IFC’s steam turbine generator creates power
Wever plant able to save on electricity with internal equipment.
By REX L. TROUTE Oct 30, 2016
WEVER — Darrell Allman, site manager of the Iowa Fertilizer Co. plant near Wever, compared the facility’s modern steam turbine generator to a summer fan sitting idle in a home’s window. A breeze from the outside makes the fan’s blade turn.
With IFC’s steam turbine generator it is steam captured within the plant that turns the generator’s 5-foot blades at 4,520 revolutions per minute and produces electricity for the facility’s use. The rotor has eight stages (wheels) and approximately 812 blades.
The Dresser-Rand plant in the Flint Ridge Business Park received the order for the steam turbine generator in early 2013, and delivered it with a wide-load truck in late 2014. The turbine weighs 80,000 pounds and the generator weighs 110,050 pounds.
The steam turbine generator is designed to capture 90 tons of excess steam every hour to produce 20 megawatts of electricity.
The 28,000-horsepower turbine creates enough electricity to power 40 percent of Iowa Fertilizer’s operations.
“It goes right into the power cables immediately,” Allman said.
None of the electricity is stored or sent to Alliant Energy’s grid.
“We won’t sell anything to the grid,” Allman said.
Through the process of using steam to make electricity, the plant can recycle about 600,000 gallons of water per day.
“The water goes through some filtration, called polishing,” Allman said.
The turbine has not been tested, but will when the plant gets up and running in mid-November. It takes several weeks to get the plant fully operational.
Natural gas is used to manufacture the plant’s main three products. The natural gas is converted to hydrogen and eventually steam, which is sent on to the steam turbine generator.
Plant getting close
Iowa Fertilizer Co.’s goal is to manufacture product in December. The plant makes urea, ammonia and UAN, and can produce all three products simultaneously on different lines.
“The production mix will stay the same,” Allman said. “We have the ability to move with the markets.”
The plant will undergo plenty of testing before it makes product. Each individual piece of equipment will get tested, along with each production unit. Everything gets tested for capacity, efficiency and reliability.
Within the manufacturing process, “Energy per ton of ammonia really drives the efficiency of the other products,” Allman said.
Once production starts in December, further tests will be done in January and February. During that period, companies and contractors working on the plant will sign off on their formal paperwork and production will go full bore.
Iowa Fertilizer’s main customers are in Illinois and Indiana, and expects 300 trucks to haul products out of the plant next spring, many of which will travel up U.S. 61 to Burlington before heading east.
This winter, Allman expects 150 to 200 trucks to haul product out of the plant.
Companies and contractors still have 2,400 workers on the site, including Iowa Fertilizer’s 200 permanent employees.
“We’ll start seeing a tail off in mid-November,” said Allman of the temporary workers.