A Divide & Conquer Approach to Energy Innovation…
During one very busy week in May, power generation technology experts from Alstom advanced two very important aspects of the broader global debate around long-term energy strategies. In Rosemont, Illinois, Bruce Carney and Alstom’s Thermal Services team were recognized for a project that shows how America can get more value – and electricity – from its existing nuclear power plants. 500 miles away in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a team led by R&D Execution Director Thomas Stringer laid out the critical path for advancing technologies that reduce environmental impacts of fossil power generation.
Instead of retelling these important stories, we went right to the sources. Tom and Bruce each took a few minutes during their respective events to share insights.
Here’s what they had to say…
2013 Electric Power Conference and Exhibition – Rosemont, Illinois
Expert – Bruce Carney, Marketing Manager, Alstom Thermal Services North America
I understand that Alstom’s upgrade of Dominion’s North Anna nuclear power station was recognized during the conference with one of POWER Magazine’s 2012 Top Plant awards. What aspect(s) of this project made it particularly noteworthy?
The scope of the North Anna and Surry retrofit projects were impressive in and of themselves. Each involved delivery of new HP and LP turbine rotors, blade carriers and inner casings. Working closely together, the Dominion and Alstom teams overcame the technical challenge associated with replacing existing low-pressure turbine rotors with new machines that were almost two feet larger. This required substantial structural modification of the upper LP condensers.
Also, upgrading the plant’s existing double-flow high pressure turbine with a new single-flow design required a complete rerouting of all associated high energy pipelines.
Despite the challenges, the projects were delivered successfully and on-time and each of them added nearly 75MW of new generating capacity to the plants’ overall outputs.
According to the POWER Magazine editorial staff, the North Anna steam turbine retrofit was selected as a Top Plant because of ‘the extensive nature of the upgrade, the economic value of the upgrades to Dominion and its customers, and how well the project was managed.
How has Alstom’s approach to coal, nuclear and gas retrofits evolved over time to better meet the needs of our customers?
Alstom has established a focused approach to retrofitting plant components through custom technical and commercial packages tailored to each customer’s unique requirements. Localizing both our people and manufacturing activities has contributed greatly to our pursuit of new plant upgrade and retrofit opportunities, and we expect that new efforts to stay close to our customers will lead to further success over time.
12th Annual Conference on Carbon Capture, Utilization & Sequestration – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Expert – Mr. Thomas Stringer, Keynote Speaker & Director of R&D Execution for Alstom Thermal Power
I took a 360° view of the topic - ‘The Keys to Success for CCS Deployment.’ Alstom’s role, first and foremost, is as a technology supplier. Today, we are a world leader in developing various CCS technologies. We have post combustion capture solutions and oxy-combustions systems that have matured to the point of being ready for full-scale demonstration. These demonstrations are key to reducing cost, improving performance and building expertise under real-world operating conditions.
I emphasized that while CCS technology is ready, the market is not.
- Creating the right market conditions requires:
- Establishing compensation systems for CCS deployments.
- Developing transport and storage infrastructure in parallel to capture processes.
- Boosting public support for first-of-their-kind projects.
- Sustaining R&D to advance next generation technologies to demonstration.
Large-scale demonstrations are without question the key to moving CCS forward, and those require a smart mix of technology, well-crafted policy, effective partnerships and financial consideration.
What are some of the most notable news or developments Alstom has announced in its CCS development program?
Alstom has announced several major CCS development milestones in the last year. Most notable among these is the selection of Capture Power’s White Rose 426MW oxy-combustion plant as one of two projects selected to negotiate funding for Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) study from the UK Government’s CCS Commercialization Program.
Capture Power is a consortium established by Alstom, Drax and BOC to develop the White Rose CCS Project, in close co-operation with National Grid, who will provide the transportation and storage infrastructure for the project. Located on the site of the Drax Power Station near Selby in North Yorkshire, UK, the power plant will burn coal with the ability to co-fire sustainable biomass. The plant will be fully equipped with CCS technology from the outset. 90% of all the CO2 produced by the plant will be captured and transported by pipeline for permanent storage deep beneath the North Sea seabed.
What new technologies does Alstom see as having the potential to significantly impact the outlook for CCS?
Here in Pittsburgh, my colleague Iqbal Abdulally described a very promising CCS technology which is a bit earlier in the development path - Chemical Looping Combustion (CLC). CLC is a 2nd generation technology with the potential to be the lowest cost CO2 Capture technology, capable of capturing over 90% of the CO2 from new and existing coal-fired power plants . The technology can also be configured to produce syngas or hydrogen.
Chemical looping has progressed thru initial lab pilot stages and is now being tested in a 3 MWth prototype at Alstom’s Power Plant Laboratories in Windsor, CT. Our Windsor team achieved a significant process milestone in May when the prototype became the first in the world to achieve auto-thermal operation in a limestone chemical looping unit.
Alstom is currently performing techno-economic updates on several commercial scale applications of the LCL-C™ technology, with the plan to initiate Pre-FEED and FEED studies for a small scale demonstration plant.