Power Plant Conversions to Fire/Co-fire Natural Gas

IEEE Power & Energy Society Meeting and Presentation by Bradley Piatt


Thursday, November 20, 2014
4:00 pm – 5:15 pm (food and refreshments will be provided)
Lehigh University, Asa Packer Campus,
STEPS - Room 101
1West Packer Ave
Bethlehem, PA 18015

** NO CHARGE, ALL ARE WELCOME **
** Seating is limited**

Meeting Sponsored by:
The IEEE Power & Energy Society - Lehigh Valley Chapter
Lehigh University - Energy Systems Engineering Institute
Lehigh University IEEE PES Student Branch

Power Plant Conversions to Fire/Co-fire Natural Gas

• Coal fired generation is under pressure from a variety of sources. Ever increasing environmental compliance costs, more stringent mining regulation, and increased transportation cost of solid fuels continue to increase the production cost of coal fired electricity generation. Further impacting the issue, low-cost shale gas has reduced natural gas prices, therefore depressing the wholesale price of electricity. These challenges have shifted new capacity additions to gas fuel designs and also have forced retirements of coal generation and even some nuclear generation. As a result, fuel diversity of the electric grid is being reduced. Generation that uses fuel that can be stored or stock-piled (like coal) is decreasing, and this loss could lead to scarcity during periods of peak demand, which occurred in the 2013-14 winter. To address market pressures, generation companies are considering switching some existing coal generation to gas fuel, or co-firing gas and coal, which would preserve operation with stored fuel.
• As in all designs that perform more than one function, compromises must be made. The difference in boiler performance and thermal distribution with different fuels must be accommodated; safety hazards change based on fuel type; designing around and modifying existing equipment must be considered; equipment needed for solid fuels must be retained and maintained; staffing levels, skills and training must accommodate both fuels; and, the investment is significant and must be evaluated under the condition of volatile gas prices. All in all, it is a complex business and technical problem.

Presentation by: Bradley Piatt

B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University. He is currently the Peaking Power Manager at PPL Generation.
Mr. Piatt has worked for PPL Generation since 1980 in a variety of positions, and prior to that he was a commissioning engineer for Delmarva Power. His work has focused in machinery and technical services, as well as design, operations, project management and financial responsibilities for coal, gas, oil and hydro facilities.
In addition to his work experience, Mr. Piatt has co-authored a number of industry papers, including:
• “Experience with the Effects of Bearing Looseness”, EPRI Symposium on Trouble Shooting Power Plant Rotating Machinery Vibrations, LaJolla, CA, May 19-21, 1993
• “Advances in the use of Thermal Spray Coatings”, Power Gen conference, 1994
• “Pennsylvania Power & Light’s Experience with LP Rotor Dovetail Cracking”, ASME 1993

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