Magazines name two Boilermaker-worked projects best of 2014

Boundary Dam, Ivanpah receive international honors

ENERGY INDUSTRY MAGAZINES Power Engineering and Renewable Energy World have chosen two projects worked by Boilermakers as “projects of the year” for 2014. The SaskPower Boundary Dam carbon capture and storage project won in the coal category; Ivanpah solar thermal took the top honor in the renewables category. Both projects were featured previously in the Reporter.

Local 555, with members in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and western Ontario, along with Canadian traveling Boilermakers from across the country, worked the $1.2 billion Boundary Dam CCS retrofit, joined by other trades. Boilermakers rebuilt the Unit 3 boiler; lifted and set pressure vessels, including the absorbers and strippers; and assembled the extensive ductwork needed to carry the flue gas through the capture process.

Contractors included Babcock & Wilcox (boiler rebuild), SNC-Lavalin (carbon capture system), BFI (ductwork), ES Fox (process equipment) and a joint venture of Alberici and Balzer’s Canada Inc. (turbine replacement).

The project is expected to remove 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from Unit 3 using a post-combustion amine absorption process. Most of the captured CO2 is being shipped 41 miles to oilfields for enhanced oil recovery.

The Boundary Dam project also made National Geographic’s list of “10 Energy Breakthroughs of 2014 that could change your life.”

Joe Maloney, International Vice President for Canada, stated, “This is an especially proud moment for Canadian Boilermakers. Building the world’s first utility-scale CCS system is a monumental achievement not only for our members but hopefully for the future of our climate.”

Local 555 BM-ST Emile Gareau agreed, adding, “We are excited to have been part of this project, which stretches the limits of technology for a cleaner environment. Boundary Dam has a special significance for Boilermakers, because it’s an important step toward the continued use of coal in the boilers we build and maintain.”

Desert project features “inside-out” boilers

BOILERMAKERS FROM LOCAL 92 (Los Angeles) and sister locals, along with other crafts, constructed the $2.2 billion, 392-MW Ivanpah solar thermal project. Developed by BrightSource Energy, the facility provides power to PG&E and Southern California Edison.

Work was performed under a project labor agreement between Bechtel and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California and the Building & Construction Trades Council of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.

Each of the project’s three 459-foot towers supports a boiler with the water tube walls on the exterior — opposite of how boilers are constructed in coal- and oil-fired power plants. This is because the energy source comes from the outside. Concentric circles of mirrors called “heliostats” reflect sunlight onto the boiler tube walls, heating them to about 1,000 degrees F. to create superheated steam.

Boilermakers constructed the boilers and erected the water storage tanks and air-cooled condenser units that recover water from spent steam.

Ivanpah also was named Project of the Year by Power Magazine in August 2014.

“In addition to some ingenious engineering, Ivanpah succeeded as a project because of the elite skills and dedication of Boilermakers and other union trades,” said Tom Baca, International Vice President for the Western States. “We are extraordinarily proud of the work our members did on this job.”