Serving the energy industry for over 30 years
By - Jon Brown

Coal to Gas Conversion: Technology and Practice
August 17-18, 2016 | Overland Park, KS

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Overview

Low natural gas prices and static coal prices have created a business opportunity for power producers to utilize significantly greater amounts of natural gas to meet their generation demand. In addition, increasingly stringent environmental regulations will require many coal-fired units to be retired or to be retrofit with emissions control equipment for continued operation on coal. This has led to a reduction in coal-fired electricity generation, with some of the coal-fired generation being replaced by natural gas-fired generation. The selection of the most advantageous option is influenced by factors such as performance, capital cost, operating cost, fuel flexibility and emissions control requirements. And in some cases the option to employ natural gas co-firing, or even a complete coal to gas conversion, can bring both reduced generation cost and lower emissions to existing coal-fired power plants.

Attendees will be able to plan and prepare for the fuel switch from coal to natural gas. They will learn how to reuse existing equipment and systems, including the steam turbine-generator, heat rejection system, electrical switchyard, controls, and plant facilities. The course will explain the process of decommissioning a plant, the regulations and legal issues concerning the switch to natural gas, and finally how to cease generation entirely at their coal-fired power plant, and to convert to gas via construction of a new simple cycle or combined cycle plant.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Review the industry drivers that have created a market opportunity for the fuel switch to natural gas
  2. Explain the preparation process for fuel switch
  3. Discuss the market assessments of fuel cost and availability and the logistical factors for ensuring fuel delivery
  4. Discuss how natural gas co-firing and coal to gas conversions can impact the fuel-related equipment of the power plant
  5. Explain how to reuse existing plant equipment and the implications
  6. Discuss how to decommission coal power plant equipment and the concerns that are involved including, closing a coal yard and closures of ash ponds and landfills
  7. Explain the permitting and legal challenges associated with fuel conversion
  8. Determine when to decide to cease generation at coal-fired plants and convert to gas through construction of a new simple cycle or combined cycle facility
  9. Discuss openly regarding the general technical, logistical, and economical questions involving this process

Agenda

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. :: Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. :: Course Timing

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

Introduction to Industry Drivers

A primer and overview on the regulatory, environmental, economic, and technology factors which have created a market opportunity for natural gas co-firing and conversion at coal-fired power plants.

Coal to Gas Conversion – Planning

Preparing for a major fuel switch requires a good plan of action. This section will discuss market assessments of fuel costs and availability, long-term planning for fuel and plant upgrade costs, logistical factors for ensuring fuel delivery, and pipeline routing and siting concerns.

Boiler Island and Turbine Impacts

Boilers which are designed for coal combustion may find that using gas can improve the performance of some systems, while creating limitations in others. This section will discuss how natural gas co-firing and coal to gas conversions can impact the fuel-related equipment of the power plant, especially the boiler. These boiler effects can cascade to the turbine cycle, and potential limitations in turbine efficiency will also be discussed. Solutions to address these potential problems in the boiler and turbine will be detailed.

Plant Auxiliary and Emissions Equipment Impacts

The prior discussion on boiler and turbine impacts from gas co-firing and coal to gas conversion continues, with a focus upon plant auxiliary and emissions control equipment. Mills, air fans, gas fans, air heaters, selective catalytic reduction systems, particulate control devices, flue gas desulfurization, and other equipment impacts will be addressed in this section.

Steam Turbine Repowering

The alternative of reusing the steam turbine-generator in a gas turbine-based combined cycle can require less capital than a new combined cycle plant and has the benefit of high thermal efficiency. This section will focus on reuse of existing equipment and systems, including the steam turbine-generator, heat rejection system, electrical switchyard, controls, and plant facilities. Also discussed will be impacts to plant staffing and flexibility limitations associated with reuse of existing equipment and systems for a different purpose than original design.

Safety, Reliability, and Economics

Converting coal-fired boilers to gas is not as simple as swapping coal burners with gas burners. Even when the boilers are designed to accommodate co-firing of gas, due to the age of the boilers, there are safety and reliability gaps that will need to be filled. Finally, unless there is a return on investment and the facility has the ability to economically generate steam and/or power after switching to gas completely, the project will not be viewed as a success. This presentation presents the three layers that need to be considered by the plant operations and maintenance teams, as well as plant management while evaluating coal to gas conversions or switching with special reference to an actual coal-to gas conversion project.

 

Decommissioning

After a coal to gas conversion a plant owner may be required to, or else desire to, decommission some or all of their coal equipment. This section will address the potential concerns for such activities as closing a coal yard, closure of ash ponds and landfills, removal of coal processing equipment and structural steel, and potential abandonment or demolition of emissions control systems.

 

DAY 2 AGENDA

Thursday, August 18, 2016

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Course Timing

The Regulatory Jungle

Some see a coal to gas conversion as the solution to many of the regulatory obstacles facing their coal-fired generating assets. But even a complete conversion to natural gas will require creation of a host of environmental permitting plans, site assessments, and health and safety studies. What’s more, legal challenges could be made from many different sources, from local communities unhappy with new gas pipelines to environmental groups attempting to end fossil fuel combustion. This section will give examples of these challenges and lay out a framework for dealing with them.

Replacement Options

In some cases, a plant owner may decide to cease generation entirely at their coal-fired power plant, and decide to convert to gas via construction of a new simple cycle or combined cycle gas turbine. Often times the existing coal plant site is ideal for this new plant location. This section will discuss the logistics, planning, and benefits of replacing an entire coal-fired asset with natural gas fueled generation units. Current commercial offerings and technology trends for gas turbines and reciprocating engines will be presented.

Final Notes and Adjournment

An open class discussion will be held to answer general technical, logistical, economic, and other questions posed by the audience.

Instructors

Una Catherine Nowling, Technology Lead, Fuels, Black & Veatch

Ms. Una Nowling is a Project Manager and Senior Consultant within Black & Veatch‘s global energy business, and is the Chief Engineer’s Technology Lead for fuels and combustion. She assists utilities and energy companies with fuel quality impact studies; fuel sourcing and mine planning studies; combustion and boiler operations analyses; emissions compliance; and technical and scientific training. Ms. Nowling has managed more than 80 projects in her career at Black & Veatch and continues to manage several domestic and international projects dealing with fuels and power plant performance. She is responsible for teaching and training in fuels issues and power plant operations, and she is an Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) campus. Ms. Nowling is a frequent author for POWER Magazine, a syndicated newspaper technical writer, and a radio hostess on Kansas City Public Radio.

Brian C. Reinhart, Technology Assessments Manager, Black & Veatch

Brian C. Reinhart is the Technology Assessments/Technical Due Diligence service area lead within Black & Veatch’s global power business. A registered professional engineer in mechanical engineering, Mr. Reinhart has experience in air quality control, gas turbine unit additions, and plant improvements / rebuilds. He is familiar with the latest industry trends and Black & Veatch standard practices and is dedicated to providing project solutions that support clients in meeting their goals.

Ajay Kasarabada, Project Manager and Business Development Lead for Combined Heat & Power Solutions, Black & Veatch

Ajay Kasarabada is a Project Manager and Business Development Lead for Combined Heat & Power Solutions in the Power Generation Services group of Black & Veatch with work experience managing consulting engineering projects for clients in the power sector, renewable energy, energy intensive industries, distributed generation and water and wastewater treatment plants. Ajay has been with Black & Veatch for 17 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from India and a Masters in Environmental Engineering for Michigan State University. He is a licensed PE in Michigan and Massachusetts.

Location

Black and Veatch World Headquarters
11401 Lamar Avenue
Overland Park, KS 66211

NEARBY HOTELS:

Sheraton Overland Park Hotel at the Convention Center
Address: 6100 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS 66211
Phone:(913) 234-2100
0.2 miles to 11401 Lamar Ave,

Hilton Garden Inn Overland Park
Address: 5800 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS 66211
Phone:(913) 345-2661
0.3 miles to 11401 Lamar Ave,

Chase Suite Hotel Overland Park
Address: 6300 W 110th St, Overland Park, KS 66211
Phone:(913) 491-3333
0.3 miles to 11401 Lamar Ave

Courtyard Kansas City Overland Park/Convention Center
Address: 11001 Woodson St, Overland Park, KS 66211
Phone:(913) 317-8500
0.4 miles to 11401 Lamar Ave,

Hyatt Place Kansas City/Overland Park/Metcalf
Address: 6801 W 112th St, Overland Park, KS 66211
Phone:(913) 451-2553
0.5 miles to 11401 Lamar Ave

Drury Inn & Suites Kansas City Overland Park
Address: 10963 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park, KS 66210
Phone:(913) 345-1500
0.6 miles to 11401 Lamar Ave

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