power plant

Facebook Signs Virtual Power Purchase Agreement for 80 MW of Solar via Energy Manager Today

Facebook Signs Virtual Power Purchase Agreement for 80 MW of Solar via Energy Manager Today

Facebook has signed an agreement for 80MW of solar with a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) to support energy goals for a new data center.

Crescent Dunes Solar Power Plant is Changing the Industry, Here's How.

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F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems is proud to be providing fire protection for Crescent Dunes, NV solar power plant.  Crescent Dunes has a revolutionary technology that makes solar power more accessible to  households.

During peak time, they provide energy to 75,000 homes with no fossil fuel.

How do they use 0 fossil fuels?


This solar power plant uses concentrated solar power (CSP).  A system of mirrors concentrates the solar energy.  Crescent Dunes then uses salt to capture the energy and store it.  The salt storage allows the energy captured from the sun to be used 24 hours a day.

Cold salt is stored near a central receiver tower that is located in the center of 10,347 tracking heliostats.  The salt collects the heat, which can reach 1,000 degrees.  Once the salt collects the heat, it is pumped to a hot salt tank.  The hot salt tank acts like a battery, preserving the heat for 16 hours.


Molten salt is vastly better than batteries.  Salt is less expensive than batteries.  It lasts for 40+ years.  Lastly, salt doesn't degrade or need replaced.

The molten salt generates steam, which drives the turbine and creates electricity.  

Using molten salt in solar power plants is getting cheaper and cheaper.  In 2009 it cost almost $1 billion, and now the price to build a solar plant with this technology is half that.  SolarReserve is building another plant in Chile, and it will be less than 5 cents/kWh, whereas Crescent Dunes was 13.5 cents/kWh in 2009.



New Solar Power Plant Set to Go Online at Chernobyl

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In 2016, Chernobyl announced that it was going to be transformed into a solar power plant.  This site is not safe for life for tens of thousands of years after the Chernobyl disaster.  Turning it into a solar power plant park makes perfect sense.

The solar plant is set to be completed soon and will produce 1 MW of power, enough to supply power to a mid-sized village.  There are talks to quickly expand this plant to get it to 2 gigawatts of power, which would power 750,000 households.

Related:  Video Captures Haunting Footage of Abandoned Chernobyl Power Plant

The power will go to Ukraine, which is currently using a Russian-owned gas-fired power plant that is in short supply,

Concentrating solar power

Solar power is being used more and more often.  It's becoming cheaper and more accessible.  It doesn't pollute the environment and works well.  Solar power has helped bring energy to many places suffering from a shortage, such as South Australia.

Currently, Australia is the home to the largest solar power plant in the world.

Related:  Solar Power's Secret Fire Hazards

"The significance of solar thermal generation lies in its ability to provide energy virtually on demand through the use of thermal energy storage to store heat for running the power turbines," said Wasim Saman, University of South Australia Professor of Sustainable Energy Engineering.






Cooling Tower Roundup: Everything to Know about Fire Sprinklers + Video

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Cooling towers have an environment that makes fire sprinklers vulnerable to decay and failure.  However, cooling towers have fire hazards throughout the building.  PVC fill, FRP walls, fan stacks, fan decks, fan blades, louvers, partitions, and catch basins catch on fire regularly.

You can see a cooling tower fire in the video below.  There are very real hazards in these facility types.

Below you will find our most popular cooling tower articles to better understand the environment, risks, and how to keep your fire sprinklers working properly.

Cooling Towers:  The Perfect Atmosphere for Failure

Learn the causes of pipe deterioration in cooling towers.

Video:  Results of Microbial Induced Corrosion (MIC)

See a YouTube video of what MIC can do to a cooling tower.

The Ultimate Guide to Gas-fired Power Plants

Learn the fire hazards in each section of a gas-fired power plant, including detailed hazards in cooling towers (+ a hazard diagram!).

What are you biggest questions about cooling towers?  Comment below and let us know.  It may become our next blog post.

Tesla Joins Australia's Power Grid: World's Biggest Battery

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The power grid in South Australia now has a giant Tesla battery.

As a reminder, on March 9, Elon Musk tweeted that he would deliver 100MWh of energy storage to South Australia in 100 days.  He made good on that promise, and finished the job in 63 days.

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"This is history in the making," said South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill.  The battery system is sitting next to wind turbines at the Horndale Power Reserve.  "South Australia is now leading the world in dispatchable renewable energy, delivered to homes and businesses 24/7."

The battery can store enough energy to supply energy to 30,000 homes for more than an hour.  The main reason South Australia was seeking out this technology is that they need stability for the South Australia electrical grid.

The Tesla batteries were successful in testing, and were used a day earlier than planned.  Temperatures were over 100 degrees, so the Tesla energy storage was tapped to make up the energy needed for air conditioning.

South Australia's taxpayers will be paying $50 million over 10 years to subsidize the cost to operate.

Related articles about sustainable energy.



A Swedish Power Plant is Burning H&M Clothing for Fuel

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A Swedish power plant is working to eliminate fossil fuels by 2020.  To get to this goal, they have started burning recycled wood and garbage - including rejected clothing from H&M warehouses.

Copy of Concentrating solar power

"For us, it's burnable material.  Our goal is to use only renewable and recycled fuels," said Jens Neren, head of fuel supplies at Malarenergi AB.

This plant has burned 15 tons of rejected clothing from H&M warehouses in 2017.  However, the plant burns about 400,000 tons of trash to make fuel in a year and supplies 150,000 households with energy.

The Head of Communications for H&M, Johanna Dahl said, "It is our legal obligation to make sure that clothes that contain mold or do not comply with our strict restrictions on chemicals are destroyed.  H&M does not burn [for fuel] any clothes that are safe to use."

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Renewable energy is constantly replenished and will never run out.  Power plants that utilize these resources over fossil fuels are choosing not to use sources like coal, oil, or natural gas that cannot replenish.

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Solar Power Beats Out Other Renewables in New Energy

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A study recently came out that solar power is now the fastest growing source of new energy worldwide.  

The shift was brought on by lower prices and government policies.  Now, we are seeing that 2/3s of new power added to the worldwide power grid is renewable energy.  In the United States, over half of the 24,000 megawatts of electricity generation capacity added to the U.S. grid in 2016 came from renewable sources.  Solar is growing faster than other renewables because it is getting cheaper and cheaper to produce.  

Renewable prices are becoming comparable to fossil fuels.  Wind and solar are setting record low prices.  "Renewables may well become even cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives [over the next five years]," said Paolo Frankl, head of the renewable energy division at the IEA.  Coal was always the favorite energy fuel, but it is dirty.  Natural gas now responsible for 7,700 MW of energy, and coal is down 17%.

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Dr. Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA said, "What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar photovoltaics.  We expect that solar PV capacity growth will be higher than any other renewable technology up to 2022."

On a recently released jobs report, solar workers were one of the top jobs for outlook.  The U.S. Department of Energy said that workers devoted to solar development, installation, and maintenance were 43% of the workforce for electric power generation.  From 2015 to 2016, solar was the highest growing job in power with 300,192 employees in 2015 and 373,807 employees in 2016.  In 2017, it's expected to grow another 7%.

If you're looking for a career change, solar might be the route to go.  On the construction side, power generation was the most difficult to hire for with insufficient qualifications and lack of experience.

According to Paris-based International Energy Agency, "About half a million solar panels were installed every day around the world last year."

Perhaps it's time to train for a new career.

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8 Dead, 100 Injured in Boiler Blast at Power Plant

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New Delhi -- A boiler exploded at the NTPC Power Plant in Uttar Pradesh and killed eight people and injured 100 people.

The number of dead and injured may rise.  Many of the injured received severe burns.

The injured are being treated at the NTPC campus hospital and another local hospital.  The worst burn injuries were taken to Lucknow hospitals.

The NTPC Power Plant had 5 units with 210 MW each.  The power plant started generating power in 1988.  A 6th unit was commissioned with 500 MW to be completed this year.  It is believed that the pipe burst at the 6th unit.

Get the latest news on the power plant fire here.

How do you protect boilers in power plants?  Find out here.


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London "Fatberg" to be Converted to Biodiesel

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In London's underground is a massive "fatberg" that is 130 tons and blocking the sewer system.  London has a chronic problem with "fatbergs."  While the city usually sends in a sanitation team to remove the fat to send to the landfill, this time they are making use of it.

London will be converting the fatberg into 10,000 liters of biodiesel.  That is enough biodiesel to run 350 doubledecker buses.

How do "fatbergs" form?

Fatbergs form when people pour oils and fats down their drains.  When they cool, they harden and block pipes. 

Since the beginning of September, high-powered jets have been working to break down the fats.  The fats will then be sucked up from the sewer.  The fats will be transported to a specialist plant that will convert it to bio-diesel.

Thames Water is working with Argent Energy on this project.

Alex Saunders, Waste Network Manager at Thames Water said, "We have a problem with fatbergs, both in sewer networks and at our sewage treatment works.  Previously, we've either extracted the fatberg out of the pipes and sent it to landfill, or broken it down and put it back through the sewage treatment process.  Even though they are our worst enemy, and we want them dead completely, bringing fatbergs back to life when we do find them in the form of biodiesel is afar better solution."

See a fatberg up close on this clip from BBC Earth.

Learn more about energy.



Wind Turbine Fires are Costing as Much as $2 Mil in Damage: Is NFPA 850 being ignored?

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Karatsu -- A wind turbine near a nuclear power plant caught fire.  This caused serious difficulties for firefighters who had to worry about falling parts.

A nearby resident reported the conflagration at 2:55pm.  One of the turbine blades and the base of the blades caught fire at the wind-generating power plant.  The blaze was extinguished at 6:50am the next morning. 

No one was injured. 

Firefighters had a difficult time fighting the fire.  They were unable to point water at the blades because of falling debris.

The fire is under investigation.

The wind generating power plant has been in operation since 2004.  They sell their energy to Kyushu Electric.

NFPA 850

Wind turbines are part of NFPA 850:  Recommended Practice for Fire Protection for Electric Generating Plants and High Voltage Direct Current Converter Stations, 2010.  Since 2002, 184 wind turbines have been damaged by fire.  This has cost between $750,000 to $2,000,000 each time.


What is causing wind turbine fires?

Wind-generated power plant fires start from a number of causes.  The most common is lightning strikes.  Wind turbines are exposed and tall, making them an easy target.

Another cause of fire in wind turbines is mechanical failure or electrical malfunction.  The hundreds of gallons of hydraulic fluid and lubricants fuels the fire.  An added fuel source is internal insulation.

Wind-generating power plants have other high-risk areas too.  Capacitors, transformers, generators, electrical controls, and transmission equipment is also susceptible to fire.

Fire Protection for Wind Turbines

Water-mist systems are an option; however, they have the potential for hurting electrical equipment.  Compressed air foam systems are also used, but the storage needs can be problematic with the remote location of most wind turbines.

Clean agent systems are a good solution.  When discharged, it vaporizes into a colorless, odorless gas.  The suppressant takes up less space to store than other solutions.  It also has a low environmental impact.

While wind-generating power plants have their pros and cons, the fact that it is an environmentally friendly energy solution is bringing more and more wind farms into the energy industry, so properly protecting them from fire needs to become a priority.

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Case Study - Oak Creek Power Plant AQCS Area

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Twenty miles south of Milwaukee, the third-largest power generating station in Wisconsin can be found along the shore of Lake Michigan. The coal-fueled Oak Creek Power Plant is the most thermally efficient generating station in the state, generating 1,135 MW. Committed to environmentally responsible power generation, We Energies, recently installed new Air Quality Control Systems (AQCS) at its Oak Creek Power Plant. The AQCS consists of two wet limestone forced oxidation flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems and two selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems to reduce emissions.

URS, the EP&C firm providing their services for the installation, has a long-standing relationship with F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems from previous projects they have worked on collaboratively. Additionally, over the years F.E. Moran has done extensive work for We Energies making them a natural choice as the contractor to install a comprehensive fire protection solution for the new FGD and SCR areas.

With an extensive background in FGD projects, including a similar installation at the neighboring Pleasant Prairie Power Plant (another We Energies facility that is the largest generating station in Wisconsin), F.E. Moran's experienced team had a thorough understanding of the nuances of the application. Implementing a complete fire protection system in this environment from beginning to end requires a great deal of expertise and first-hand experience; F.E. Moran knew exactly how to execute the project, even when encountering complex challenges.


Many fire protection contractors do not have the proficiency to perform the underground portion of a fire protection system but F.E. Moran has carried out countless underground installations, which has provided them with the knowledge that was necessary to perform the intricate project. The environmental conditions posed a number of challenges for F.E. Moran, demanding that they call upon their expertise to complete the underground.

With temperatures frequently falling below freezing during the winter months, F.E. Moran had to overcome the obstacles of working outdoors in extremely cold weather and installing pipe in frozen ground. Additionally, the soil contained a high concentration of sand, requiring them to excavate trenches that were larger than average to compensate for potential cave-ins.

Another unique hurdle that F.E. Moran faced was installation of the underground system on a steep slope. The solution required special installation methods in which a 100' boring was made parallel to the slope face and the underground pipe was subsequently slid through the hollow to reach its destination. This method dramatically reduced the cost and disruption that would have been created if typical excavation methods had been used.

Beyond the complications presented by the plant site, many other factors had to be considered when installing the underground to ensure that the system would function optimally. F.E. Moran's skilled installers used their knowledge of equipment such as post indicator valves (PIV's), control valves and thrust blocks to install a system that was in accordance with NFPA 24 Standard for Private Service Mains. Using their expertise, F.E. Moran utilized the appropriate materials for this particular application according to factors such as soil condition, pump type, water source and levels of corrosion in the environment. The accomplished installers used their skill and experience to properly restrain the pipe for a durable and reliable system.

Upon completion of the underground portion of the project, F.E. Moran immediately began the above ground work, with a scope that included a wide array of suppression, alarm and detection systems. FGD systems are inherently complex, with varying risks posed by a vast range of equipment. Scrubbers, oxidation blowers, limestone drive pulleys and other FGD-related equipment demand specialized fire protection solutions that address their unique hazards. The high temperatures that occur within FGD areas necessitate high volumes of water as well as specific protection for limestone and gypsum dewatering areas.

In addition to the host of suppression systems that F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems installed, they also implemented an extensive alarm and detection system for the plant. In FGD applications it is critical that a highly effective alarm system is in place to mitigate the risk of a potentially high-intensity fire. F.E. Moran not only installed the fire alarm panels, manual pull stations and strobes and horns but they also employed a Very Early Smoke Detection Alarm (VESDA) air sampling system for optimum detection. Through continuous air sampling, the VESDA system can detect trace amounts of smoke in the environment, allowing the facility to respond appropriately before a fire has the opportunity to escalate.

Despite some of the challenges presented by the underground installation at an operating facility and the complexity of the equipment that was being protected, F.E. Moran's Project Manager and his team completed the job on time and on budget, with expert precision. Their experience and unparalleled knowledge of the application allowed them to foresee potential issues before they interfered with the progress of the project and respond appropriately. Additionally, their relationship with the local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ's) streamlined the approval process, facilitating the smooth progression of the project. The end result is a reliable, wide-ranging fire protection system that meets industry requirements and provides We Energies with the peace of mind that their valuable assets will be protected.

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