At KRR ProStream we are glad to support our clients in any way that we can. When it's appropriate we extend that commitment beyond keeping their plant performing optimally, and do our bit to help promote the good works they perform in their own time.
With this mind, we would like to draw your attention to the fundraising activity of Dave Field, Maintenance Manager at Veolia's Birmingham ERF. Dave and eleven of his friends have recently completed a London to Paris cycle ride, a trip of nearly 300 miles undertaken in aid of the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charities.
These charities rely on the efforts of people like Dave to fund facilities, equipment, and research, providing the extras that make being in hospital a better experience for our young people. We are pleased to report that Dave and his friends smashed their fundraising target of £1,000, and the total money raised at the time of writing is a fantastic £2,385!
But, fundraising is still open. If you can spare a moment, please show your support for Dave and the Birmingham Children's Hospital by visiting their fundraising site and making a small donation. Thank you.
Click here to donate online.
We are delighted to announce that Derek Trussler, our Technical Manager, has recently been awarded the NEBOSH National General Certificate in Health and Safety.
Achieving NEBOSH certification requires the candidate to develop a detailed knowledge of health and safety management systems, from policy level through planning and audits, down to the precise measures needed to control a variety of hazards in the workplace. They must also demonstrate the ability to apply this knowledge in a practical setting by completing a live risk assessment in the company of an examiner.
We are very proud of Derek's achievement and we are sure that his newly acquired skills will help to give our clients confidence that all our operations always conform to the most rigourous standards of health and safety, having been assessed by a certifed in-house expert.
Well done, Derek!
Roberto Vogel, MD at KRR ProStream, comments on the apparent lack of policy direction at this high profile event.
At KRR ProStream, electricity generators are our core customers. Our services to conventional coal power plants and Energy from Waste (EfW) plants are aimed at increasing their efficiency, reducing their down time and helping them to generate more energy.
It was therefore with great interest that we attended The Economist's UK Energy Summit in London on 3rd May. The event played host to a number of high profile speakers, including senior representatives from government (Tim Yeo MP, Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee) and the CEOs of major energy suppliers such as EDF Energy, Scottish Power and E.ON. A variety of other influential organisations were also represented, including Ofgem, the National Grid, the Carbon Trust, The World Wildlife Fund and the Association for Energy Conservation.
- As a result of our attendance, we hoped to better understand a number of important issues facing the energy sector, namely:
- What is the future mix of power technologies in general (nuclear, on-shore wind, conventional coal power, etc)?
- What are the plans for developing biomass generation and co-combustion facilities? Fouling from biomass fuels is usually much more pronounced, especially when a plant has been converted from an alternative feedstock, and requirements for services such as ours will therefore increase proportionally.
- What role will Energy from Waste play? EfW plants form the traditional client base of KRR ProStream and this small niche has still has an important part to play in future energy security and base load provision.
- In a future reliant on less predictable energy sources, such as wind power and solar, what is the thinking of policy makers on the subject of smart grids and energy storage?
Of course, since the summit, the government has also released its Draft Energy Bill for consultation. Whilst the bill recognises the requirement for clearer policies and introduces a variety of measures to stimulate investment in the UK energy sector and create capacity, many important issues still remain unaddressed. We will consider the bill in more detail in a forthcoming update.
Our Impressions of the Summit
The overwhelming impression resulting from the summit was one of a lack of leadership from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and frustration on the part of the big energy suppliers. Industry players (naturally) pushed their own agendas, whilst Mr Yeo defended the government position without volunteering any clear statements on strategy. Unsurprisingly, shale gas was flagged as an important future resource, although increasing reliance on fossil fuels is clearly not compatible with a stated commitment to reduce green house gas emissions. The minister also expressed public regret at E.ON's decision to withdraw from the development of new nuclear capacity and side-stepped the issue of fuel poverty by proposing that people should earn more.
Anyone who was looking for leadership from the government was disappointed. Of course, the politicians managed to avoid negative headlines, which would have been unavoidable if any particular course of action was unveiled, but would it be asking for too much from an elected official to put his head above the parapet and be honest about our energy choices? This clarity at policy level is absolutely necessary to create an optimistic investment climate.
There are a number of issues, vital to the future of UK energy security, which were not covered or clarified by the summit.
The Energy Mix
We were hoping to find clarification on the projected energy mix and how our core clients (EfW and EfB operators), and by extension KRR ProStream, might contribute to future green house gas reduction and energy security measures. From our research, EfW currently contributes around 0 .4% to the total UK electricity supply. If biomass generation and industrial waste are counted then this figure rises to around 4 or 5 per cent. In the context of energy security and the need to increase base provision and stand-by capacity, this sector could make a valuable contribution.
Stand-by Capacity and Smart Grids
Increased reliance on unpredictable renewable sources begs the question: Should security of supply be achieved by having a large, rapid start-up stand-by capacity (gas turbines) or by developing our capacity for energy storage? A third solution is the smart grid, where supply and demand can be managed locally; for example, by switching off non-essential consumers for the duration of a low supply episode.
Generation Efficiency and Demand Reduction
Both the Energy Summit and the more recent Draft Energy Bill say very little about generation efficiency. The recent example of the turbine retrofit at Drax power station, where a turbine upgrade allowed for a 5% increase in generation, shows that there is considerable potential for optimisation within the existing system. It is also our opinion that increasing plant availability and efficiency (i.e. the proportion of time a plant is capable of delivering its full output) has the potential to deliver significant additional capacity.
Demand-side efficiency is another area where the lack of leadership can put energy plans at risk. The government must have the courage to put energy efficiency before "growth at any cost".
UK energy security is being placed in the hands of foreign investors, and the government is reliant on the mechanisms of the Draft Energy Bill to attract investment and help form a strategy. This is short sighted, and without clear direction there is a real danger that our future energy policy will be determined by the desires of these foreign investors, rather than by what is in our own best interests. If the government believes it has a weak mandate to settle on a clear direction, then there is the need for a national debate on this subject, and we will be happy to contribute. Just drifting is not a solution.
As part of a recent visit to Germany, KRR ProStream personnel have received comprehensive training on the deployment of JNW's mobile heat exchanger cleaning technology at chemical plants.
As a result, the KRR ProStream team are now fully equipped with the knowledge and skills to deliver this service at UK chemical plants, giving operators an economical and highly effective option for keeping their Air Cooled Condensers (ACC) running at peak efficiency.
The training was delivered by JNW, the creators of the technology, during two live cleaning projects at chemical plants near Köln. Following the completion of the training, the KRR ProStream team brought a complete set of mobile ACC cleaning equipment back to the UK. This equipment can be set up in just a couple of hours to provide a complete, automated, high pressure clean of an ACC. Fin bundles are untouched by anything except water and no detergent it used, but the results far surpass anything that can be achieved by manual methods.
Please visit this page for more information on the benefits of mobile online heat exchanger cleaning and to watch videos of the system in action.
You can also download the relevant brochure or contact us to discuss the heat exchanger/ACC cleaning requirements at your plant.
Robin Buller, responsible for business development strategy at KRR ProStream, delivered a presentation entitled Maintaining Optimal Performance in Power Generating Plant at Maintec 2012. Robin's talk took place on 29th February in the LearnShop 1 zone of the event.
In his presentation, Robin discussed the cycle of analysis and activity which KRR ProStream adopts in order to help power plant operators maintain optimal generating performance. This included an insight into the various parameters that should be monitored in the different areas of a plant and an overview of the indications and trends that can be used to determine when intervention is required. The different cleaning technologies employed will also be explained, together with real life examples of the performance improvements that can be delivered through their use.
In addition to presenting at the event, KRR ProStream also exhibited on Stand C13. A number of online cleaning and inspection technologies were available for visitors to view, including the KRR View High Temperature Inspection Camera and mobile monitor/recording station, KRR Online Heat Exchanger Cleaning equipment, and some 'before-and-after' examples of baghouse filters that have undergone the KRR Online Filter Bag Cleaning process.
Following the event, Robin said:
'All the services that KRR ProStream provides are focused on increasing availability and optimising energy production in power generating plant. Continuously monitoring performance is essential if this is to be achieved, and timely intervention with suitable cleaning technologies is always more cost-effective than allowing things to deteriorate to the level where a full shut down is required.
'Maintec was an excellent opportunity to explain how we analyse various key aspects of plant operations, and the cleaning technologies that we employ to restore lost performance were to view on our stand. We felt that the event was a great success and I hope that our contribution was interesting and informative for all attendees with a professional interest in the efficiency of power generating plant.'