By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
NEW POWER: Hoisington set to replace engine at power plant
Hoisington Power Plant
Hoisington Power Plant Operator Shane Andereck and Mechanic Darren Delzeit stand on the walking platform of the plant’s No. 8 engine. The engine is scheduled for replacement following city council approval Monday evening.

HOISINGTON — When the Hoisington City Council approved measures to replace the No. 8 engine at the city’s power plant, a labyrinth of installation and service procedures were set in motion to insure the city’s ability to continue to generate its own power. 

The city’s electric generation department is responsible for the electrical power requirements for customers in Hoisington’s distribution area.

These requirements are provided from city-owned and operated generation units and from a 12.47 kilovolt interconnect with a power provider.

One of the advantages of city-generated power is the local control when there is a disconnection from the electrical grid resulting from inclement weather, repairs and other factors. But like any machine, repairs and replacements are inevitable, which led city councilors to accept a pair of bids to replace one of the plant’s power units at Monday night’s regular meeting.

The current engine has been in use for nearly 40 years, according to Plant Operator Shane Andereck. “The No. 8 unit was installed in 1981 and was shipped from Harrisonville, Missouri,” said Andereck.
Hoisington’s present plant facility was built in 1936.

While the plant gradually continues to increase its automation capabilities, there are still certain aspects of the facility that require a human touch. “This plant is still very much old school,” Andereck said. “There’s still switches to be thrown, knobs to be turned and buttons to be pushed. But with this unit upgrade we will now have the ability to have the newer engine and the older engines working together because of the increased automation.”

As far as knowing when to replace a unit, Andereck said there are usually tell-tale signs of when an engine has reached its end of use. “Usually it’s when cylinders start overheating or when there is increased frequency in parts replacement.” 

From start to finish, Andereck said the entire replacement project will cover about a year. “Much of that is just tearing down and removing the old engine,” he said. “Then there is all the cement and concrete work that needs to be done with the foundation.” Andereck added that the process of dismantling the current engine will begin next week.

The newer unit is a 2009 model with 900 RPM and equipped with a 20-cylinder engine monitor display (EMD).

According to details provided in a proposal by Industrial Diesel Service Inc. (IDS), the newer engine is Tier-2 emissions compliant which eliminates the need for an exhaust catalyst.

IDS, located in Carrollton, Missouri, is one of two companies that was hired by the city and will be responsible for providing and installing the replacement unit. IDS’s bid for their part in the replacement project is $938,453.

One of greatest maintenance measures for any engine is keeping the unit from overheating. But according to IDS Owner Steve Payne, the newer engine will have fewer of those elements to monitor. “Since there’ll be no catalyst temperatures to maintain with this upgrade, it will be able to run lighter load factors without catalyst fouling,” Payne said. “This will reduce operator stress while restoring circuits.” 

He also said the engine upgrade will assist in the overall efficiency of the current system. “This unit should fill in nicely in a load range that’s been problematic for Hoisington’s system in recent years,” he said.

Part of the installation process involves modifying the foundation of the current engine to accommodate the newer unit.

Following foundation modification, various components including pumps and coolers will be installed. Payne said IDS is planning to utilize the current engine’s radiator and jacket water pumps to circulate glycol coolant.

“The engine-driven water pump will then circulate glycol-free treated water through the water heat exchanger and through the engine,” said Payne. “This way, glycol won’t pose the typical hazards for the engine and headaches during engine maintenance but will assure freeze-proof operation of the horizontal radiator.”

Mid States Diesel from Salina will be tasked with modifying the unit control board and running electrical work between the panel and the unit. Mid States will also be responsible for upgrading the generator metering and communications system and hooking up auxiliaries such as fuel, water and oil pumps. Mid States will be billing the city on a time and materials basis.

Mid States will also provide:

• One new 15 kV breaker to be located outdoors in the substation
• New 15 kV cables between the generator and the breaker
• One new set of lightning arrestors
• New SEL 700G protective relay for electrical protection of the generator
• Upgrade of generator metering and communications
• All necessary current transformers
• All necessary potential transformers
• Rewiring of the existing control panel
• Hookup of the auxiliaries such as a fuel pump, a water pump, an oil pump, etc.
• Running of the electrical connections between the generator control panel and the engine control panel
• Running of the electrical connections between the generator control panel and the 15 kV breaker
• Running of the electrical connections between the generator control panel and the engine
• An option to replace the existing General Electric Motor Control Center
• All labor, material, and equipment to complete the above work
• Programming of the protective relay

Mid States’ estimate to provide the work described above is $135,000. The estimate does not include a motor control center upgrade, which is an additional $45,000. 

In its nearly 85-year history, the current plant facility has undergone just a handful of unit replacements. “Since the plant opened in 1936, we’ve had at least four engine replacements that I’m aware of,” said Andereck. “It’s fun because we’re getting to make a little history here with this installation. With the current technology, these new engines also have increased life spans so we hope to get a lot of mileage out this,” he said.

More than 1,600 customers are provided electric power from the city. The city also provides power to roughly 50 households outside of Hoisington’s city limits but within the city’s electric service territory.