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Abbott Power Plant: An Overview

Group O4: Kevin Finn, Sagar Sachdev, Arthur Sredni and Jake Wolff

The Power Plant

Contributing roughly three quarters of the power demand for campus, The Abbott Power Plant located in Champaign is an important part of the infrastructure for the university.  Originally being constructed in 1941, it has the capability of burning natural gas, fuel oil, or coal in order to heat water to convert it to steam to drive a turbine.  Being equipped with some of the most state-of-the-art pollution control technology, the power plant meets all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.


The Problem

In 2003, an addition was made to the Abbott Power Plant.  The left tower in the above image was taken down as well as a few other improvements to the existing structure.  In this process, the engineers at the plant noticed that a problem was taking place in one of the cooling pipes entering the plant.  Based on our research and assumptions, this problem is the phenomenon known as cavitation as well as air entrainment.  Cavitation occurs when the liquid pressure of a liquid falls below the vapor pressure of the liquid.  Air entrainment is when outside air leaks into the pipes via holes in the pipes or fittings.  These phenomena can deteriorate even the strongest of metals.

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The Team

Our team was lucky enough to receive a tour of the Abbott Power Plant from plant engineer Mike Brewer.  Mike showed us the layout of the plant, the basics of its operations, as well as the problem site.  His tour and advice came as a great help in our calculations and assumptions!


Sagar, Jake, and Arthur pictured with Mike


Kevin pictured with Mike

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