Hanson Pressure Pipe Helps Cool Advanced Power Plant In Mexico

Grand Prairie, Texas-based Hanson Pressure Pipe, a division of Hanson Building Products North America, has been tapped by Mexico’s Federal Commission

Grand Prairie, Texas-based Hanson Pressure Pipe, a division of Hanson Building Products North America, has been tapped by Mexico’s Federal Commission of Electricity (CFE) to supply concrete pressure pipe for the country’s first supercritical-pressure, coal-fired power plant. Generating 700 megawatts of electricity from CFE’s Pacifico power station in Lazaro Cardenas, the estimated $1 billion project will serve as one of the largest power plants in Mexico.

A significant role in the design and production of the facility’s water-cooling pipe system, requiring 200-plus discrete pipe and fitting sections, was assigned to Hanson Pressure Pipe by Techint of Italy and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), under contract to CFE. Among the variety of pipe sizes needed for the system, the largest Û ranging to 144-in. diameter Û is matched by only a few of the world’s most massive plant projects.

Since the facility is located in a highly active seismic area, the circulating water pipe was necessarily designed to withstand significant vertical loads and lateral movements imposed on the pipe during a seismic event. Accordingly, an extensive seismic-design analysis managed by Hanson was performed on the piping system Û a procedure not routine to the industry and a difficult task in view of the exceptionally large pipe dimensions.

We came into this project ready for the challenge, expecting that it would require the most sophisticated design and engineering services in a short time frame, reports Richard Manning, president of Hanson Building Products North America. Knowing how to apply the effect of seismic conditions allowed us to expand our participation.

Hanson Pressure Pipe’s contribution to the project also included formulating and executing transportation plans for the 1,200-mile shipment of large-diameter pipe from Hattiesburg, Miss., to Lazaro Cardenas. The resulting arrangements accounted for time-sensitive needs, ensuring that components reached their destination in a sequence conducive to the site’s installation schedule. More than 200 truckloads, the majority loaded with oversized pipe weighing up to 65,000 lb., were involved in the process.

Operation of the facility is scheduled to begin in 2010. Mexico’s first supercritical-pressure, coal-fired power plant is environmentally friendly, as it uses higher steam temperatures, optimizes fuel-efficiency, and reduces coal consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, the plant will benefit Mexico’s economy at a time when oil and natural gas prices are at their peak.

To have the opportunity to partake in a project of this magnitude gives Hanson Pressure Pipe the chance to showcase its expertise and play an important role in bringing electric power to the region, affirms Clifford Hahne, president of Hanson Pressure Pipe. Not only is the venture the first of its kind in Mexico, but it is the optimum time to set a mark for supercritical-pressure, coal-fired power generation.