So much hot air going to waste

The Telegram
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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 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?


Tom Careen


Geographic location: Holyrood, Boulder City, Nev.

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Recent comments

  • Joe McDonald
    May 25, 2014 - 15:16

    How much do the clown show,Maurice!Cyril and now Tom get paid to write this nonsense

    • Maurice E. Adams
      May 26, 2014 - 08:52

      Speaking for myself ---- nothing, zero, zilch. My nonsense comes to you free of charge, while government's and Nalcor's nonsense will cost NL ratepayers 30-40 cents per KWh so that "NALCOR" can get from zero (for about 1/3rd of it) to 4-9 cents per KWh back from Nova Scotia. That is the kind of nonsense we, our kids and grand kids will pay for for the next 50 years. Nalcor and government do not give a s--t because NL ratepayers are paying the full cost so Nalcor and government can get some (from 1/4 - 1/10th) that back from Nova Scotia sales. --- a tax grab by stealth.

  • Cyril Rogers
    May 25, 2014 - 14:46

    FictionOrFact…if your argument is based on the fiction used by NALCOR and the government to justify Muskrat Falls, then it has no merit. My issue is not to debate the technical merits of various oil fired systems but to question the conclusions reached by both government and NALCOR that MF was "the least cost" alternative. Supposedly it was, if one accepts a mythical price for oil as an ever increasing commodity. That may very well happen…but nobody can say that with certainty. Yet, the whole foundation for MF was based on this flimsy premise. As we have seen, the cost of the MF continues to escalate…with no end in sight. As of this writing, the cost has already climbed to that mythical high that was reserved for escalating oil prices. Further, the steam/oil-fired systems at Holyrood, or elsewhere, are absolutely essential to reliability and, for that reason alone, Holyrood or a similar power generating system will have to be maintained. Also, it would have been prudent to develop more wind to enhance the system, if they were concerned about increasing demand. On the other hand, the power utilities and government have paid mere lip service to conservation….which, as Maurice points out, has contributed immensely to the demand side of the equation. It seems that real conservation is a dirty word in the corridors of power….. and does not fit the political agenda that drives financial catastrophes like Muskrat Falls.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    May 24, 2014 - 13:34

    In 2014 Dunsky Energy says that nationwide in the U.S. only 25% of new load since 1970 has required new generation (75% has been met by Demand Side Management) --- conservation and efficiency --- which costs only about 2 to 4 cents per KWh. Compare that to the 20 to 40 cents fro Muskrat. See

    • Morry
      May 25, 2014 - 08:48

      A dog and his bone.

  • Cyril Rogers
    May 24, 2014 - 12:36

    Valid observation, Mr. Careen. Had they used a system such as this to begin upgrading Holyrood…the need for Muskrat….and the sorry episode known as Dark Nl…would never have occurred. Think of the billions saved and the lack of aggravation such a decision would have produced. In my opinion, head should roll all the way to the top of NALCOR and on Confederation Hill.

    • FictionOrFact
      May 24, 2014 - 16:39

      Invalid observation Mr. Careen, and invalid conclusion Mr. Rogers. Combined cycle combustion turbines were a key part of the alternative to Muskrat - an alternative that was over $2 billion more costly - you guys should both know this as the reports are all publily available on the Muskrat Falls and PUB websites. CCCT's only make sense as base loaded units when the high capital costs of the steam recovery portion of the units can be recovered. The CT that Hydro is installing is a peaker and was required for both the Muskrat and the isolated island alternatives. All utility systems need a mix of base load, intermediate load and peak load generators and this CT is the peaker in the generation mix.