Last updateThu, 29 Jul 2021 9pm

End-user Industries

Valve engineering advances make ocean power feasible

otec spar squareA rarely publicized but promising renewable energy technology that is creating interesting challenges for valve and actuator engineers is ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC). One of the leaders in the field is OTEC International LLC (OTI) and Barry R. Cole is the company’s Executive Vice President and Director of Technology Development. A veteran of the valve industry, Cole is actively involved in the development, planning and implementation of the intricate system that makes it possible to harness this energy source.

New Technology for the New Nuclear


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved the construction of four new nuclear reactors in the U.S., the first since 1978.

On February 9, Southern Co. won approval and an NRC construction permit to build two reactors at its Vogtle plant near Augusta, Georgia. The first unit is expected to be in service by 2016, and the second a year later.  Then, on March 30, Scana won approval to build two units at its Virgil C. Summer plant in South Carolina.

Pipelines: Striving for Reliability

pipelineDespite a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) from the State Dept. in August 2011 that said the Keystone XL Pipeline will have "no material impact on the environmental resources along the route,” activists continue to oppose the pipeline. At the same time, first nation groups are fighting Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which would stretch from Alberta to the British Columbia coast to transport oil-sands oil to Asian markets.

Carbon Capture and Storage at the Oil Sands

shellscotfordShell Canada is developing the Shell Quest CCS Project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their existing oil sands bitumen upgrader, the Scotford Upgrader, located near Edmonton, Alberta. The plan is to store the Quest CO2 in an underground saline formation where it will be permanently stored. While Quest does have the capability to use the CO2 for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) under the right commercial and market conditions, the primary driver for this project is saline aquifer injection to reduce CO2 emissions affecting climate change.

Understanding that this type of project would provide ample opportunities and challenges for valve, actuator and control manufacturers, we asked Len Heckel of Shell to explain some of the technology in this fully integrated project which will capture, transport, inject and store carbon dioxide.

The Crumbling Water Infrastructure: Challenge or Opportunity for Valve Manufacturers?

water valvewebThe recession that began in 2008 had multiple ramifications for municipalities, many seeing enormous deficits that resulted in “fire sales” of many public assets including roads and water systems. While the short term solution of selling assets puts money into the public coffers, the sale of water systems to private entities focused on profits raises, for many, the specter of rate increases and less concern for sustainability and environmental issues.

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