Jul 15, 2008

Hanson Pressure Pipe Supplies Pipe to Mexico’s First Supercritical-Pressure Coal-Fired Power Plant

Plant located at CFE’s Pacifico power station will be one of country’s largest

Hanson Pressure Pipe, a leading North American pressure pipe company, is providing concrete pressure pipe for a project initiated by the Federal Commission of Electricity (CFE), headquartered in Mexico City, to construct Mexico’s first supercritical-pressure-coal-fired power plant. Able to generate 700 megawatts of electricity, the plant, located at the CFE’s Pacifico power station in Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico, will be one of the country’s largest power plants.

Techint of Italy and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), under contract to CFE, selected Hanson Pressure Pipe for a significant role in the design and manufacturing of the plant’s cooling water pipe system, which required more than 200 individual pipe and fitting sections for the estimated $1 billion project. The cooling water pipe system demanded several different sizes of pipe up to 144 in. in diameter—a size matched by only a few of the largest plant projects in the world.

“To have the opportunity to partake in a project of this size and magnitude gives Hanson Pressure Pipe the chance to showcase our expertise in this industry and play an important role in bringing electric power to the region,” said Clifford Hahne, president of Hanson Pressure Pipe. “Ventures such as this one are inspiring because not only is it the first of its kind in Mexico, but it is the optimum time to set a mark for supercritical-pressure coal-fired power generation.”

The plant is located in a highly active seismic area, which means the circulating water pipe provided by Hanson Pressure Pipe must be designed to withstand significant vertical loads and lateral movements, which are imposed on the pipe during a seismic event.

Hanson managed an extensive seismic design analysis performed on the piping system, a procedure not routine to this industry, and a difficult task considering the notably large pipe diameters of 144 in.

“We came into this project ready for the challenge, knowing that it required the most sophisticated design and engineering in a short time frame,” said Richard Manning, president of Hanson Building Products North America. “Our breadth of knowledge in multiple areas, such as how to apply the effect of seismic conditions, allowed us to expand our services and contributions for this project.”

In addition to the design and manufacturing elements, Hanson Pressure Pipe also planned and executed the transportation plan for the shipment of the large diameter pipe from Hattiesburg, Miss., to Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico—approximately 1,200 miles. Hanson formulated a plan that accounted for time sensitive needs, ensuring that material reaches the destination in sequence according to the site’s installation schedule with the use of more than 200 truckloads, most of which were loaded with the oversized pipe weighing up to 65,000 lb.

The creation of Mexico’s first supercritical-pressure coal-fired power plant will benefit the economy in Mexico at a time when oil and natural gas prices are at their peak. The environmentally friendly plant uses higher steam temperatures, is more fuel-efficient and reduces consumption of coal and carbon dioxide. Operation for the project is scheduled to begin in 2010.