Friday, April 16, 2010

Digital Instrumentation and Control Upgrades

A computer system hardware or software upgrade can be a daunting challenge.  Multiple industries both regulated (nuclear, biotech, pharma, food, medical device, etc.) and unregulated are facing aging hardware and software which is no longer maintainable or supported by vendors.

In most cases there is an entering project requirement to make the upgrade with minimal down time.  Down time is affected by two critical phases of the project:  Equipment and software installation sometimes referred to cutover and system testing including validation.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Natural gas as a replacement for Diesel/Gas..transition to renewables?

Natural gas is considered to be a cleaner alternative to other fossil fuels like coal, diesel or gasoline. In countries like India, in order to combat air pollution, local governments are making it mandatory for public transport vehicles to use natural gas.

At a recent conference co-hosted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration and Johns Hopkins University, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu noted there has been a sharp rise in U.S. natural gas reserves in recent years: "That's a big deal because gas will be a transition fuel as we go to renewables."

A recent report on natural gas by The Economist magazine concluded "a gasified American economy would have profound effects on both international politics and the battle against climate change. Displacement of oil by natural gas would strengthen a trend away from crude in rich countries … the unearthing of vast new supplies of gas could bring further upheaval."

The U.S. Congress,  appears to be on track to pass the National Gas Act.  Iincreased subsidies for converting trucks to natural gas. Compared with diesel, natural-gas engines produce much less nitrous oxide and particulate matter, and about 20% less greenhouse gas.

The emission standards for heavy- and medium-duty diesel engines will become more stringent, and fleets are already switching to natural gas engines to avoid the higher costs of environmental compliance required of diesel engines.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Carbon Capture Technology News

"Rapid commercial development and deployment of clean coal technologies, particularly carbon capture and storage, will help position the United States as a leader in the global clean energy race."
President Barack Obama
Presidential Memorandum
February 3, 2010

Impact of Coal power: acid rain on forests and watersheds. In the 21st century, additional environmental concerns have emerged - the potential health impacts of trace emissions of mercury, the effects of microscopic particles on people with respiratory problems, and the potential global climate-altering impact of greenhouse gases.

Secretary Chu Announces $3 Billion Investment for Carbon Capture and Sequestration

$979 Million to Support New Commercial-scale CCS Technologies  On Dec 4, 2009

Projects announced demonstrate advanced coal-based technologies that will capture and sequester or put to beneficial use carbon emissions. The selections demonstrate technologies that:
  • make progress toward a target CO2 capture efficiency of 90%;
  • make progress toward a capture and sequestration goal of less than 10% increase in the cost of electricity for gasification systems and less than 35% for combustion and oxycombustion systems;
  • capture and sequester or put to beneficial use an amount of CO2 emissions in excess of the minimum of 300,000 tons per year required by CCPI.

Clean Coal Power Initiative Round III selections announced include:
  • American Electric Power Company, Inc. (Columbus, OH):
    Project Title: Mountaineer Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage DemonstrationAmerican Electric Power (AEP) will design, construct and operate a chilled ammonia process that is expected to effectively capture at least 90 percent of the CO2 (1.5 million metric tons per year) in a 235 megawatt flue gas stream at the existing 1,300 megawatt Appalachian Power Company (APCo) Mountaineer Power Plant near New Haven, WV. The captured CO2 will be treated, compressed, and then transported by pipeline to proposed injection sites located near the capture facility. During the operation phase, AEP plans to permanently store the entire amount of captured CO2 in two separate saline formations located approximately 1.5 miles below the surface. The project team includes AEP, APCo, Schlumberger Carbon Services, Battelle Memorial Institute, CONSOL Energy, Alstom, and an advisory team of geologic experts. (DOE share: $334 million; project duration: 10 years)
  • Southern Company Services, Inc. (Birmingham, AL)
    Project Title: Southern Company Carbon Capture and Sequestration DemonstrationSouthern Company Services (SCS) will retrofit a CO2 capture plant on a 160 megawatt flue gas stream at an existing coal-fired power plant, Alabama Power’s Plant Barry, located north of Mobile, AL. The captured CO2 will be compressed and transported through a pipeline, and up to one million metric tons per year of CO2 will be sequestered in deep saline formations. Southern Company Services will also explore and utilize potential opportunities for beneficial use of the CO2 for enhanced oil recovery. In addition to SCS, the project team includes Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, Schlumberger Carbon Services, Southern States Energy Board, Advanced Resources International, the Geological Survey of Alabama, EPRI, Stanford University, the University of Alabama, AJW Group, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. (DOE share: $295 million; project duration: 11 years)
    • Chilled Ammonia Carbon Dioxide Capture Pilot - Southern Company is a charter member of an Electric Power Research Institute-led consortium working with Alstom to demonstrate carbon dioxide capture from power plant exhaust gas using chilled ammonia.
  • Summit Texas Clean Energy, LLC (Bainbridge Island, WA)Project Title: Texas Clean Energy Project (TCEP)Summit Texas Clean Energy, LLC will integrate Siemens gasification and power generating technology with carbon capture technologies to effectively capture 90% of the carbon dioxide (2.7 million metric tons per year) at a 400 megawatt plant to be built near Midland-Odessa, TX. The captured CO2 will be treated, compressed and then transported by CO2 pipeline to oilfields in the Permian Basin of West Texas, for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations. The Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) at the University of Texas will design and assure compliance with a state-of-the-art CO2 sequestration monitoring, verification and accounting program. (DOE share: $350 million; project duration: 8 years)
    • TCEP is currently scheduled to achieve financial closing and commence construction in December 2010.  Commercial operation is scheduled for mid-2014.  The project will begin sequestering carbon during startup and testing in 2013.

Source:  DOE Clean Coal Technology