The John B. Rich Memorial Power Station, located in the United States, is an 88.4 MW cogeneration power plant that has a unique relationship with its surrounding environment. The power station makes use of a plentiful and local byproduct of coal mining, called culm, as a feedstock. Culm is a low energy combination of anthracite coal, ash, and rock left over from the inefficient removal of rock from usable coal in the peak days of coal mining. For decades, culm deposits have leached pollution into groundwater and inhibited normal plant growth. By using culm, the power station removes a significant pollutant and eyesore from the area. Further, the power station is involved in a land reclamation program that covers land cleared of culm with topsoil and plant life. In order to process the culm, the power station utilizes two circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boilers. The current research uses actual plant data to explore the thermodynamic performance of the plant and discuss the environmental implications of the unique fuel choice. The current plant thermodynamic performance is compared to proposed plant improvement scenarios including the introduction of turbine reheat, an increased production of process steam, and an initial examination of optimal plant load scenarios. The plant thermodynamic model is created in MatlabTM using about eight months worth of hourly data samples from the plant. Overall, 79 of the thousands of sensors through the plant are used to provide temperature, pressure, and flow rate data. The first and second laws of thermodynamics are used to analyze the plant components, including the boilers, turbine, feedwater heaters, and condenser. The thermodynamic analyses are performed in part to determine properties through the plant, mainly mass flow rates that are not recorded during plant operation, and in part to characterize plant performance. Before the exergy analysis of the boilers can be performed, the streams into and out of each boiler must be characterized in terms of composition, mass, and exergy. Although the energy content of the culm is regularly measured by the power station, the exergy content must be determined based on the culm composition, which is provided by the plant. The exergy content of the flue gas is also determined based on the culm composition. Finally, the environmental impact of the plant is discussed. A number of upstream processes, such as culm transport and water demineralization, are examined and compared to the same values for a traditional coal fired plant and a wind farm. The use of land for the cogeneration plant is discussed and compared to the land use with the other two power conversion processes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Cogeneration of electric power and heat--Environmental aspects; Thermodynamics--Mathematical models

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)


Kolodziej, Jason

Advisor/Committee Member

Thorn, Brian

Advisor/Committee Member

Stevens, Robert


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