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Last updateFri, 29 Jul 2016 2pm

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Basics of Elastomeric Seal Design

Basics of Elastomeric Seal Design

Engineers need critical design informati...

Wastewater Treatment

Wastewater Treatment

Society’s desire for a clean envir...

Controlling Our Water Systems, Part II

Controlling Our Water Systems, Part II

To better understand the actuators and c...

Controlling Our Water Systems

Controlling Our Water Systems

Actuators and controls are a critical pr...

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Industry Headlines

Pentair Reports Second Quarter 2016 Results

2 DAYS AGO

Pentair plc announced second quarter 2016 sales of $1.7B. Sales were up 4% compared to sales for the same period last year. Excluding the unfavorable impact of currency translation and the positive contribution from acquisitions, core sales declined 3% in the second quarter . Second quarter 2016 earni...

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ValvTechnologies Names Bryant Holt Industry Director, Fossil Power

3 DAYS AGO
ValvTechnologies Names Bryant Holt Industry Director, Fossil Power

ValvTechnologies, Inc. has appointed Bryant Holt as industry director for the company’s fossil power division. Holt will succeed George Stover, who has served in this role since 2014.

Based in Houston, Holt will have global management responsibility for ValvTechnologies’ fossil power group ...

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ExxonMobil Expanding Beaumont, TX Facility

2 DAYS AGO

ExxonMobil has plans to increase production of ultra-low sulfur fuels at its Beaumont, TX refinery by approximately 40,000 barrels per day, representing an investment of approximately $450 million.

Construction is scheduled during the second half of 2016 to install a selective cat naphtha hydrofining u...

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LNG’s Surge from Decade-Low Seen Fizzling as Supply Ramps Up

3 DAYS AGO

“LNG’s surge is running out of gas. Liquefied natural gas in Asia, which was in such over-supply that prices in Japan fell to a decade-low in April, has risen by almost half in the past three months as production outages stifled supply, demand rose in places like China and India and a co...

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Second Quarter GDP Grew Only 1.2% in Second Quarter

1 DAY AGO

Real GDP in the U.S. increased at an annual rate of 1.2% in the second quarter of 2016, according to the advance estimate released by the U.S. Department of Commerce. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 0.8%.

The increase in real GDP in the second quarter reflected positive contributions from cons...

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U.S. Durable Goods Orders Down 4% in June

3 DAYS AGO

New orders for manufactured durable goods in June decreased $9.3 billion or 4.0% to $219.8 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced. This decrease , down two consecutive months, followed a 2.8% May decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.5%. Excluding defense, new orders d...

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Unlocking the Truth About Alternative Energy Sources

Yes, we are making strides toward developing alternative, cleaner energy sources such as wind, biomass and hydrogen technologies… but many in the industry believe coal gasification and nuclear power are the ‘real’ keys to reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

Development of alternative energy technologies has become a major national undertaking. It is an effort embraced by government and business, one that seeks to create an infrastructure of environmentally compatible processes that will, over time, supplant fossil fuels as the linchpin of economic progress and living standards. Investments in the field are soaring, and indications are that many of the technologies will eventually lead to economically viable applications that are safe, reliable and sustainable.

Phasing in alternative energy processes is a long-term proposition with plenty of opinions as to how quickly it should occur. Most experts that work in the field say it will be decades before technologies advance far enough to have a significant impact on the use of fossil fuels like oil and natural gas.

“In the time frame that seems plausible, in the next several decades, Chevron would not articulate that the value proposition for biofuels is the replacement of oil and gas resources,” says Rick Zalesky, vice president of biofuels and hydrogen for Chevron Technology Ventures in Houston.

The Department of Energy, in fact, predicts in its Annual Energy Outlook 2007 report, that oil, coal and natural gas will still have roughly the same share of primary energy supply in the United States in 2030 as in 2005—86%. The DOE attributes this not to a failure of alternative energy to find applications, but to its initial low penetration of the energy market and to the continuing growth in demand for electricity over the next 25 years.

Nevertheless, processing and distribution facilities are being built for the first wave of these technologies, and that means more valves and actuators will be employed in select energy markets, notably those involving high-heat and high-pressure processes, and in an application that’s not usually associated with “green” technology—nuclear power.

“Nuclear energy is an alternative to current energy policy,” says Greg Johnson, president of United Valve Company, a valve service and repair facility in Houston. His view is shared by many in the valve industry.

The demand for high-performance valves and actuators in these and other areas will expand as facilities come online. It may also spur many valve makers to increase investments in R&D. Experts working in technologies like coal gasification, nuclear power and hydrogen, say these applications will have operating conditions that require highly engineered valves—commodity items or off-the-shelf products will not be applicable. In the case of nuclear plants, valve manufacturers will additionally need to acquire an “N” stamp, indicating they meet a stringent set of quality requirements and documentation procedures for their products.

Nuclear plants will probably have the highest engineering standards for valves and actuators due to the dangers of a catastrophic failure. The first of a new generation of power plants, called Gen III+, are slated to be built in the United States beginning in 2010 (the first new U.S. nuclear plant since 1996).

“These plants operate a lot differently than old nuclear plants, so there will be different requirements for valves in the containment buildings,” says Rob Gormley, senior product manager at Enertech, a Brea, CA, company that supplies nuclear pressure-relief valves and other products in partnership with Dresser Consolidated, Addison, TX.

Looking farther ahead, Gormley notes the next step in nuclear plant design is Gen IV. Designs for these plants are now in development though construction won’t take place until around 2030. “The Gen IV plants will have much higher temperature requirements,” he remarks. “Valve designs don’t even exist today that could function in the high-temperature environment of those plants.”

Technologies for Today and the Future
About a dozen technologies are being developed as clean, renewable sources of fuel and energy. They include:

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