“Introduction to Large Thermal Power Generation Plants,” Williamson’s third, unique 3-day, introductory course that explains how energy is created through a combination of classroom instruction and the rare opportunity to tour five power plants, was held July 17-19 in Williamson’s Rowan Hall dining room.
The continuing education course was designed for the general public as well as power industry professionals and focused on large, field-erected steam generators with a 500,000 to 7 million pounds per hour steam-generation rating. Students earned 16 Professional Development Hours.
Power plant tours included Williamson’s Energy Island; Exelon Power’s Eddystone Generating Station; Logan Generating Plant, a coal-fired power station in Swedesboro, NJ; Liberty Power Station operated by Dynegy; and Marcus Hook Energy Center.
Williamson offered the course because it is known as industry’s “Workforce Development Partner” and has been producing graduates for 130 years that have reached the top tier of energy and electric production companies across the U.S., said lead instructor Richard Storm, PE, 6W2, a Williamson trustee and retired president of Storm Technologies, Inc.
Storm said, “Our intention was to find a full class of persons interested in thermal power generation and then do our best to compress three years of the Williamson power generation course into three days. We had a full class of 20 students and a terrific team of five instructors: Scott Chilman, Williamson’s director of power plant technology; Tom Reilly 7W8, president, TJR Technical Services; Kevin Hatch 0W8, shift supervisor, System Operations, at PJM Interconnection; Stacy Starr 6W8, a retired senior technical service engineer at Sunoco; and myself. President Michael Rounds, who is a Registered Professional Engineer and has taught thermodynamics at West Point, provided input on thermodynamics.
“The four off-campus plant tours were fantastic with informative presentations by the staffs at each plant. By the end of the three full days, we had covered the steam power cycle, gas turbine power, coal combustion, natural gas and oil combustion, water treatment [can’t make steam without pure water!], maintenance, metallurgy, challenges of competitive generation, and how PJM Interconnection dispatches the lowest cost power generation plants and maintains grid reliability at the same time.
“Also included was a demonstration of the operation and synchronizing of Williamson’s CAT 450 kW standby electric generator (SEG),” he said.
“At each plant, we discussed plant operations and maintenance issues. One of my favorite stories was how the Logan coal plant handled the problem of pigeons making a mess of the plant. The plant staff built a nest for Peregrine Falcons and let nature take its course. The Logan plant has its own Wild Kingdom on the New Jersey side of the river —an unexpected wildlife sanctuary.
Storm added, “I was very pleased with the program and hope all of the participants went home with the complete satisfaction that their goals for the course were achieved.”