Heavy Rain, Erosion Woes Halt Mountain Valley Pipeline

Fleet of Manitowoc Cranes Help Lift the Haze in Alabama’s Skies

Mon January 17, 2005 - Southeast Edition
Jeff Cronin



The lifting power of several generations of equipment from Manitowoc Crane Group is being put to the test during a multi-billion dollar project to clean Alabama’s air.

Alabama Power, the utility company that provides service to more than 1.3 million customers in the southern two-thirds of the state, has been installing selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology at the James H. Miller power station in West Jefferson, located approximately 20 mi. northwest of Birmingham.

The SCRs, which are approximately 13 stories tall and have footprints the size of half a football field, will help to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, a major component of ground ozone, Alabama Power Spokesman Mike Sznajderman said.

Manitowoc has provided an entire line of cranes to assist the project at Miller station, including a 4100W Ringer model that was used during the original plant’s construction in the mid-1970s.

In addition, there are two 21000s and a 4600 Ringer from Manitowoc; several RT rough terrain mobile cranes from Grove and two HDT 80 self-erecting tower cranes.

The cranes are being used both on-site and also approximately 2 mi. upriver from the plant, where ductwork is being assembled because of space restrictions at the power plant.

The ducts, which weigh as much as 90 tons (82 t) are loaded onto barges using a 4600 Ringer, which tugboats haul to the plant.

A model 4100W Ringer offloads the ducts onto 60-wheel electric transporters, which are then taken to the worksite.

The 4100W was fitted with a jib prior to the start of this project.

“We originally intended to use the jib with an auxiliary line to flip the ductwork onto the transport dolly, but in the end we found a way where this wasn’t necessary,” said B. Wade Pierce, Alabama Power’s fleet services manager of field operations.

At the site, the Model 21000s lift large steelwork onto the roof, while the HDT 80s break the big lots into smaller parcels and move the components around.

The HDT 80s “are a much faster option,” said Tom M. Browne, fleet services manager at Alabama Power. “They have proven to be a real saving in that we haven’t had to tie up the Model 21000s on smaller lots. We have undoubtedly gained efficiency due to their speed and agility.”

Manitowoc officials said the usage of the HDT 80s confirms the growing acceptance of self-erecting tower cranes in North America.

Installed on special foundations on the roof of the power house, the cranes have a footprint of 15-by-15 ft. (4.5-by-4.5 m). However, they can lift a maximum of 6.6 tons (6 t) or 1.5 tons (1.4 t) at the maximum jib length of 148 ft. (45 m).

While self-erecting tower cranes are an uncommon site on large industrial sites, Browne said it was an easy decision to make.

“They offered us some compelling reasons to go with them,” he said.

The four Grove RT rough terrain cranes will remain at the site after the project’s completion for general lifting duties.

The actual installation of the massive SCRs was a job tackled by the 21000s.

At first, officials had planned to place heavy-lifting cranes on the roof, but the building’s structural integrity was insufficient.

The 21000’s standard capacity of 831 tons (754 t) was increased to 1,000 tons (907 t) with the MAX-ER attachment.

“We needed reliable units, as we were working to tight deadlines — completing the main installation work in a two-week outage window when the plant was shut down for annual maintenance,” Browne said.

The $330-million project at Miller station, which will have four SCRs at its completion sometime this spring, is just a part of a $2.5-billion project that began in 1999 to improve environmental technology at Alabama Power’s six coal-fired plants.

More than $550 million has already been spent.Many of the improvements were sparked by the clean air act to decrease ozone levels and particulates in the air, while others are being completed in expectation of upcoming regulations.

The costs will be made up through annual 1 percent rate hikes, but Sznajderman said Alabama Power expects to keep its rates at 15 percent below the national average “indefinitely.”

They expect emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide will drop by 60 percent of the 2002 levels after the entire project’s completion. Following the completion of the Miller station project, most of the cranes will likely move on to other Southern Company power stations for similar environmental upgrading.

For more information, visit www.manitowoccranegroup.com. CEG STAFF