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AEP dismantles Tidd Plant facilities

by on August 6, 2015
Tidd Plant is the shorter, yellow brick facility seen to the right of Cardinal Units 1 and 2. AEP Projects photo taken from Cardinal Unit 3.

(Story by Rachel Hammer)

AEP’s long-retired Tidd Plant is coming down.

Tidd, which has not been in use for about two decades, is surrounded by the Cardinal Plant. For years, Cardinal employees have walked through and worked around the facility as they pursued their daily activities operating and maintaining Cardinal.

[Watch video taken July 16 of the Tidd PFBC combustor building being torn down.]

“We’re pretty excited to see it come down,” commented Chuck George, Cardinal plant manager. George noted two primary reasons for dismantling Tidd.

George N. Tidd joined Electric Company of America prior to 1904 when he was assigned to run operations in Marion, Ind.The AEP System concept got its start under Tidd, who envisioned an interconnected system. As general manager of American Gas & Electric, he built a 30-mile, 33,000-volt line between power plants in Muncie and Marion.

Perhaps Tidd was AEP’s original “lean” thinker. He was on a continual quest to improve operating efficiency. Tidd had a role in building power generating units in a series with greater efficiency, reducing engineering expenses by using a common, shared design and having the ability to share spare parts to reduce inventory costs.

Tidd began publication of the company’s first employee magazine in August 1909, AGE Bulletin.

Tidd became president of AGE in 1923 and served as chairman from 1947 to 1949. He was AEP’s longest-serving president. It’s interesting to note that Tidd never completed high school.

In 1929, Tidd gave a lengthy interview to Electrical World. He later condensed that interview into a simple vision statement. That statement was published in 1934 as “[Our Job],” which employees know today as the company creed.

“It’s an old facility and the structure was deteriorating. It was right in the middle of our site and in the route a lot of employees took daily from their cars to their job sites.

“Also, with all of the changes coming at us from many different directions, having that real estate available  – if we need additional equipment or some other type of expansion – is really key,” George explained. Near term, the site will become a parking lot.

The project kicked off in March. Activities completed to date include assessment, bidding, contracting and permitting. Environmental abatement and remediation work is ongoing and demolition began in June.

AEP’s prime contractor for this project is North American Dismantling Corporation.

Subcontractor Precision Environmental began environmental abatement and remediation work in mid-April. Precision completes its work in one section of the facility and then moves on to another section. North American Dismantling then can begin demolition in that first section.

Before demolition began, plant staff isolated some of the utility feeds that ran through the Tidd facilities. Cardinal employees also had to make some logistical changes, such as parking in different locations, using temporary locker rooms or taking an alternate route to their work site. But overall, the work does not affect unit operations.

The PFBC building (see PFBC Demonstration project below) and the Tidd office building required the least amount of environmental work, so they were the first facilities to be dismantled. That work began in June. Unit 1 demolition will take place August 26 through October 20. Unit 2 demolition will begin at that time and will continue through December 26.

A large excavator/shearer machine, one of the largest of its type in the world, is tearing down the structure.

AEP’s Project Controls & Construction organization is supporting Cardinal staff with contracting, scheduling, tracking, safety oversight and management.

Bob Follmer, project manager, Generation Project Controls & Construction, explained that because active plant operations continue in such close proximity, demolition work is very controlled.

Tidd office building demolition July 13 (upper) and July 14 (lower). AEP Projects photos.

Reuse, recycle

As part of its contract, North American Dismantling is removing material from the site and will salvage and sell as scrap any marketable material. This reduces overall costs to AEP and provides additional benefits to the project.

In addition, AEP is recycling concrete and brick from Tidd, as well as concrete and brick from the [project to lower Unit 3’s stack]. Workers will grind up the material and will use it to backfill the facility’s basement. This will save AEP the expense of hauling and disposing of this material, and of having to bring in other backfill material.

Project schedule is for the site to be cleared by the end of the year. The parking facility will be completed in the spring when weather permits asphalt work to be done.

Tidd Plant

Located at Brilliant, Ohio, Tidd Plant’s two generating units began operation in 1945 and 1948. It was the first AEP power plant with a central control room and may have been the first AEP plant to be named after a person.

Tidd Plant distinguished itself as AEP’s most efficient plant in 1949, at 11,201 Btu/kwh. The facility was mothballed in 1976.

The plant was tied to two significant research and development projects: the Tidd EHV Test Project and the Tidd PFBC Demonstration Project.

Historic photos of the Tidd EHV test facility. Photo courtesy of Walt Raub.

Tidd EHV Test Project

The objective of the Tidd Test Project was to collect and analyze technical data on electrical phenomena associated with extra-high voltages (EHV). Engineers proposed to use this data to determine the appropriate voltage and design for the system´s new backbone transmission grid.

The company constructed an outdoor transmission laboratory — the Tidd Test Project — at the southern end of the plant site. Eight electrical equipment manufacturers participated in the project.

After much debate, company engineers selected 330,000 volts as the optimum voltage for AGE’s backbone transmission grid. Engineering and design began by 1950.

Moving to real world application was more difficult than expected and specialized testing continued. By 1956, AG&E raised its backbone EHV voltage to 345,000 volts

Tidd PFBC Demonstration Facility

In 1991, AEP began a demonstration at Tidd Plant of pressurized fluidized bed combustion (PFBC), a clean-coal technology. The 70,000-kilowatt facility was a cooperative effort of AEP, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Ohio Coal Development Office.

PFBC used dolomite, a type of limestone, to capture 90 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions during the combustion process. The technology also reduced nitrogen oxide emissions and its byproduct had potential reuse applications. Cleaned combustion gases also could be used for combined-cycle process.

The four-year project demonstrated technology viability. Commercialization was another story. PFBC was built in in several plants in Europe and Japan, but never in the United States.


From → News From AEP

One Comment
  1. I worked at Tidd Plant one Summer during my Junior year at College. I graduated and ended up working at Cardinal Plant and AEP for 35 years.

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