Monday, February 9, 2009

Power Plant Boiler

So. I may take after my dad just a little bit.
You see, I work in an administrative capacity at the power plant.
But I really, really want to know what all that equipment I walk past does, and how it does it.

Luckily my boss' get a kick out of it and indulge me.

This is me inside a boiler.
A boiler is basically a huge room lined with metal tubes.

A huge room that they blow natural gas or fuel oil in and set on fire to produce heat greater than 2000 degrees that is.

Looking up at the ceiling, also lined with tubes.

This is the superheater.
Basically when the water in the tubes lining the room turns into steam it is fed into these pipes coiled inside the room for another four passes inside the inferno to superheat the steam.

This is what the superheater pipes should look like.

This is why I could walk inside the boiler without being burnt to a crisp.
For you see, these tubes can only get up to about 800 degrees before they burn.

But Carmen, you say, I thought that you said it gets upwards of 2000 degrees in there?

True, true, but usually the steam inside of the tubes takes the excess heat thus keeping the tubes at a chill below 800 degrees.

They are sending a sample of the tube out for analysis, but they think that a buildup occurred on these first pass tubes making it so that the heat didn't transfer correctly to the steam.
Pretty, huh?

This is the little door you get to climb through to get in.

That circle is how big the door used to be.
If you saw how footballplayerish our Maintenance Supervisor is you would be hysterically rolling on the floor with laughter right about now.

The steam drum.
This is at the top of the boiler.
This is where they separate the steam from any water that is left before it is sent to the superheater and then out to all of the campus buildings for heating and cooling purposes.

Mud drum.
This is at the bottom of the boiler.
This is where the water drains to and is sent out from into the tubes.
See all those circles? Those are the ends of the tubes.

This is my boss Pepper who gave me this lovely tour.
And whose coveralls I got to borrow (he is little like me).

Eventually the fumes make their way through the economizer and into the stack.

Pretty cool, huh?


Cathi said...

You my dear are me thirty years ago!!

Carmen said...

Hey, fun person to follow.

Anonymous said...

That looks like a chance of a lifetime to see the inner workings of a Saturated Steam system.
Here is a good diagram of how it works, (for those that don't quite understand why you would want to
make steam in the first place) and why you would want to superheat this steam to transfer more energy.

The photo of you in OVER SIZED coveralls, remind me of when you were little trying to fit in my insulated coveralls.
Have a great Valentines Day!
Love Ya,

Carmen said...

Yeah, that diagram helps for those who are visual, thanks Daddio. Your coveralls are huge on me...but I've always loved to wear them out to help hand you tools while you are wiring stuff. Love ya.

Jasmin Shakespeare said...

Wow, those boilers are so huge, I figured those will be filled up with thousands of gallons of water to boost more steam and charge the power plant. Though it's actually not easy to maintain its power, I'm sure the crew there does their best to keep the whole structure safe and more efficient.

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