What Your Fuel Supplier Doesn’t Want You to Know

by Henry Scheck – General Manager, Engineering & Technical Services, NAES Corporation

At NAES, we strive to treat our plant owners’ money as if it were our own. Since the fuel line item plays a major role in slimming down the owner’s wallet every year, we pay particular attention to it. While you and your plant team may have only minimal input into the unit price ($/mmBTU) your owner pays for gas or coal, you can exert considerable impact on the efficiency (heat rate) at which the fuel is converted into megawatt hours.

We as plant operators often tend to focus on major projects that we ought to recommend to the owner to improve performance. In the process, we overlook those less obvious areas such as thermal performance, where uncovering a few minor issues can go a long way toward improving annual returns. A ½ percent improvement in heat rate can yield an annual fuel savings of $250,000 at a typical NAES-operated combined cycle plant.

But there’s more than just fuel savings. Improving your heat rate usually increases your plant’s capacity; boosts your availability; reduces your emissions; and lowers your chemical, water and other variable costs. So let’s commit to giving our owners a bigger slice of the pie by taking a little bit from their fuel supplier’s revenues. Your client will love you for it.

In this issue of Technically Speaking, our engineering team gives you some ideas on how to get started with heat rate improvement and offers insight into other technical initiatives as well. Click on this Go-To Sheet for a current list of our experts, their skill sets and contact information. If you’d like to benchmark performance improvement projects your industry peers have done, or find where those missing thermal performance dollars are hidden – these are things we can help with.

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