Power station - analysis

Discussion in 'Homework Help' started by KevinEamon, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. KevinEamon

    Thread Starter Member

    Apr 9, 2017
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    Hey guys. Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays.
    I've been set this assignment by my lecturer.

    "choose an existing power generation system, ii) analyse the thermodynamics of power generation of the system under analysis, ii) collect technical data about the power plant electricity generation (e.g. yearly electricity output, average efficiency, fuel consumption, number of operating hours) and iii) comment on the best strategy the power generator should adopt to sell the electricity in the electricity market."

    I'm going to start researching tomorrow. Just thought I would post up the thread, see if anyone could point me in the general direction. Obviously my main problem at the minute will be to try and find the tech data on a random power station. Any other suggestions or pointers, would be welcome.
     
  2. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    Contact a few power stations, ask to speak to one of the engineers, explain that you are doing a school project and the kind of data you need, and then offer to send them a copy of your report if they would like it. There's a good chance that you will find someone pretty quickly that will put you in touch with someone that is willing to give you the data. It's possible that someone at some plants might feel that some of the data is proprietary and would give the competition an unfair advantage if they got a hold of it, but in most places power plants really don't have any competition. Plus, depending on where you are, most of it is probably publicly available and it's quite possible that they will simply refer you to some annual report.
     
  3. KevinEamon

    Thread Starter Member

    Apr 9, 2017
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    Ok I was hopeful that, this type of data would be available publicly. I'll start with emailing a few engineers. Thanks Wbahn
     
  4. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    Given the sensitivity of the power grid to attack, I would be surprised if they would volunteer any information. On the other hand it only takes one set of loose lips to sink ships.
     
  5. WBahn

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    I seriously doubt that they would see stuff like their yearly output, number of operating hours, and average fuel consumption as information someone could leverage to carry out an attack on the power grid. And they can always say, "No." In most places in the U.S., most of that information is publicly available because most utilities are regulated monopolies and/or as publicly traded entities.
     
  6. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    Do you really think any of that matters? Who is going to decide? The easiest thing to do is ignore all such requests.
     
  7. WBahn

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    Mar 31, 2012
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    So what if they do ignore it? What harm is done by calling and asking? The worst they can do is tell him that they don't release that information. But if they DO (and I think there is a good chance that they will), then he has the information he needs to proceed with his project.

    I have found that companies, large and small, are generally quite willing to share information with students (or even just interested parties) unless there is a specific reason not to. In fact, large companies have these things call "public relations" offices whose job it is to make nice with the public and, in many organizations, it requires someone pretty high up to nix a request coming from the PR folks.

    Just a few years ago I was interested in volume and sales information regarding 8-bit microcontrollers just as throwaway background info for a computer architecture course I was teaching. I e-mailed the PR office at Microchip and a couple days later I got an e-mail back with contact information for the manager overseeing all those product lines. I called and they were quite helpful, even though she lumped things together in a way that didn't quite match what I was looking for. When I asked for more specifics, she gave me some, but also stated that she didn't want to break it out much more because then it would be getting into a level of detail that their competitors could find useful.

    For technical information, I prefer trying to get in touch with a technical person as quickly as possible. Many years ago I contacted McDonnell Douglas trying to get some information about the boot-strap heat exchanger on the F-15 for a project in my Statistical Thermodynamics course. After about three phone transfers I was speaking with the head of the F-15 team and he sent me more than I could have wished for, including the blue prints for the entire A/C system and several internal papers that had been written on the system.

    One day I was interested in how the power grid was kept in sync with UTC time, so I just called the local power plant. They transferred me to the chief engineer of the larger plants here in Colorado who went into great depth telling me about how they manage it, including how time factor correction orders were received many times a day from the master system at Southern California Edison (IIRC) and what they consist of and also what happens when the error gets too large (about two seconds) for them to bring back in line.

    Yes, things aren't a freely available in a post-9/11 world, but there is still a wealth of information out there that companies are more than willing to share just to generate goodwill with the public.
     
  8. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    Whatever happens, I'd be interested in hearing about his experiences.
     
  9. KevinEamon

    Thread Starter Member

    Apr 9, 2017
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    Well my experiences so far haven't been great. I spoke to an engineer yesterday who promised me the world. My inbox is as empty as the space between the nucleus and the electron. :(

    I need to be getting on with this now. I hadn't factored the fact, that this information was not publically available. My time is quickly running out.

    Guys could anyone with knowledge in area... ahhhhammm.... make up some reasonable stats? I'll change the information if I manage to get the real info
     
  10. WBahn

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    Mar 31, 2012
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    Don't be too discouraged by that. Remember, they are busy doing things for the people paying them. So pulling together the stuff for you and getting it off to you is definitely a low priority. Give it a few days, if possible, and then gently ping them.
     
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  11. KevinEamon

    Thread Starter Member

    Apr 9, 2017
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    Yeh you're probably right... as usual Wbahn lul...

    I've a calculus exam on Friday anyways, so I should probably be getting on with that. Getting pretty nifty with the old calculus. I think I might be starting to enjoy it a lil. Is that weird?

    :D
     
  12. KevinEamon

    Thread Starter Member

    Apr 9, 2017
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    2
    Hey guys... bit of an update. I received some information from the engineer. There was little direct data but i was able to piece information together, from relationships and a little intuition. I'm struggling with this section at the end however. "Comment on the best strategy the power plant should adopt. "

    What am I ? a freaking economist. What the heck? Lul

    Any ideas how I should proceed with this? A general kick in the right direction should be fine
     
  13. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    I don't know what kind of answer they are looking for. Given what they are asking you to look at in the first two parts, it seems quite a stretch to expect much for the third. I would seem like the information needed to put anything reasonable together for that last part is primarily beyond the information gathered. Any strategy to sell something in any market requires information about the market, not just basic information about the product being sold. For instance, in an electricity market factors relating to basic supply/demand relationships in the market such as whether there is a need for peak power generation or if the need is more in terms of baseline generation. Then whether the plant in question is better suited to meeting on-demand peak needs or baseline generation, which the data gathered seems unlikely to address.

    About all I can suggest is to brainstorm as many major factors as you can think of, try to identify the information you would need to gather, and then propose some options that might be considered based on what that information might yield.
     
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  14. KevinEamon

    Thread Starter Member

    Apr 9, 2017
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    Cheers Wbahn will do. I think I'm going to need to apply for a extension on this, it's not so much difficult as it is...

    The word "Fithilfathal" springs to mind :D
     
  15. KevinEamon

    Thread Starter Member

    Apr 9, 2017
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    Guys am I correct in saying a CCGT needs to be considered, using both a Rankine and Brayton cycle? Or is there like some special dual diagram?
     
  16. BR-549

    Distinguished Member

    Sep 22, 2013
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    If I were you, I would contact the public relations office for several generation companies. They should have your requested information......in a presentation form.

    The power companies that I have worked for.......brag on that kind of information. And it is public. Your assignment is being done all the time. It justifies rate increases.

    The industry has associations and there is the energy department.

    Compare the price to the source. Coal, gas, oil, dam, nuclear, wind, sun and so forth.
     
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  17. KevinEamon

    Thread Starter Member

    Apr 9, 2017
    85
    2
    She's all over bar the final shots :D Thank the Lord. Nightmare of a thing.
     
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