Mcilvaine Insights


No. 115   August 13, 2019


Weekly selected highlights in flow control, treatment and combustion from the many McIlvaine publications.

·       Why can India justify Coal-fired Power Plant Expansion?

·       Coal Fired Power Plant Decisions Locates the Critical Insights Lost in the Wilderness of Available Knowledge

·       For Twenty-nine Years the Utility E-Alert has Provided the Latest Power Plant Information

·       Cleanroom Projects and Existing Plants are Tracked with Monthly Updates

·       Market Report Updates



Why can India Justify Coal-fired Power Plant Expansion?

India is expanding coal-fired power capacity and can justify it based on the Sustainability Universal Rating System. 

India expects coal-fired power capacity to grow by 22 percent in three years. That’s according to the Chief Engineer at the country’s Federal Power Ministry, Ghanshyam Prasad, who Reuters reported as stating coal capacity is likely to reach 238 GW by 2022.

India’s Coal Minister, Pralhad Joshi previously said annual coal demand rose by 9.1 percent during the year ending March 2019, noting the figure hit 991.35 million tons, driven primarily by utilities, which accounted for three-quarters of total demand. The anticipated growth is likely to affect efforts to cut emissions and could risk worsening already poor air quality. India’s electricity demand rose by 36 percent in the seven years up to April 2019, while coal-fired generation capacity during the period rose by three-quarters to 194.44GW.

Pralhad Joshi said, despite the growth rate in thermal capacity outpacing electricity consumption in the last few years, more coal-fired power plants will still be needed in the future to meet growth.  He added: “If we have to meet demand and address the intermittencies we have with solar and wind, we have no choice but to keep depending on coal-based generation in the near future”

India must address the question of balancing the benefits to the world vs. the benefits to citizens of India. Cardinal Health contracted with McIlvaine to answer a similar question relative to single-use surgical garments. Should a hospital throw away surgical garments after each use or wash them?  Washing exposes local hospital clients to the risks of viruses in the water while manufacturing the garments generates CO2 somewhere. One risk is personal and immediate. The other risk is long term and general.

McIlvaine realized that it was necessary to develop a common metric to measure harm and good. This metric is labeled Quality Enhanced Life Days (QELD). It is described in a hospital magazine article In terms of decision making, QELD is radically different from the accepted medical metric Quality Adjusted Life Years  (QALY).

Let’s say an Indian without electricity sleeps more hours at night. Without a large income he eats more fruit and vegetables and less ice cream and pizza. The Indian without electricity lives to age 90 while the Indian with electricity only lives to age 88. The QELD metric would rate the electricity option as superior while the QALY metric rates the “no electricity” scenario as superior. It is only common sense. Would you rather be in solitary confinement for the next 50 years or only live 40 years longer leading your present life?

The quality of life has to be taken into account in any government policy. If coal-fired power can give reliable electricity to millions 10 years earlier than a plan that excludes coal, then the quality of life benefits have to be taken into consideration. Discounted future value  has to be considered. The millionaire in the U.S. setting up a trust fund for his grandchildren enhances his life quality with this sacrifice. The Indian grandfather worried about the basic needs of his grandchildren will take satisfaction from making life better for them now. Since many of the negative impacts of greenhouse gases are long term, there is the necessity to realize that the discounted future value is dependent on the personal QELD of the individual.

It would be possible for the Indian government  to estimate the cumulative QELD for all Indians for any policy and then choose the one with the greatest aggregate QELD. Bob McIlvaine welcomes your thoughts on this metric.  You can reach him at  847 784 0013, cell 847 226 2391 or


Coal Fired Power Plant Decisions locates the Critical Insights Lost in the Wilderness of Available Knowledge

A millennium before Columbus proved that the earth was not flat a number Greek scholars knew it was round. History is filled with important knowledge which disappears at least temporarily.  This has been true for coal fired power plant combust, flow and treatment (CFT) technologies.  Lets take  FGD scrubbers as an example.


Year Invented and Location

Years Lost

Rediscovery and Circumstance

Venturi Scrubber

1890 - Austrian patent for coal gas scrubber


1950 Johnstone

U of Illinois


Turbulent Pool Scrubber

1900 - AAF Rotoclone

1960 - U.S. Navy Key West - Clam Shells

20 (maybe not lost but not utilized by power plants)

Chiyoda 121 Scrubber 1980s

Rod Deck Scrubber

1963 - Environeering

Rejected by Acquirer  in favor of spray tower

Andritz Rod  Scrubber 2010

MEL Natural Oxidation Venturi Scrubber

Dravo Corp 


Not utilized since the 1970s

Could be a winner due to toxic metals

Two Stage Scrubber with HCl and REE Recovery

1970  United Engineers,  Environeering, Philadelphia Electric

40 years before REE recovery became important

This option should be prioritized over flyash landfills


Environeering prided itself on acquiring many scrubber patents. Most applications had to take into account the prior art of Johnstone, a university professor.  Later research by the McIlvaine Company uncovered an Austrian patent vintage 1890 that would have invalidated the Johnstone patent.

When Environeering and its partner Combustion Engineering commenced designing the world’s first commercial limestone FGD system the only relevant experience to be found was a turbulent pool scrubber on a fuel oil fired boiler at a navy base in Key West. The calcium source was ground seashells. It is very likely that Chiyoda was not aware of this small installation when it invented a turbulent pool scrubber used presently in a number of power plants.

The original Environeering/CE design used marbles but a rod deck improvement was provided after a few years. Ironically Environeering was acquired and in a game of musical chairs became part of organizations with spray tower scrubbers.  They used the ‘not invented here” criterion to reject the rod deck scrubber. The group was later acquired by Andritz who invented a rod deck scrubber as an improvement over the spray tower.  It is unlikely that any of the original rod deck knowledge was used  by Andritz.  But maybe it was.

Andritz could have had access to Coal Fired Boiler Decisions. This service was created to make sure knowledge was not lost and that new designs could be properly evaluated. Until recently it was funded through subscriptions by utilities as well as suppliers.  However,  it is now available free of charge to utilities.  This easy access should encourage utilities in India, Vietnam, Malaysia and other countries to make the system the basis of important decisions.

For more information on this service click on 44I Coal Fired Power Plant Decisions

Bob McIlvaine can answer your questions at  847 784 0013,


For Twenty-nine Years the Utility E-Alert has Provided the Latest Power Plant Information

You can receive this weekly alert for just $ 950/yr.  Or you can receive it part of the Utility Tracking Package  as explained at Power Generation Markets and Projects

#1433 – August 9, 2019 Table of Contents


·        Duke Energy continues its appeal of State’s Coal ash-related decision to excavate Ash Basins

·        Four Corners installs SCR on Two Boilers along with DSI

·        US Utility dismisses CCS Technology for San Juan Plant as “unproven, costly” Technology

·        FirstEnergy Solutions Accelerates Deactivation of Bruce Mansfield Unit 3


·        Asian Development Bank avoids Coal lending without formal Policy

·        RWE decides to close Aberthaw B Coal Plant in the UK

·        Why can India justify Coal-fired Power Plant expansion?

·        10 Top Indian Power Plants are highlighted in Power Magazine

·        General Electric and Chinese Company back Mozambique Coal Plant



·        Stadtwerke München increases Energy Efficiency and Flexibility with GE’s Environmentally Friendly District Heating Plant Upgrades in Germany

·        GE’s 7F DLN2.6+ Flex Technology helps Southern California Public Power Authority Obtain More Operational Flexibility



·        New Nuclear Reactor needed to test “Fast” Technologies



·        Air Products completes acquisition of GE's Gasification Business and Technology

·        Babcock & Wilcox Segment nearly doubled adjusted EBITDA to $19.0 Million

·        Power Plant Chemistry Forum slated for Washington Next Month

·        Dry Scrubber and SOx-NOx Conference considerations

·        Pumps and Valves

·        John Crane provides solution for Pump Seal problems at German Power Plant

·        Power Plant High Pressure Isolation Valve Choices

·        JGC supplying Dry Scrubbers and NOx Control



Cleanroom Projects and Existing Plants are Tracked with Monthly Updates

You can search for cleanroom projects by date industry and country but also see existing cleanrooms  in 80A World Cleanroom Projects.   One of the fastest growing areas is biopharmaceuticals. Here are several recent projects. 

   SGS Celebrates Opening of the Biologics Testing Facility Expansion

Facility in Glasgow now boasts 25,824 sq. ft. (2,400 sq. meter) floor space and additional capabilities for testing cell banks and routine bulk harvest

The newly extended state-of-the-art facility now doubles the total floor space from 1,200 sqm to 2,400 sqm

The greater laboratory space provides SGS with additional capabilities for testing cell banks and routine bulk harvest for vaccines, gene and cell therapies, monoclonal antibodies and other recombinant protein based biological medicines and will increase the capacity of all existing biosafety services and enhanced real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) platforms.

   Boehringer Investment to Expand Oral Solid Dosage Production in Mexico

German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim has announced a multimillion-dollar investment that will see the expansion of its manufacturing capacity in Mexico over the next two years. Miguel Salazar, president and CEO of the company for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, made the announcement.

Located in Xochimilco, just over a one-hour drive from the capital city to the south, Boehringer Ingelheim's plant specializes in oral dosage anti-diabetic drugs. The company said the investment plant will take at least one billion Mexican pesos (US$52 million).



Market Report Updates

N121 MBR Markets and Strategies  this report is in preparation.  It will include results from interviews at WEFTEC in September. This is  part of a silobuster program to expand MBR knowledge in wastewater.

N029 Ultrapure Water: World Market.  Coal fired power is still a growth market with lots of new coal fired plant plus upgrades to ultrasupercritical in China.  The semiconductor market has been growing while biopharmaceuticals are boosting the pharma segment.

N028 Industrial Valves: World Market  Coal will remain larger than gas turbine or nuclear. The U.S. market will benefit from increased oil and gas extraction due to fracking.

N026 Water and Wastewater Treatment Chemicals: World Market.  Fracking adds a new market for producers.

N031 Industrial IoT and Remote O&M   Automation and remote monitoring are accelerating in power, oil, gas, mining and many other industries.

N024 Cartridge Filters: World Market  Markets for purifying water for residents and businesses are matched by industrial opportunities which include process uses such as single use biopharmaceuticals.

N020 RO, UF, MF World Market  Zero liquid discharge is a big driver of this market.  Produced water and desalination are also growing opportunities.

N019 Pumps World Market Hydraulic fracturing pump revenues are large and growing. Specialty applications in the chemical, petrochemical, and pharma segments require unique pump designs. This results in high margins and fewer competitors.

N006 Liquid Filtration and Media World Markets.  Manufactured wet sand plants require filter presses.  More are now being used in dredging operations. So aggregate is a growing segment.

N005 Sedimentation and Centrifugation World Markets. Lots of new needs for disc and decanter centrifuges in the food industry. Subscribers will be able to purchase a special report on the food industry with eight industry sub segments and more than 20,0000 forecasts. This includes forecasts for individual producers. Brazil produces 52% of the worlds sugar. Three producers are the major centrifuge  purchasers.


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