Newfoundland and LabraÂdor 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 turbine. 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 combined-cycle 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 100-megawatt 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 #DarkNL and then to the only one, so far, officially sanctioned beheading?