2012-06-14 / Community News

Luminant CAP Members Hear about Power Generation

With strong member interest in understanding more about how Luminant’s Sandow power plant makes electricity, the Luminant Community Advisory Panel (LCAP) heard from Production Manager Jon Rice at its May meeting in Taylor.

Rice began with safety, stating that safety hazards in a power plant are not just electrical. Chemical, thermal, and noise hazards and physically strenuous work can all cause injuries. To prevent or mitigate them, Luminant uses active controls like hand rails, administrative controls like training, engineering design, and personal protective equipment like hardhats and safety shoes. Power plant workers had worked a “best ever” 414 days as of mid-May without a serious injury.

The Sandow power plant has two units. Unit 4 uses Supercritical Pulverized Coal technology. Unit 5 uses Circulating Fluidized Bed technology. Both burn lignite coal to boil water to make steam to drive a turbine that rotates a shaft and generates electricity.

The methods to control emissions differ somewhat. The newer Sandow 5 technology was designed to generate less of the nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide formed when coal is burned. Sandow 4 installed a device to reduce NOx in 2010. Sandow 4 uses a wet scrubbing system to remove sulfur dioxide. Both units use two methods to remove mercury in flue gas. Bottom ash is landfilled. Hot water from the Sandow 4 process is cooled in the Alcoa Lake Treatment System. Sandow 5 uses a cooling tower.

Both units use a system required by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation to track numerous factors that indicate whether they are operating reliably. This database is the main source of power station outage data across the continent. Power plants may access each other’s data so they may learn from each other.

The Luminant CAP meets next on Monday, October 8 at 6:00 p.m. in Cameron. For more information, contact LCAP facilitator Diane Sheridan at 800-484-9212 x 4127.

Lexington area residents are also welcome to contact CAP member Margaret Newman at 979-773-4184.

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