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The Heat Is On When It Comes to Building Coal-Fired Power Plants

The future of coal-fired electricity in the U.S. may be on the line right now in Kansas

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POWERING THE MIDWEST

The Holcomb electrical substation, located south of the power plant. The major lines connect from here to Amarillo, Tex., Wichita, Kans., and locations in Nebraska.....[ More ]

COAL FAIL-SAFE

Holcomb's central control room was computerized in spring 2006. One mechanical trip-circuit (not in view) remains as a fail-safe: It allows operators to directly stop coal from entering the furnace, and immediately cuts off all steam to the turbine.....[ More ]

SUNFLOWER'S BRASS

Kyle Nelson, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Sunflower Electric Power Corp.....[ More ]

SCREENING THE COAL

Coal pulverizers; the plant has five in total. Once run through a pulverizer, 95 percent of the coal granules are no bigger than 74 microns (one micron equals about 40 millionths of an inch) in diameter, fine enough to pass through a 200-mesh screen—a screen with two hundred openings per square inch (6.5 square centimeters).....[ More ]

BURNER DECKS

Four burners on one of Holcomb Station's five burner decks. There are five burners per deck, for a total of 25.....[ More ]

COAL BY THE NUMBERS

Nameplate attached to the turbine and generator unit.....[ More ]

A TALL POWER ORDER

Holcomb Station's steam turbine and power generator. This main generator set weights a little over 1,000 tons. The turbine is about 15 feet (4.5 meters) high; the turbine building it sits in is 105 feet (32 meters) tall.....[ More ]

A LOOK INTO A BURNER, DARKLY

Looking into one of 25 burners thorough a protective filter mask.  The plant's burners consume over 1.5 million tons of coal a year, mined from Wyoming's Powder River Basin and shipped to Holcomb Station via rail.....[ More ]

WHAT THINGS LOOK LIKE FOR NOW

Steam evaporates from the Holcomb plant's cooling towers, to the east of the main boiler building. The proposed coal-fired power plant would be sited in the very near foreground, right next to the current plant, with its cooling towers located to the left of the current tower.....[ More ]

SELF-POWERED

Service transformers on the Holcomb power plant's exterior. In the foreground are station service transformers, which draw power off the grid and step it down to provide electricity for the plant's own operations.....[ More ]

BIRD'S-EYE VIEW

Looking to the west from the roof of the Holcomb coal-fired power plant's main boiler building. To the left: the fuel unloading and storage system—a conical active pile of coal, the coal-crusher house, and intake chute.....[ More ]

A BIG STACK

Holcomb's main stack rises 474 feet (144.5 meters) into the air, north of the main boiler building. It is flanked by emissions-control measures: In the dry-scrubber building in the foreground, coal combustion exhaust is sprayed with a quicklime slurry, creating calcium sulfate (CaSO4) particulates that can be caught, along with coal ash, in the two fabric-filter baghouses.....[ More ]

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