RDK hits milestone as Alstom marks century of steam turbine innovation

RDK 8
RDK 8
RDK 8: one of the first bituminous-fired plants in the world that will run on ultra-supercritical parameters
Credit: Alstom

As chief technology officer for Alstom Thermal Power, Charles Soothill is in the business of predicting the future.

He reviews the current market, assesses what is changing and why, and has a plan in place for whichever way a sector might swing. Which is, as he admits, “a difficult and challenging job”.

“The world has changed,” said Soothill at Alstom’s base in Belfort, France. “More than 50 per cent of power equipment is CO2-free. The old world where you went to a socket on the wall and expected the electricity to be delivered from a large power plant coming in one direction has changed. The grid is doing something quite different now.”

RDK 8
RDK 8
RDK 8’s high and low-pressure turbines
Credit: Alstom

Also doing something different is Soothill’s team of 130 engineers. Current innovations include the highest ever recorded boiler test pressure – 566 bar at RDK 8 coal-fired plant in Germany – and a steam turbine last stage blade of 75 inches, which Alstom is targeting at the European and Asia markets.

Alstom Power spends €700m ($888m) a year on R&D: “It’s the rule of the game,” says Patrick Fragman, senior vice president of nuclear. The company is keen to talk about its R&D breakthroughs as this year it celebrates its centenary of manufacturing steam turbines.

Among these breakthroughs are achievements of size – Belchatow, at 858 MW, the largest power station ever built in Poland, and Kusile and Medupi, Africa’s biggest coal plants – and supercritical firsts in Malaysia (Manjung 4) and Slovenia (Sostanj).

Narva, a 2×300 MW plant in Estonia, will be fuelled with local oil shale, containing 46 per cent ash and 12 per cent moisture, while in the UK the White Rose project in conjunction with Drax has delivered the world’s largest biomass co-firing project.

Soothill is particularly upbeat about RDK 8, the latest of a new breed of large ultra-supercritical steam plants.

Rheinhafen Dampfkraftwerk 8 (RDK 8) is one of the first bituminous-fired power plants in the world that will run on ultra-supercritical steam parameters.

Alstom’s EPC contract covers the ultra-supercritical steam power block, including plant engineering, global procurement and logistics, erection and the comprehensive commissioning of the power block (boiler, steam turbine-generator, condenser and auxiliaries).

RDK 8 is designed to burn a wide range of coals, predominantly imported bituminous coal. It has a sophisticated tangential firing system that incorporates corner-mounted tilting burners. This design reduces NOx emissions and improves the efficiency of the boiler. Work started on the 912 MW plant at Karlsruhe in Germany in 2009 and this year marked the key phase of testing the boiler. Future milestones will be acid cleaning (January 2013), first firing (April 2013), first full load (August 2013) and its reliability run is slated for January 2014.

The boiler stats make for impressive reading. It reached 566 bar in this year’s trail – the highest test pressure in the world according to Alstom – and its construction comprises
700 km of tubing, 80,000 tube and pipe welds and 35,000 tonnes of steel.

The plant also maximises its location next to the Rhine. Coal is delivered to its door by the river, as was the plant’s feedwater tank, which was built in Spain and delivered – in one piece – to RDK by ship via the Rhine. The river water is also used for cooling in the plant.

With its high output and performance, an overall net plant efficiency exceeding
46 per cent (up to 58 per cent efficiency with district heat extraction), high reliability and operational flexibility, RDK 8 is poised to be the flagship power plant for Alstom’s customer, EnBW Kraftwerke.


E.ON, Dong-backed UK offshore wind farm generates first power

wind farm generates first power

London Array, the largest approved offshore wind park in the world, produced its first power as Dong Energy A/S, Masdar Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company and E.ON AG seek to curb technology costs by building
at scale.

The first 630 MW phase of the venture in the Thames Estuary will produce enough power for more than 470,000 homes when completed at the end of the year, the companies said in a joint statement. The facility has approval for 1 GW of turbines at the site off the Kent and Essex coasts.

Developers of offshore wind are planning projects with more turbines to help lower costs, among the most expensive of renewable sources. It costs €161 ($208) to produce 1 MWh of offshore wind power, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The UK government is trying to get that down to £100/MWh by 2020.

“Being able to efficiently develop large offshore wind farms and harvest the scale advantages in both construction and operation is an important element in our continuous efforts to bring down costs of energy of offshore wind,” Benj Sykes, UK wind manager at Danish utility Dong.

E.ON UK CEO Tony Cocker said the project would help achieve a goal of cutting costs by 40 per cent by 2015.


Cummins powers new telecoms building in Iraq

Modern Iraq Company for Trading Agencies (MICTA), the Cummins Power Generation authorised distributor in Iraq, has provided prime power for a new 2000 m2 Asiacell Telecom office building in Erbil.

MICTA was responsible for the design, commissioning and installation of four C900 D5 open gensets, along with a DMC 1000 controller and low-voltage
synchronisation board.

For the new Erbil office site, MICTA designed the generator set room and carried through the installation with particular attention to air quality and noise levels. The system operates automatically, and meets the office building’s 2 MW total power requirement.

Cummins Power Generation was awarded the contract without competition, thanks to its track record of reliability, according to the company. Starting in 2006, MICTA has now delivered a total of five installations for Asiacell Telecom around the country.


Martifer Solar clinches deal for 4.5 MW Ukraine project

Martifer Solar
The headquarters of Martifer Solar
Credit: Martifer Solar

Martifer Solar, a subsidiary of Martifer SGPS, has signed an EPC contract for building a
4.5 MW photovoltaic project in Ukraine.

The project is the company’s first in the country and the first solar power project financed by EBRD, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

At Porogi, in the Vinnytsia region, the plant will feature 18 300 modules on fixed structures installed across an area of about 10 hectares. The project is scheduled to complete by the end of 2012.

Rengy Development, which was responsible for developing the project, plans to build several photovoltaic parks in the region with a total capacity of 50 MW.

Ukraine, with its high levels of solar radiation, has excellent conditions for implementing photovoltaic projects, according to Martifer Solar. The country’s installed capacity is expected to total 300 MW in 2012 and 1 GW at the end of 2013.


Kamstrup joins iPower

Kamstrup announced in late October that it is joining the iPower Smart Grid research project in Denmark to develop a system that can handle fluctuating generation.

By 2025, half of Denmark’s electricity is expected to come from wind energy. iPower is a research project of 32 collaborating partners, universities and research institutions, as well as industrial companies from various countries aimed at developing an intelligent and flexible energy system.

The Technical University of Denmark’s Department of Electrical Engineering is co-ordinating the project.

“Kamstrup is investing significant resources and money in the continuous development of our Smart Grid Suite, OMNIA,” said Henrik Baek Joergensen, senior product manager for Smart Grid at Kamstrup.

iPower is moving ahead in seven packages. Kamstrup will participate in ‘Domestic Demand Response’ and will supply smart meters, substation monitoring devices, wireless communication infrastructure and software to other work packages.


Rotork Type K passes damper speed test

Rotork Type K vane type damper drives have provided the retrofit solution at the 2735 MW Manatee power station in Florida, US.

In a recent outage it was necessary to replace the ID fan inlet damper drives on Units 1 and 2, which were more than 30 years old and incompatible with the HART protocol of the station’s new distributed control system. The manual overrides on the drives had proved to be unreliable.

Type K ‘PM Series’ pedestal mounted TK-6 damper drives were chosen to replace the obsolete equipment. Operated by vane-type direct drive pneumatic actuators, the new units offer a smoother and faster acting performance than any alternative design, according to their marker.

Type K provided a ‘drop-in-place’ retrofit installation, matching the dimensions of the existing damper drive footprint on all eight of the replacement installations in Units 1 and 2. Integrated air volume boosters were fitted to obtain the required rotation speed and the control interface was provided by smart positioners.

Following the retrofit at Manatee’s Units 1 and 2, Rotork has supplied four identical damper drives to the Florida Power & Light Martin station on the east coast of Florida. The four remaining drives on Unit 3 at Manatee are programmed for replacement in 2013.


Capula upgrades control interface at UK’s Drax

Capula has replaced an obsolete SCADA system with a modern SCADA solution at the UK’s Drax power station in North Yorkshire.

The new system was built into the materials handling control system, which Capula had recently installed, as well as being interfaced with the existing Solid State Interlocking
rail system.

Capula chief executive Roger Turner said: “The process involved reverse engineering the previously written bespoke code and thorough offline testing via a simulator. In addition, we replicated existing screen visualisations to ensure a seamless changeover.

“As a long-term control and operational IT systems partner to Drax, our intimate knowledge from previous key projects made us an obvious choice to deliver this solution.”

George Eccleston, senior C&I engineer at Drax, praised Capula’s work. He said: “Capula’s efforts have openly demonstrated its ongoing work qualities, which are contributing towards the success of Drax.”

Drax has six 660 MW generating units producing around 4000 MW of electricity, which represents 7 per cent of the UK’s total requirements.


Metso wins order for Swedish biomass gasification plant

Metso has received an order to supply valves and smart instrumentation for the innovative GoBiGas project in Rya harbour,
Gothenburg, Sweden.

GoBiGas is a major project for Göteborg Energi. The biomass gasification plant, now being built by Metso Power, converts biomass into renewable biomethane gas, to be distributed through the existing gas grid.

Metso has been selected to supply the state-of-the-art control and on-off valves together with intelligent and safety valve controllers for both the gasification and the methanation part of the GoBiGas project, phase one. Metso’s field solution delivery totals about 320 valves, including Finetrol eccentric rotary plug control valve, Butterfly valves, Neles RotaryGlobe valves, Segment and Ball valves, 145 intelligent controllers Neles ND9100 and about 60 new generation safety valve controllers Neles ValvGuardTM VG9000.

The plant will be built in two phases, the first is due to operate from late 2013, and the second is set to follow after the first phase has been evaluated.


EQUIPMENT

New Doosan G150-IIIA and G200-IIIA Generators

G200-IIIA
The G200-IIIA generator meets EU Stage IIIA emission regulation limits
Credit: Doosan Portable Power

Doosan Portable Power has launched the G150-IIIA (150 kVA prime power) and
G200-IIIA (200 kVA prime power) generators, which meet the new EU Stage IIIA engine emission regulations for stationary power.

The generators feature an optimised powertrain with a combination of John Deere Stage IIIA engines and Leroy Somer alternators. The generators have a standard fuel capacity offering a minimum of 12 hours of autonomous operation (at 75 per cent of the load), while a 24-hour onboard fuel tank configuration is available as an option.

An innovative fuel tank frame system, which ensures 110 per cent fluid containment capacity, is said to provide the highest operational flexibility available in the generator market. As fuel quality and storage are the main concerns for rental companies, routine fuel tank maintenance tasks have been simplified, with special attention to the fuel tank cleaning and port draining processes.

The new generators use powerful Leroy Somer alternators with the AREP excitation system. To increase long-term reliability in harsh environments, the standard alternator configuration includes ‘heavy duty’ protection for the rotor and stator windings.


Rockwell Automation launches templates for PlantPAx

PlantPAx

Rockwell Automation has launched virtual image templates for the PlantPAx process automation system, including a system server, operator workstation and engineering workstation.

These preconfigured, drop-in templates, delivered as images on a USB hard drive, can help reduce validation costs and initial engineering time.

While installing a complete process automation system traditionally takes several days, a virtual image of each component can be deployed in two to three hours. Once deployed, the components can be duplicated in minutes.

“Whether you’re operating one plant or many, virtual image templates significantly simplify the deployment and management of process control systems,” said Steve Pulsifer, director of Process Market Development, Rockwell Automation. “Plus, users benefit from immediate access to simplified upgrade and patch management typical within a virtualised architecture.”

The templates operate in an open virtual-format file, officially supported by VMWare vSphere.


Meggitt debuts miniature triaxial accelerometers

miniature triaxial accelerometers

Meggitt Sensing Systems has announced that the Endevco 35A miniature triaxial ISOTRON piezoelectric accelerometer is supporting the high-precision shock and vibration testing of hard drives, electronic peripherals, engine rotor and stator blades, as well as their associated components.

The shear mode Endevco 35A provides a complete measurement package for the collection of IEPE acceleration data across three orthogonal axes. The integral internal amplifier of the model 35A converts high-impedance accelerometer charge input into low-impedance voltage output. Output is transmitted through the same wires that supply required 4 mA constant current power. Signal ground is connected to the outer case.

The unit is delivered with pre-installed fine gauge (34 AWG) wires as output leads, all of which are easily field repairable. A new lead assembly may further be factory reinstalled. Also included is the four-conductor Endevco 3027Am5-120 cable terminating in three BNC connectors.


MTU marks 1000th overhaul

Germany’s MTU Maintenance Berlin-Brandenburg has overhauled its 1000th industrial gas turbine, an LM6000 engine delivered to Thailand-based Rojana Power Company.

MTU Maintenance Berlin-Brandenburg repairs and overhauls aircraft engines and industrial gas turbines, specialising in repairing GE’s LM series. After opening facilities in Norway and the US, MTU Maintenance Berlin Brandenburg opened a shop in Ayutthaya, Thailand, in 2011.


Fortum earns Russian emission units

Emission reduction units for a 173 500-tonne cut in carbon dioxide emissions at a new power plant unit at Tynumen CHP-1 in Russia have been transferred to Fortum.

Operated by Fortum’s Russian subsidiary, OAO Fortum, the plant has generated the carbon savings over its first year of operation. Under a joint implementation mechanism within the EU carbon trading scheme, Fortum can now use the resulting units to cover its own emissions or sell them on the market. The emission reductions have been verified by Bureau Veritas, an independent certification company.


GE’s 100th ‘power plant on wheels’

power plant on wheels

GE has celebrated the production of its 100th trailer-mounted TM2500 aeroderivative gas turbine.

Known as GE’s ‘power plant on wheels’, the TM2500 was introduced a little more than a decade ago. The milestone unit rolled off the production line at GE’s facility in Veresegyház, Hungary, where GE manufactures all its 50 Hz TM2500 packages. GE’s Jacintoport facility outside Houston, Texas, assembles 60 Hz packages.

The TM2500+ offers multi-fuel flexibility operating on either natural gas or liquid distillate fuels and is easily converted from 50 Hz to
60 Hz. It can reach full power in less than ten minutes and can achieve nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions down to 25 ppm with water injection.