Fuel Quality Improves with an Industrial Fabric Covered Building
"We chose a tension fabric structure because we liked the technology," says Zick. "This building is a benefit to our business as there is less downtime to fuel quality."
Located 100 miles east of Pittsburgh, PA, the Colver Power Project is the largest independent power producer in Pennsylvania. The 102-megawatt project has been supplying electricity to the Pennsylvania Electric Company since 1995.
In 2006, a 160' wide by 260' long tension fabric structure was installed at the Colver Power Plant for the bulk storage and drying of coal. "The fabric building has worked as expected and has improved fuel quality," says Jeffrey Zick, Deputy General Manager, Inter-Power/AhlCon Partners. "The fuel is dryer and it burns more efficiently."
A front end loader is used to turn the coal, a process that used to take up to three days to have the coal dry enough to burn. "We chose a tension fabric structure because we liked the technology," says Zick. Available in widths from 18' to 160' to any length, fabric buildings provide clearspan space and are pre-engineered to meet structural requirements. "This fabric building is a benefit to our business as there is less downtime to improve fuel quality."
A conveyor system located at the end of the fabric structure transports the coal out of the building. Before the fabric covered building was used to dry the fuel, $8-$10 million was spent per year on propane to get the coal to burn as it was quite wet.
"The fabric building has drastically improved fuel quality and the tension fabric structure has paid for itself in six months," says Zick. With an availability greater than 98 percent, the Colver Power Plant is one of the most reliable producing generating plants of its type anywhere in the world.
The interior building span and clearances in the fabric covered building are superior to a conventional building. "The building is well-lit even on cloudy and rainy days," says Zick. "Once the foundation was complete, construction moved very quickly. We were very pleased with the foundation and erection teams." Engineered for temporary or permanent use, tension fabric structures can be expanded or relocated with relative ease and provide maximum free floor space for equipment and operations.
"The tension fabric
structure has drastically improved fuel quality and the fabric
building has paid for itself in six
Once the foundation was complete, construction moved very quickly.
The tension fabric structure includes mesh PVC ends providing excellent ventilation and air circulation.
The 160' wide by 260' long tension fabric structure is used for the storage and drying of coal.