Rings Rolling Out

Feb 22, 2008


Crews from the Barnhart Crane and Rigging Co., a national heavy lifting company, on Wednesday morning move the first four of 18 stainless steel alloy rings for the scrubber system being installed at the W.H. Sammis Power Plant at Stratton.

STRATTON — Weighing 67 tons and standing 20 feet tall, the first of 18 stainless steel rings to be used in new scrubber smoke stacks made its way across Ohio 7 Wednesday.

Cold and light snow didn’t keep the equally massive hauling device, known as the Goldhofer, from its ring-moving mission.

The Goldhofer is a special heavy-hauling device being used to move the massive stainless steel alloy rings from the edge of the Ohio River into a marshaling yard, located south of the FirstEnergy W.H. Sammis electric power plant. The rings are part of the $1.5 billion air quality improvement project at the plant overseen by the international engineering firm Buchtel and being built by Babcock and Wilcox.

The hauling of the first of four rings delivered by barge to the power plant resulted in an 8-minute closure of Ohio 7 in both directions at Stratton at 10:30 a.m.

The Goldhofer is a self-propelled vehicle controlled by an operator that walks near it. Shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday, the highway was closed to allow the Goldhofer, handled by a crew from Barnhart Crane and Rigging, to cross Ohio 7 to get into position to retrieve the first steel ring.

After smoothing out the ramp leading from Ohio 7 to the temporary docking area installed by FirstEnergy, crews worked to position the Goldhofer on the barge under the first ring, a 67-ton, 20-foot tall mammoth that was dwarfed by two even larger rings aboard the barge.

Crews worked inside the ring to position posts on the trailer to hold the ring. The Goldhofer trailer was raised to take the ring load and then maneuvered over a steel ramp from the barge onto a gravel road leading to Ohio 7.

Once the ring was over the ramp and off the barge, it was a matter of minutes before it had been taken across highway on the machine and brought to the marshaling yard north of the Stratton Municipal Building. There was no visible damage to the highway, thanks to the distribution of the massive weight among the 120 tires of the Goldhofer.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers halted barge traffic on the Ohio River for the day to allow the move to take place because of the proximity to the New Cumberland Locks and Dam. The Ohio Department of Transportation, Stratton police and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department handled the lane closures for Ohio 7.

FirstEnergy spokesman Mark Durbin said the rings range in weight from 67 to 450 tons and in height from 20 to 35 feet. The first barge to moor at the temporary dock south of the New Cumberland Locks and Dam was carrying four rings of various sizes.

The rings were designed and engineered by Babcock and Wilcox and built by PSP Industries in Fulton, Miss.

The rings were placed on a barge and taken up the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to Paducah, Ky., where the barge headed up the Ohio River. The journey took about 20 days for the rings to reach Stratton.

The rings will be held in the marshaling yard until needed on the job site, adjacent to the new 850-foot concrete flue stack constructed just south of the Sammis Plant. A total of three 150-foot tall absorber towers will be built out of the steel rings as part of the coal scrubber system being installed to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from the power plant. The rings will be welded together to form leakproof vessels that will contain the reaction between the power plant exhaust plume and a limestone slurry mixture.

Chemical reactions as the power plant exhaust bubbles through the mixture will result in removal of more than 95 percent of the sulfur dioxide from the power plant emissions.

A byproduct of the reaction is creation of synthetic gypsum that will be hauled from the power plant via an enclosed pipeline conveyor to a landfill to be constructed on the ridge above the power plant, about 2.4 miles away.

Durbin said the rings will be delivered as needed.

When they’re needed at the construction site, they’ll be loaded on the Goldhofer and moved up to the power plant. The next move for the rings moved to the marshaling yard on Wednesday are scheduled for about March 20, when they’ll be hauled to the construction site. Deliveries will continue periodically, with periodic closures of Ohio 7 to allow transport of the rings.

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