07272016Wed
Last updateTue, 26 Jul 2016 4pm

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Basics of Elastomeric Seal Design

Basics of Elastomeric Seal Design

Engineers need critical design informati...

Wastewater Treatment

Wastewater Treatment

Society’s desire for a clean envir...

Controlling Our Water Systems, Part II

Controlling Our Water Systems, Part II

To better understand the actuators and c...

Controlling Our Water Systems

Controlling Our Water Systems

Actuators and controls are a critical pr...

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Industry Headlines

Crane Co. Reports Second Quarter 2016 Results

10 HOURS AGO

Crane Co. reported second quarter 2016 GAAP earnings of $1.15 per diluted share, compared to $0.95 per share in the second quarter of 2015. Excluding Special Items, second quarter 2016 earnings per diluted share were $1.21, compared to $1.06 per share in the second quarter of 2015.

Second quarter 2016 ...

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Emerson Exploring Acquisition of Pentair Valves & Controls

1 DAY AGO

Reuters UK has spoken to sources that confirm Emerson has made an offer to acquire Pentair Valves & Controls. Pentair Plc added the Valves & Controls division after its merger with Tyco Flow Control in 2012.

“Pentair has received offers for the valves and controls business from companies o...

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Chemical Activity Barometer Grows for Fourth Consecutive Month

10 HOURS AGO

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) expanded 0.4% in July following a revised 0.7% increase in June, 0.8% increase in May and 0.6% increase in April. All data is measured on a three-month moving average. Accounting for adjustments, the CAB remains up 2.6% over this time last year, an improvement ove...

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SABIC, ExxonMobil Evaluating Joint Venture on U.S. Gulf Coast

10 HOURS AGO

SABIC and an affiliate of Exxon Mobil are considering the potential development of a jointly owned petrochemical complex on the U.S. Gulf Coast. If developed, the project would be located in Texas or Louisiana near natural gas feedstock and include a world-scale steam cracker and derivative units.

Befo...

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Sharpest Rise in U.S. Manufacturing Production Since November

1 DAY AGO

July data signaled a further rebound in business conditions across the U.S. manufacturing sector, led by a robust expansion of incoming new work and the fastest upturn in production volumes for eight months. Job creation also strengthened in July, with the latest increase in payroll numbers the fast...

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Texas Manufacturing Activity Stabilizes

1 DAY AGO

Texas factory activity held steady in July, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey . The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, came in near zero after two months of negative readings, suggesting output stopped falling this mon...

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Unlocking the Truth About Alternative Energy Sources

Yes, we are making strides toward developing alternative, cleaner energy sources such as wind, biomass and hydrogen technologies… but many in the industry believe coal gasification and nuclear power are the ‘real’ keys to reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

Development of alternative energy technologies has become a major national undertaking. It is an effort embraced by government and business, one that seeks to create an infrastructure of environmentally compatible processes that will, over time, supplant fossil fuels as the linchpin of economic progress and living standards. Investments in the field are soaring, and indications are that many of the technologies will eventually lead to economically viable applications that are safe, reliable and sustainable.

Phasing in alternative energy processes is a long-term proposition with plenty of opinions as to how quickly it should occur. Most experts that work in the field say it will be decades before technologies advance far enough to have a significant impact on the use of fossil fuels like oil and natural gas.

“In the time frame that seems plausible, in the next several decades, Chevron would not articulate that the value proposition for biofuels is the replacement of oil and gas resources,” says Rick Zalesky, vice president of biofuels and hydrogen for Chevron Technology Ventures in Houston.

The Department of Energy, in fact, predicts in its Annual Energy Outlook 2007 report, that oil, coal and natural gas will still have roughly the same share of primary energy supply in the United States in 2030 as in 2005—86%. The DOE attributes this not to a failure of alternative energy to find applications, but to its initial low penetration of the energy market and to the continuing growth in demand for electricity over the next 25 years.

Nevertheless, processing and distribution facilities are being built for the first wave of these technologies, and that means more valves and actuators will be employed in select energy markets, notably those involving high-heat and high-pressure processes, and in an application that’s not usually associated with “green” technology—nuclear power.

“Nuclear energy is an alternative to current energy policy,” says Greg Johnson, president of United Valve Company, a valve service and repair facility in Houston. His view is shared by many in the valve industry.

The demand for high-performance valves and actuators in these and other areas will expand as facilities come online. It may also spur many valve makers to increase investments in R&D. Experts working in technologies like coal gasification, nuclear power and hydrogen, say these applications will have operating conditions that require highly engineered valves—commodity items or off-the-shelf products will not be applicable. In the case of nuclear plants, valve manufacturers will additionally need to acquire an “N” stamp, indicating they meet a stringent set of quality requirements and documentation procedures for their products.

Nuclear plants will probably have the highest engineering standards for valves and actuators due to the dangers of a catastrophic failure. The first of a new generation of power plants, called Gen III+, are slated to be built in the United States beginning in 2010 (the first new U.S. nuclear plant since 1996).

“These plants operate a lot differently than old nuclear plants, so there will be different requirements for valves in the containment buildings,” says Rob Gormley, senior product manager at Enertech, a Brea, CA, company that supplies nuclear pressure-relief valves and other products in partnership with Dresser Consolidated, Addison, TX.

Looking farther ahead, Gormley notes the next step in nuclear plant design is Gen IV. Designs for these plants are now in development though construction won’t take place until around 2030. “The Gen IV plants will have much higher temperature requirements,” he remarks. “Valve designs don’t even exist today that could function in the high-temperature environment of those plants.”

Technologies for Today and the Future
About a dozen technologies are being developed as clean, renewable sources of fuel and energy. They include:

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