The power barges Margarita I and Josefa Rufina I under construction at the Signal International fabrication yard in Orange, TX. Each barge is capable of producing 171 MW using GE Frame 7FA turbines. From idea to realityThe result? The Margarita I and the Josefa Rufina I floating power plants set sail for Venezuela on schedule in August 2010 from Ingleside, TX. Only six short months earlier, both were mere ideas. How did WMI complete the fast-track project in such a tight window?'The project schedule would have been impossible to achieve without tireless dedication and a shared vision of success by all involved,' said Stephen J. McKillop, WMI's Vice President of Engineering. 'We chose to team our in-house engineering staff to work hand-in-hand with a highly motivated and talented shipyard whereby the barge hull, equipment foundations and piping systems were being engineered, constructed and installed almost simultaneously,' McKillop explained, adding it was a strategy which could have been a recipe for mistakes, re-works and delays, were it not for the real time communication and strict scheduling of the various activities. Waller Marine Inc. uses AVEVA PDMSto design Venezuelan power bargesHouston's Waller Marine, Inc. (WMI) faced a tough challenge: Design, build and deliver two 171 MW floating power barges to a customer in Venezuela. in just 180 days. Such a project required not only focus, speed and know-how, but a tool that would enable WMI to maximize its 36 years of naval architectural expertise on a very tight deadline with no margin for error. The firm turned to AVEVA in early 2010, purchased four PDMS licenses and rolled up its collective sleeves with little time to spare.Mark McKee Marketing Specialist, AVEVA Americas14AVEVA World Magazine 2011|Issue 2
McKillop said the final piece of the construction puzzle was to install the power plant and electrical switchyard. '(It) was completed by highly qualified turbine and electrical technicians specifically contracted by WMI for their dedication and "can do" attitude,' he said. 'PDMS was a vital tool in allowing accurate installation and fit-up in our balance of plant-to-turbine piping interfaces.' Providing needed electricityThe Margarita I and the Josefa Rufina I sport deck areas about the size of a football field and each weighs 6,700 short tons apiece. Their stack towers soar 100 feet above the decks. Boasting identical GE 7FA simple-cycle, dual-fuel turbine generators, the barges can each generate 171.4 MW of electricity for transfer to the Venezuelan grid. The turbines can run on natural gas or number 2 fuel oil. The barges will be moored in a shallow, man-made basin protected from the Caribbean Sea, near the Planta Termoeléctrica de Tacoa - an overtaxed 1940s-era power plant on the coast northwest of Caracas that cannot operate at anywhere near 100 percent capacity due to age. Venezuela's nearby hydroelectric plants have been unable to take up the slack with additional power due to a shortage of rainfall in the region, which has led to lower than normal reservoir levels needed to power the hydro turbines. As a result, Caracas and the surrounding areas have been experiencing frequent power 'brownouts.' Once online in mid 2011, the Margarita I and the Josefa Rufina I should alleviate at least some of the electricity shortages in the Venezuelan capital. Idea dates back to the '30sPower barges such as the Margarita I and the Josefa Rufina I are not a new concept. Indeed, as far back as 1931, Popular Mechanics magazine profiled the Jacona, a freighter that was being converted to a 'mobile seagoing power plant' that could go wherever electricity was needed. Development took off during World War II when barges delivered power to troops in the field and to bombed-out cities, such as Nagasaki, Japan. After World War II, construction slowed. However, over the past two decades, power barges have enjoyed a resurgence as an effective way to supply electricity to developing countries. Their short construction cycles, ease in deployment and competitive costs versus land-based plants have made them an attractive alternative. Today, more than 60 power barges are in use around the world, according to Power Magazine, including a few in the United States.'The client asked us if we could deliver it in six months and we did it. This has never been done before. No one thought we could do it. But we came through in the 180 days. I think we surprised the customer...'AVEVA World Magazine 2011|Issue 215 Photo courtesy of Waller Marine Inc.