So much hot air go­ing to waste

The Compass - - OPINION -

New­found­land and Labrador Hy­dro, a wholly owned sub­sidiary of Nal­cor, has been given ap­proval for the pur­chase and im­me­di­ate in­stal­la­tion of a new, 100-megawatt tur­bine gen­er­a­tor at the Holy­rood Ther­mal Gen­er­at­ing Sta­tion.

Hy­dro claims it is on sched­ule to have the ex­tra gen­er­a­tor in place and ready to go by the be­gin­ning of the next heat­ing sea­son.

What type of fuel will this new com­bus­tion tur­bine gen­er­a­tor use? Jet fuel, gaso­line, diesel fuel, nat­u­ral gas and even gas de­rived from coal have all been used suc­cess­fully in the United States.

When a com­bus­tion tur­bine stands alone, as ap­pears will be the case at Holy­rood, it is com­monly re­ferred to as a sim­ple-cy­cle unit.

Like a jet en­gine, the tur­bine can be brought up to op­er­at­ing speed very quickly. But it is in­ef­fi­cient. Up to half the en­ergy stored in the fuel can be lost to the at­mos­phere through the hot (500 C plus) ex­haust.

Two-thirds of the rest of the stored en­ergy is used to drive the com­pres­sor, which is on the same con­tin­u­ous shaft as the tur-

Are the de­ci­sion-mak­ers at Nal­cor be­ing penny wise and pound fool­ish in pur­chas­ing and in­stalling the 100megawatt com­bus­tion tur­bine gen­er­a­tor and dump­ing all that hot ex­hausted air as if it was of no value or use?

bine. About one-sixth of the en­ergy in the fuel is changed into elec­tric­ity and a per­cent­age of that will be lost in trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion.

A com­bus­tion tur­bine linked with a steam tur­bine is re­ferred to as a com­bined­cy­cle or co­gen­er­a­tion plant. This ar­range­ment is ef­fi­cient be­cause that hot ex­haust air from the com­bus­tion tur­bine can be used to su­per­heat wa­ter to pro­duce steam to drive the steam tur­bine and gen­er­ate more megawatts of elec­tric­ity.

In a trade pub­li­ca­tion sev­eral years ago, there was men­tion of a power plant in Boul­der City, Nev., where two 100megawatt com­bus­tion tur­bines are used to feed heat to a 100-megawatt steam gen­er­a­tor for a to­tal en­ergy out­put of 300 megawatts.

Are the de­ci­sion-mak­ers at Nal­cor be­ing penny wise and pound fool­ish in pur­chas­ing and in­stalling the 100-megawatt com­bus­tion tur­bine gen­er­a­tor and dump­ing all that hot ex­hausted air as if it was of no value or use?

Does it not seem, Mr. Ed Martin and Mr. Rob Hen­der­son, as it does to me, that the me­chan­i­cally pro­duced hot air (as dis­tinct from the man-made kind) is es­sen­tially a free fuel avail­able to be har­nessed, but go­ing to waste de­spite the cul­ture of mis­man­age­ment leading to what is be­ing called # Dark NL and then to the only one, so far, of­fi­cially sanc­tioned be­head­ing?

— Tom Ca­reen writes from Pla­cen­tia

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