The New York Power Authority (NYPA) says that, when complete, the installation of 78 new trashracks at its 2,515-MW Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant will “streamline plant operations” by significantly shortening the time required to remove and clean clogged racks.
Each of the project’s 13
turbine-generator units has six trashracks installed – two upper, two middle
and two lower. They catch tree trunks, large pieces of metal and other river
debris that might otherwise damage the facility’s turbines, as well as capture
leaves and other vegetation. In summer, when large amounts of waterborne
vegetation flow down the Niagara River, vegetation can build up in the racks and
restrict water flow, limiting the plant’s power output.
To maintain smooth operations in summer, NYPA removes the upper and middle racks, leaving the lower racks to catch the largest, most dangerous debris. Removal and storage has taken a day and a half per unit for all 13 units, amounting to more than two weeks for the whole plant.
When NYPA engineers and mechanical maintenance staff started preparing to replace Niagara’s aging trashracks in 2014, a design review identified opportunities to simplify removal, cleaning and replacement. The NYPA team collaborated on a redesign that would slash the time needed for maintenance. With its new design, NYPA can remove the racks for three or four units in a single day.
“This in-house equipment redesign significantly reduces the time, manpower and money needed to conduct routine but critical maintenance,” said NYPA President and Chief Executive Officer Gil C. Quiniones. “The work on this project is a testament to our employees’ commitment to asset management and supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s clean energy agenda by ensuring the safe, efficient operation of the Niagara Power Project — one of New York’s cleanest power generators.”
Installation of the new trashracks, which began in 2018, is expected to be completed next month.
NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the U.S., operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit‑miles of transmission lines. More than 70% of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower.