60 hours into the run... Blakely Aug 25 - 2002
The first 30 hours was fine tuning and learning the tricks. We had a few delays and quick corrections that could take a few hours to bring back on track. The first trick was to get enough sleep. Some were running on 2 and 3 hours in 24. Jeremy seemed to have the best stamina but does look a bit bleary here.
The constant review of data and updating procedures kept everyone engaged. We learned a great deal and recorded every detail.
Every ten minutes this valve pressure was recorded. It was one of several points that were manually recorded but most were logged by our either the Watlow controllers or the analytical team.
The hydrogen flare and The operations smoothed and our hydrogen flare was a great image until 4am on the 27th when our last bottle of nitrogen needed for purges turned out to be a low pressure unit that the gas company had delivered by accident. For safety we coasted the system to a warm stop with bottles of CO2. It took until lunchtime the next day before 3 filled liquid nitrogen dewars could be delivered from an hour away. Within an hour we were back up.
At this point 40 hours remain and we have learned 3 important control strategies that have become our mantra for providing a stable gas flow to the reformer: Increase Fuel=Decreased Gas Temperatures, Increase Char Removal=Decreased Pressure Drop Across our Moving Bed and finally, Increase Air=Increase Bed Temperature. Most of these have been tied to the computers and automated within set points that provide steady operations. The last 30 hours have been almost completely hands off. Except for grilling hot dogs and barbecue chicken almost every midnight. We make great charcoal!