February 1, 2016

Volume 160, Issue 2, 1 February 2016

Innovative heat exchanger technology enhances proven designs

Larson, A.


 Shell-and-tube heat exchangers can be used in condensing, boiling or single-phase applications, and can be utilized over a wide range of pressures and temperatures. It can be constructed from a variety of materials to meet corrosion and other design requirements. Its maintenance is fairly simple and straightforward, and it can accommodate various physical orientations. However, there are some limitations to the design. A discussion covers the helical baffle heat exchanger; expanded metal baffles; twisted tube heat exchanger; ultrathin scalable chemical-vapor-deposited graphene coatings; and air-cooled condensers.

Power digest (February 2016): GE to supply turbines for $15.5B hydro plant in China

Patel, S.


 On 1224/2015, GE won a contract to supply six 850-Mw Francis turbine-generator sets for the 10.2-Gw Wudongde hydropower plant being built by China Three Gorges Corp. The project has received approvals from the Chinese government after a reported 18 yr of research and preparation.

Nuclear relicensing: The best of times, the worst of times

Overton, T.W.


 The US nuclear industry is going in two different directions. Some plants are shutting down with years left on their operating licenses, while others contemplate the implications of 80-yr lifetimes. Of the 96 still-viable reactors, 76 have received 20-yr extensions on their original licenses. The remaining 20 include 13 reactors that have filed for extensions and four are planning to file. Licensed nuclear reactors in the US are presented, including those planned, under construction, and recently retired.

Chile's newest hydro plant takes shape in the desert

Sepastian Patel


 Environmental regulators in Chile, the world's driest region, plan to build a pumped-storage hydroelectric plan in December 2016. The unique 300-Mw project proposed by Valhalla Energia involves the construction of a pumped hydro plant atop a coastal headland located south of Iquique in northern Chile. The $400 million Espejo de Tarapaca project will draw seawater through a tunnel for accumulation in natural cavities on the headland ∼ 600 m above sea level using solar power. At night, the plant will generate power by relaying water down the same tunnel. Construction will start in the second half of 2016, with operations beginning in 2020. The project still requires regulatory approval for its proposed $500 million Cielos de Tarapaca solar photovoltaic plant, a 600-Mw installation needed to pump the seawater.

Challenges of increasing dependence on gas-fired generation

Benson, Glenn S, Block, Rachel


 Natural gas utilization for power generation in the US has increased over 80%, with gas now comprising about 35% of the fuel mix. This rapid increase in dependence on gas presents challenges for generators, independent system operators (ISO)/regional transmission organizations, and regulators. Considerable efforts are being made to manage these challenges but success on these initiatives requires navigating through stakeholder resistance, a maze of regulatory complexities, and other obstacles. First, the FERC issued a rulemaking in April 2015, requiring pipelines to defer the timing for their daily nomination deadlines. Second, ISO-New England and PJM Interconnection have modified their respective capacity markets to reward generators that reliably deliver power during tight system conditions and more strongly penalize those that do not. Third, Kinder Morgan and Spectra are relying on an innovative strategy to develop projects they say are needed to supply the New England market. They are seeking long-term firm transportation agreements, not just with prospective shippers on their pipeline projects, but also with electric distribution companies.

Navigating legal implications of power industry regulations

Larson, Aaron, Overton, Thomas W, Patel, Sonal, Reitenbach, Gail


 At the legal affairs conference held in Las Vegas on 12/7/2015, current and former EPA lawyers as well as energy and environmental lawyers in private practice agreed that taking a wait-and-see approach to compliance with recent federal regulations is ill-advised. According to EPA General Counsel Avi S. Garbow, they're all final rules, and it would be wrong and risky to treat them as uncertain, even when subject to legal challenge. Teri Donaldson, partner with DLA Piper, addressed the news concerning ExxonMobil, its climate change research, and what it did and did not tell shareholders. Michael G. Cooke of Greenberg Traurig advised that states need to focus SIP for the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and not just Litigation. Floyd Se stated that the collection of new EPA rules have helped forge mergers between electric and gas utilities and necessitated new natural gas pipelines. Patrick Ferguson noted that much of the future of the CPP depends on state choices for compliance and whether they decide to submit a plan at all. Robert Meyers of Crowell & Moring, presented his projections for energy policy, regulation, and litigation.

Bagasse and blended biomass cogeneration advances in the Cuban sugarcane industry

Perez Sanchez, Amaury


 In Cuba, its sugarcane agribusiness plays an important role in the rapid development and growth of the country's internal and external markets. At present, sugarcane biomass constitutes the energy source with highest potential in the medium to long term, as its sugarcane industry produces millions of tons per year of high-energy-value residues. A discussion covers the composition of bagasse and its use; top countries using bagasse for fuel; bagasse cogeneration; Some Cuban sugar factories are applying several measures taken by the Cuban sugar factories to increase and optimize the efficiency of their cogeneration systems; advantages of the implementation of efficient cogeneration systems to the Cuban economy; biomass fuel blending; and sources of gaseous pollutants found in the sugarcane industry.

CHP update: Policies, partnerships, and challenges

Overton, Thomas


 Though combined heat and power (CHP) is getting increasing attention as a means of efficiency and reducing carbon emissions, the sector's traditional challenges remain. Both government agencies, EPA and industry groups, e.g., Electric Power Research Institute, have recognized that CHP offers a way for traditional generation technologies to boost efficiency and remain part of the power mix as renewables continue to increase their share. For those looking for completely self-contained CHP, Entrade would begin offering a containerized system that can take raw biomass and waste materials, turn them into synthesis gas in an onboard reformer, and use that to generate power, heat, and cooling. The E3 system generates ≤ 25 kw of electricity, 60 kw of thermal energy, and 30 kw of cooling. An even more unusual CHP system is being marketed by AORA Solar. The Tulip is a modular hybrid concentrating solar power- microturbine system that is able to generate both electricity and hot air. The Tulip's solar tower, instead of generating steam, heats air to drive the microturbine, can also run on a variety of fuels, including biogas. Two Tulip systems are currently in operation, one in Israel and the other in Spain. Another is under development in Ethiopia.

Power technology innovations from the developing world

Patel, Sonal, Overton, Thomas W


 Driven by a combination of growing demand and limited resources, inventive groups and individuals are finding novel ways to deliver power to the areas that need it most. The International Energy Agency noted that innovation in the energy sector differs from progress in other sectors in that it tends to move much more slowly, reflecting the fact that its technologies tend to be large, complex, and designed to operate for many years. A discussion covers India's three-stage program aiming to reduce its reliance on imported uranium, seeking to make more substantial use of thorium; India as the world's most coal-dependent nation; microgrids powered by wind and small hydropower being developed across Africa; bladeless wind converter known as the Saphonian; biomass-based gasifier; the Score-Stove, a sound-powered stove that generates electricity; and saltwater battery cells being developed by a Filipino startup company named Sustainable Alternative Lighting.