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Design of Electric Power Stations

Nature volume 143, page 634 (15 April 1939) | Download Citation



AN important paper by F. W. Lawton was read to the Institution of Electrical Engineers on March 9 dealing with the design of Hams Hall power station at Birmingham, designed twelve years ago, and with a new Hams Hall power station B which will be constructed shortly for the same purpose and on a neighbouring site. The author stresses the point that from the time when the calculations for a proposed power station are made until it is completed and running on a commercial load, several years may have elapsed and great changes may have occurred. For example, the average price of the coal used in the furnaces is now 17s. per ton as against 9s. 6d. in 1935. In designing the new station it was reasonable to consider which features of the old station should be repeated and which rejected in the new station built twelve years afterwards. During this time coal prices have increased, high voltages have become normal and the progress made in metallurgy has made much higher steam temperatures feasible. All these changes call for modification in the designs if the best efficiency and economy are to be obtained. As regards the general lay-out, the simplicity and uniformity of the existing station will be repeated. There is a single row of boilers parallel to a single end-on row of turbo alternators. Electrostatic flue-gas cleaning plant will be retained. The absence of architectural adornment of the new buildings will be more rigorously enforced. Air raid precautions insist that there must be no roof lights or external windows to basements. For economic reasons the superstructure will be made of ferro-concrete instead of structural steel. Turbo-alternators of 50,000 kw. capacity each will again be used in the new station, but they will generate at 33,000 volts instead of at 11,000 volts as in the present station. A true understanding of what is real economy is obscured by the ever-changing technology of power production, by the difficulties of accurately forecasting operating conditions many years ahead, and by reactions of local trade developments.

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