IAPWS working group reports progress on four new documents

The Power Cycle Chemistry (PCC) working group of the International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam gathered at the parent organization’s annual meeting in Prague, Czech Republic, Sept 2-7, 2018, to advance the development of several new Technical Guidance Documents (TGDs).

The annual IAPWS (pronounced eye-apps) conference was conducted concurrently with the International Conference on the Properties of Water and Steam (ICPWS), which is held every four or five years. The 2018 edition of the ICPWS was the seventeenth; the first was held in London in 1929.

  The joint meeting attracted more than 100 papers from 140 scientists and engineers representing 27 countries. Purpose of the conference is to connect scientists with the engineers who use their information. Both groups of professionals benefit: The researchers/scientists learn about problems seeking resolution while the engineers gain access to the latest research results. The information exchange included experience with film-forming substances (FFS), which are of increasing interest to combined-cycle owner/operators.

IAPWS Executive Secretary Dr R Barry Dooley of Structural Integrity Associates Inc, well known to the global power-generation community, contacted CCJ’s editorial offices to say that four TGDs are in final draft form with planned release dates in 2019:

  • Guidance on air in-leakage.
  • Guidance on the use of FFS in industrial plants.
  • Guidance on generator-cooling-system chemistry.
  • Guidance for ensuring the integrity and reliability of demineralized makeup water supply.

Additionally, the PCC working group is preparing several white papers likely to be developed into TGDs at a later time. These include “Corrosion Products in Flexible (cycling, two-shifting) Plants” and “Guidance for HRSG Condensate Polishing Plants.”

Dooley reminded that there are eight TGDs currently available free-of-charge on the organization’s website at They offer a wealth of practical information on topics such as steam purity for turbine operation, phosphate and sodium hydroxide treatments for steam/water circuits of drum-type boilers, instrumentation for monitoring cycle chemistry, how to measure carryover of boiler water into steam, etc.

The next IAPWS meeting will be held in Banff, Canada, Sept 29-October 4, 2019.

Ring eight bells for Frank Berté, 77

News of Dr Frank Berté’s passing on July 4, 2018 reached us only recently. He was the co-founder of Tetra Engineering Group Inc, perhaps known best by readers of CCJ for its solutions to problems associated with heat-recovery steam generators and high-energy piping systems.

Berté was a frequent participant at user group vendor fairs and an occasional presenter. He was easily distinguishable among the many exhibitors because of his calm, quiet nature in a sea of salespeople. Plus, he never arranged his table display without his funky air-powered simulated flame. You could spot him “a mile away.”

Peter S Jackson, PE, who succeeded Berté as president of Tetra, remembers Frank as an excellent engineer, inspiring leader, and genuinely friendly man. Everyone who knew Frank or worked with him, Jackson said, enjoyed his enthusiasm for work and love of life.

Berté’s career in the electric power industry spanned nearly five decades; it began in the mechanical engineering group at Commonwealth Edison Co’s Dresden Generating Station. Next step was a management position in the reactor design department at Combustion Engineering Inc. Berté founded Tetra with two other engineers in 1989.

Later he started Innovative Marine Technology to pursue, in his spare time, the design of sailboats and other things related to the sea. Accomplishments included the first ever Tridactyl sailboat, which he patented. Also, TankerProa, a modular sailing vessel using Tridactyl technology to help power transoceanic tankers.

Berté was a restless doer who kept his hands and mind moving non-stop—always receptive to professional challenges and to sharing his knowledge with industry colleagues. One example of the latter was an article he penned for the first issue of CCJ, “Assessing the true cost of cycling operation is a challenging assignment.” Things haven’t changed much on this in the 15 years since its publication.

Born in Brooklyn, Frank moved to the Bronx with his family before continuing his migration north to West Hartford, Conn, and later to Westford, Mass. He earned a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from The City College of New York and a PhD in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

HRSG O&M Tip No. 1:

Operate drain valves on different HP superheater harps simultaneously, not in sequence, prior to and during hot-pressurized startups.

Most operators know it’s important to drain the HPSH during startup before steam flow is initiated to prevent accumulated water at the bottom of the harps from migrating up some tubes—quenching them and upper headers/piping. But opening drain valves individually causes a pressure drop in the harp being drained that will pull water over the top from other harps, causing the water migration you were trying to avoid.

Dodero contributes to decarbonization solutions

Ing Giorgio Dodero, president, IPG Industrial Project Group Srl, Milan, Italy, and CCJ’s electric-power consultant on European matters, recently reviewed the proceedings of a two-day, closed-door meeting in the Vatican organized by American Catholic University to bring together the heads of major energy corporations and Pope Francis and those in the Holy See dealing with the environment.

The intent of the meeting, “Energy Transition and Care of Our Common Home,” was to encourage business leaders and governments to invest in renewable energies and decarbonization technologies as a source of employment and well-being.

In late August, the Italian Catholic-inspired newspaper Avveniere interviewed Dodero for his thoughts on the meeting’s content and impact. The consultant, a former senior manager of ENEL, reflected on several aspects of the subject matter discussed, chief among them decarbonization, a focus of IPG’s consulting work. Here is a snippet from the interview on that topic:

“Decarbonization is a complex subject that deserves in-depth research. In addition to defining new strategies for integrating renewable sources into the production mix, we are developing alternative processes, taking into account that industrial ones were designed decades ago, when the environmental issue was less urgent.

“In particular, the need for new steel, nickel, aluminum, and cement production systems is required. Advanced studies are in progress for green energy and for the energy-storage sector—fundamental for the future management of the grid.

“The future is bright. The British government has allocated 246-million pounds for studies on decarbonization involving research centers, universities, construction contractors, and technical experts. The European Commission is budgeting 10-million euros for research in the same field.”

Industry briefs

Emerson has agreed to acquire Intelligent Platforms, a division of GE focused on leveraging automation technologies to drive digital transformation in their end markets. The acquisition expands Emerson’s opportunities in machine control and in discrete applications across targeted industry markets.

GE Power completed its acquisition of Doosan Engineering & Construction’s heat-recovery steam generator business in mid-August (2018). Doosan has a long history as a licensee of Alstom which GE purchased in November 2015.

Egyptian Electricity Holding Co selects Siemens to provide comprehensive O&M services for the Beni Suef, New Capital, and Burullus powerplants for the next eight years. Each of the three 4.5-GW facilities is considered the largest gas-fired combined-cycle plant ever built. The agreement covers all onsite equipment—including 24 H-class gas turbines, 12 steam turbines, 36 electric generators, 24 heat-recovery steam generators, and three 500-kV gas-insulated switchgear systems.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems announced that the Grand River Dam Authority’s combined cycle in Oklahoma had surpassed 8000 hours of commercial operation in mid-September 2018, making its J-series gas turbine the 25th such engine to do so. GRDA is the fleet leader in the US; the global fleet leader has operated for more than 40,000 hours. There are 33 turbines operating in the J fleet.

Siemens Corp and Chromalloy Gas Turbine Corp celebrated the grand opening of their new joint venture, Advanced Airfoil Components, Tampa, the last week of October 2018. The Advanced Components casting facility is 210,000 ft² and will enable production of the entire range of blades and vanes for the Siemens gas-turbine fleet—including those for the latest frame, the 9000HL. Equipment buildout will continue for the next four years.

Anniversary news. Where were you 40 years ago, when on Nov 9, 1978, the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act passed as part of the National Energy Act? Its purpose: Promote both energy conservation (reduce demand) and greater use of domestic energy and renewable energy (increase supply). November 9 also was the 53rd anniversary of the Great Northeast Blackout.  

KnechtionRepair ( continues to expand its product line. Tap and die kits for repairing both the internal and external threads of industrial standard two-ferrule-type compression tube fittings, popular among CCJ subscribers, now come in six sizes: ¼, 3/8, ½, 5/8, ¾, and 1 in. Plus, AN/MS (aviation) and JIC (hydraulic) tap and die kits are available in #4, #6, #8, and #12 sizes with #5 and #12 ready by year-end.

Multiple tests to verify the effectiveness of KnechtionRepair have been conducted on samples of stainless-steel tubing with a wall thickness of 35 mils. No leakage was observed at the tube fittings, indicating a leak-proof connection—even with up to three threads removed from the fitting nuts. All test samples failed by rupture of the tubing wall at pressures in the neighborhood of 15,000 psig—far above the allowable design pressure.