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Rendering of the ARES energy storage project [/caption]

Economical energy storage Most energy storage solutions are expensive prototypes that have yet to prove themselves in the marketplace. Batteries, pumped hydroelectric and compressed air are a few of the options being investigated. But none has emerged as the best way to store surplus energy produced by more and more renewables coming onto the grid.

Advanced Rail Energy Storage (ARES), on the other hand, is a mode of energy storage that requires a lot of rocks, a few railcars and some tracks. A 5.5-mile track on a Nevada hillside is being set up to demonstrate this low-tech approach to energy storage. By 2019, the facility will occupy 106 acres in Pahrump, Nevada. By running a train up and down a hill, ARES can help utilities add to and subtract from the grid as needed. This 19th century solution to a 21st century problem is based on gravity. When the local utility has surplus electricity, it powers up the electric motors that drag 9,600 tons of rock- and concrete-filled railcars up a 2,000- foot hill. When it has a deficit, those cars come back down, and its motors generate electricity via regenerative braking. Effectively, the energy used to move the train up the hill is stored, and recouped when it comes back down.

A shorter demonstration version already exists in California. Pahrump’s $55 million energy storage system will have a power capacity of 50 MW and can produce 12.5 megawatt-hours of energy.

Mass flow controller

Alicat Scientific has expanded its Basis line of mass flow controllers, adding a new 20SLPM model to fit a wider range of applications including sparging into liquids, sample dilution and gas mixing applications. It is designed for original equipment manufacture and process integration, Basis is Alicat’s smallest footprint instrument, providing control of gas flow rates. Suitable for use in gas analyzers, automated gas mixing on process lines, and anywhere basic mass flow-only control is required, the Basis family offers models with full scale at 100 cubic centimeters per minute, 1 liter, and 20 liters per minute. Basis is available with the following multigas calibrations: Air, Ar, CO2, N2, O2, N2O (selectable over serial connection); He, H2 are also available in single-gas units.

Allen-Bradley controller

The new Allen-Bradley CompactLogix 5380 controller from Rockwell Automation is said to provide more precision, connectivity and up to 20% more application capacity than previous CompactLogix versions. Suitable for high-speed applications with up to 20 axes of motion, the CompactLogix 5380 controller brings the benefits of the high-performance Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture portfolio into the CompactLogix size. When combined with the Allen- Bradley Bulletin 5069 Compact I/O system, scheduled outputs improve I/O response time to as fast as 0.2 milliseconds. Event triggers from the I/O modules provide near-instantaneous task execution.

Thermal fluid flow simulation

SoftInWay has announced a new module called Net for thermal fluid flow simulation and its application to gas turbine secondary and cooling systems analysis & design. Since 2005, when the AxSTREAM platform was first released for design, analysis and optimization of turbomachinery flow path, the company has been adding features. This latest module addresses the challenge of modelling cooled GTs and other cooling flows, especially in an integrated fashion that takes into account the full aerodynamics of the components as well as the thermodynamics of the cycle. Net provides a flexible approach to solving these challenges by representing thermal fluid systems through networks of nodes and flow elements. This allows simulation of fluid flow and heat transfer inside of the thermal fluid systems. Applications go beyond GT blade cooling systems, to include ST secondary flow systems, industrial gas systems and ventilation systems.

Rigid shaft couplings

Custom engineered and manufactured rigid shaft couplings that can be modified to solve a wide range of design and load handling issues are being introduced by Stafford Manufacturing Corp. They can be manufactured in 1-pc, 2-pc, and 3-pc designs from steel, stainless steel, and aluminum with various bores. Featuring axial and annular keyways to transmit torque while retaining lateral motion, their dual-keyed couplings are suited for use with unsupported shafts. They can incorporate different sized round, square, and hexagonal bores for the step-up or -down mating of unequal unsupported shafts and include mounting flanges.

TURBOdesign Suite

Advanced Design Technology’s (ADT) TURBOdesign Suite version 6.1 is now shipping. This version of the company’s three-dimensional (3D) inverse design technology software allows users to design, analyze and optimize all types of turbomachinery, such as axial, mixed-flow, or centrifugal pumps, compressors, fans, turbines and torque converters. Users can evaluate turbomachinery package size and performance predictions, perform 3D blade design with 3D inverse design capabilities, analyze flow information per component, stage performances with turbomachinery specific 3D computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and automate exploration of the design space with automatic optimization capabilities. In TURBOdesign Suite 6.1 mean-line design capabilities are extended to real gases for centrifugal compressor and radial turbine. This new capability enables designers to rapidly size compressor and turbines for real gases, such as new refrigerants used in chiller applications, Organic Rankine Cycle applications or supercritical CO2 applications.

Foxboro flowmeter


New Foxboro MagPLUS Magnetic Flowmeters from Schneider Electric are said to provide reliable and flexible flow metering for water and wastewater, and food and beverage applications. With a range of flow tube sizes and an array of transmitter configurations, the MagPLUS flowmeter offers bi-directional metering of fluids, from beverages and processed foods to potable water, industrial water and wastewater. MagPLUS magnetic flowmeters have a flow tube which can accept any of three interchangeable Foxboro magnetic transmitters: models IMT30A, IMT31A, or IMT33A, coupled with model 9500A or 9600A flow tubes. These transmitter options enable users to choose from a range of feature sets, metering accuracies, input/output options, and calibration/testing capabilities with integrated continuous diagnostics. A selection of three housing versions enables users to mount transmitters directly to the flow tube at 0° or 45° angles, or remotely in wall- or field-mount configurations. Schneider Electric has also launched a Foxboro Smart pH Sensor and Transmitter that combines a rugged polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) body with enhanced smart capabilities. Using Smart Sensor technology, the device can be calibrated at any time against a standard or reference transmitter, or laptop PC, in the instrument shop. The calibration parameters are then stored in an onboard memory chip. When performing a field calibration, operators take the pre-calibrated Smart Sensor to the field, connect it to the transmitter, and allow the transmitter to upload the calibration parameters.

Rotor-stator rub

Rotor-stator rub has become a common phenomenon in steam turbines due to clearances in flow paths becoming smaller. In the first phase there are seals arranged between the rotating and stationary parts of the turbines that are abraded, and, as a result, the amount of leaking medium increases and the turbine efficiency decreases. Accordingly, Doosan Skoda Power together with DiagEn Laboratory developed a monitoring system for online rotor-stator rub detection and localization. RAMS (Rub Advanced Monitoring System) functionality is based on the fact that apart from the change of the vector of the first harmonic component of the vibration signals, the rub is also accompanied by formation of sub-synchronous spectral components whose frequencies correspond to a number of impacts of the rotor to the stator per a rotation period. This system makes it possible to detect risky or unsafe operating conditions of steam turbines and, consequently, reveal the causes of these conditions. It has been implemented on 13 steam turbines and two gas turbines where it managed to detect the rub and localize the place of the rub origin.

Corrosion resistance

Cortec VpCIs offer a range of options for reducing manufacturing costs and corrosion. In the case of VpCI-371, Cortec’s protection rivals the corrosion resistance of stainless steel while reducing material costs. VpCI-371 is a high temperature aluminum solvent-borne silicone coating that provides corrosion resistance on metal substrates. It will dry tack free to 5B hardness in about 20 minutes at room temperature and achieve 9H hardness after heating. This coating is heat stable to 1,200°F with prolonged heat resistance from 400-1,200°F.

Compact control system

A compact and fast CPU smart control system which combines a PLC, digital and analog input/output channels along with additional channels and functions is the latest product to be introduced by Yaskawa. The Slio Compact CPU 013C is based on integrated Speed 7 technology with a 7100DEV processor to ensure fast processing.

Hazardous duty brakes

MagnaShear hazardous duty brakes from Force Control Industries employ oil shear technology to provide longer service life. This meets Class I and Class II Div 2 specifications. With spring set torque ratings from 3 to 900 foot-pounds available, these motor brakes can be sized to the correct torque independent of the motor frame size or horsepower. They also feature quick-mount features for quick-to-drive motors in NEMA frame sizes 56 to 405. They are enclosed from outside contaminants with seal integrity for harsh and washdown environments. Oil shear technology transmits torque between lubricated surfaces, eliminating wear on friction surfaces. A fluid recirculation system dissipates heat.

Dissolved gas analysis

Power transformers are critical in the energy generation and transmission, but also one of the key vulnerabilities. This is because any transformer downtime can lead to financial losses and energy shortfalls. Repairs and replacements can take months. Efficient condition monitoring is one means of mitigating the risk of transformer downtime. Real-time monitoring of the dissolved gas content in transformer insulation oil allows a utility to diagnose emerging faults quickly and reliably, and better plan maintenance activities. The Vaisala Optimus DGA Monitor for Transformers does not give false alarms. It carries an IR sensor based on core measurement technology and components manufactured in an in-house cleanroom. It uses vacuum gas extraction, which gives a representative sample and no data fluctuation due to oil temperature, pressure, or type. Hermetically sealed and protected optics prevent sensor contamination, and long-term drift is eliminated with auto-calibration functionality. It is designed to be installed in less than two hours.

Vacuum system

The 200th vacuum system type RT manufactured by MAN Diesel & Turbo is to be used for dewatering in paperboard production. A South Korean paperboard manufacturer will replace ten old water ring vacuum pumps with two of these single-stage vacuum blowers. They are installed at the former and press section at which the system dewaters the paper by vacuum. MAN’s machines handle volume flow rates between 180 and 2,800 m³/min at up to 75 kPa. By using radial flow impellers, these vacuum blowers have a lower absorbed energy consumption compared with conventional systems since there is no frictional loss caused by water rings. Furthermore, the Turbair vacuum blowers discharge clean air at high temperature, and this heat can be recuperated and reused in the energy cycle.

Modular fuel gas booster

MAN Diesel & Turbo has developed a modular fuel gas booster with an integrally geared design following the API 617 and its maintenance-free design requirements. Such machines include requirements for safe operations and high availability. They range from single-stage up to six-stage design and include Tandem dry gas seal technology. According to market and specific project requirements, these compressors are delivered with black-box systems including controls for the compressors itself, as well as the cooling system. The performance control of the compressor can be done by adjustable Inlet Guide Vanes (IGV), Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) or by Suction Pressure Regulation Valve (SPRV). These fuel gas boosting systems are automatically controlled by Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), meaning an intensified communication with the superior Distributed Control System (DCS) of the power plant itself.