May 16, 2018
Heat Recovery Energy Plant Built on PENETRON Technology
This month’s inauguration of the new St. Mary Clean Energy Center in Franklin, LA, showcases a facility that produces electricity without increasing greenhouse gas emissions through a heat recovery process. Located in an extremely wet climate, PENETRON crystalline technology was used to ensure a durable and waterproof foundation for the plant.
Cleco Power, an electric utility company based in Pineville, Louisiana, completed construction of a waste heat recovery energy plant adjacent to a Cabot Chemical plant, a carbon black (a result of the incomplete combustion of heavy petroleum products) facility on the Louisiana Gulf Coast in Franklin, near the Intracoastal Waterway. The new power plant, St. Mary Clean Energy Center, will generate 50-megawatts of electricity by capturing the Cabot plant’s waste heat from exhaust gases, which will power the new utility's turbine generators – all without increasing emissions, including carbon.
Sodden Environment Demands Crystalline Solution
“The electricity produced by the St. Mary facility will be enough to light up 17,000 homes, with zero associated emissions,” says Robbyn Cooper, Investor & Public Relations Manager at Cleco Power. “This is a huge accomplishment for any utility.”
Confronted with a construction site very close to the Intercostal Highway in Louisiana and a correspondingly high-water table, the project engineers looked to Baldwin Ready-Mix for a solution for the below-grade (5-6 foot depth) concrete structures. Baldwin, a Penetron partner, suggested a concrete mix treated with PENETRON ADMIX SB, an integral crystalline admixture.
Ensuring an Impermeable Matrix
“PENETRON ADMIX has been proven to be an effective long-term solution in many similar projects along the Gulf Coast, including not only energy plants, but also wastewater treatment plants and manufacturing facilities,” explains Christopher Chen, Director of The Penetron Group. “The concrete structures in all these projects are exposed to harsh environments, but the crystalline technology of the PENETRON ADMIX ensures the matrix remains impermeable.”
Using the pre-measured soluble bags, Baldwin Ready Mix added PENETRON ADMIX SB to over 1,000 cubic yards (765 m3) of concrete that was poured for the foundation of the energy plant.
Substantially Extending the Concrete Life Cycle
Water and waterborne chemicals penetrate concrete mainly through capillary absorption and hydrostatic pressure. Adding PENETRON ADMIX unleashes a catalytic reaction to moisture in the concrete that generates a non-soluble crystalline formation throughout pores and voids and permanently seals the concrete against any penetration of water or liquids from any direction. This protects the concrete from deterioration, substantially extending the life of the treated concrete structure.
“The St. Mary Clean Energy Center is only one of our projects where PENETRON crystalline waterproofing helps enable an industrial process that has a benefit to our environment,” says Mr. Chen. “That’s a win for Cleco Energy and their overall sustainability footprint.”