cost to the plant: About $7500.

MPC Generating LLC, operated by Cogentrix for Southeast PowerGen LLC, has, among its assets, a simple-cycle gas turbine with a hydrogen-cooled generator. The coolant is supplied from a bank of 12 bottles which are replaced when gas pressure drops to about 300 psig. During an abnormal weekend weather event an excessive amount of hydrogen was consumed, pressure dropped dramatically, the unit tripped, and the generator vented. The peaker was unavailable for several hours while the generator was purged with carbon dioxide and recharged with hydrogen.

Determined to prevent a repeat of this scenario, plant staff designed and installed an independent emergency hydrogen supply line with a separate and dedicated redundant bank of bottles. The redundant line, arranged in parallel to the normal supply, has a dedicated pressure regulator set 10 psi less than the normal hydrogen supply pressure of 70 psig. If the pressure drops to 60, the emergency bank provides the hydrogen without operator intervention—thereby avoiding a unit trip.

AL Sandersville, another Southeast Power Gen facility operated by Cogentrix, relies on 13.8-kV cables in elevated trays for delivering the output from its eight simple-cycle generators to the step-up transformers. An inspection revealed the wood cable spacers in various stages of deterioration and cables sagging. Decision was to replace the wooden spacers with HDPE plastic spacers.

Challenge: Swap out the spacers safely and without the use of a crane, because of space constraints. Bids indicated a one-month effort and cost of nearly $70,000 (labor only). Unacceptable. Plant personnel designed and built a cable lifting rig that mounted directly on the bus tray to lift the cables safely and without damage. They also self-performed the work during scheduled spring and fall outages.

Safety: Rathdrum, Amman East

Rathdrum Power Plant, managed by NAES Corp for Tyr Energy, is an OSHA VPP facility. Management’s ongoing challenge to the facility’s team members: Be vigilant for identifiable safety-related improvements. An identified hazard was submitted detailing the inherent risks of allowing continued vehicular traffic flow during chemical and hydrogen-gas offloading.

Without a manned security gate, plant personnel determined a method for effectively restricting traffic flow to one direction or the other during transfer evolutions was necessary. The solution both simple and practical: Safety-yellow plastic chains can be deployed across the road at four locations, as necessary, to restrict traffic to the two identified areas. Plastic was selected over metal because of the maintenance associated with the latter in an industrial environment influenced by cooling-tower drift. The chains are retained in garden-hose-type reels mounted roadside.

Amman East’s two dual-fuel gas turbines have been forced to operate on oil since 2011 because of a “political situation.” Typically, 30 to 36 tanker trucks are received daily at the plant’s six-vehicle unloading bay. A safety concern was the need for a contractor to climb up on each truck to open its top hatch, thereby creating a fall hazard from a significant height. A full-body harness with static lifeline was the original safety solution. However, the concrete bases anchoring the cumbersome static lifelines were damaged frequently by truck movement.

Plant personnel first thought to redesign the lifelines and modify their concrete bases consistent with the latest safety standards. An alternative idea was to design and build a mobile platform capable of serving two trucks simultaneously to make unloading more efficient, more reliable, and safer. A study supported this thinking, but bids were higher than the plant could afford.

So the work was brought in-house. Plant personnel designed the system and contracted out its fabrication. Three platforms ultimately would be required but the second and third would not be ordered until the first confirmed functionality, safety, etc. Success confirmed, the remaining two platforms were fabricated and installed as well.

Monitoring and diagnostics: Bayside

Tampa Electric Co’s H L Culbreath Bayside Power Station has seven 7FA.03 gas turbines equipped with DLN 2.6 combustion systems. The OEM has supported the plant under a contractual services agreement since the first unit began commercial operation in 2003. In 2015 the utility began participating in a remote M&D pilot project spearheaded by GE’s Power Services business and its Intelligent Platform’s Smart signal predictive diagnostics software and services team.

Prior to the existence of the M&D Center, many combustion and other issues might not have been detected by station personnel until they caused hardware damage or a unit trip. Plus, before the development of remote combustion tuning capability via the M&D Center, field specialists had to travel to the plant for this purpose.

Bayside’s Best Practices submission describes a couple of alert conditions fielded by the M&D Center and how they were handled—in particular a remote tuning solution that improved flame stability and reduced dynamics, thereby reducing the risk of unit trips from lean blow-out. Quick response to the issues affecting two GTs were said to have enabled Tampa Electric to be proactive in keeping the plant operating during a challenging summer that required record generation to meet demand. 


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