Heavy liftingIt took a train, a flatbed truck and two cranes, but a key piece of the expansion project at Pope Douglas Solid Waste Management’s waste-to-energy facility is now in place.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
It took a train, a flatbed truck and two cranes, but a key piece of the expansion project at Pope Douglas Solid Waste Management’s waste-to-energy facility is now in place.
A 220,000-pound boiler was added to the plant’s unit three expansion on Wednesday.
It will be used to extract heat out of the flue gas and generate steam for the nearby 3M plant, Alexandria Technical and Community College, and the Douglas County Hospital.
As huge and heavy as it is, the boiler isn’t the most expensive part of the $19.4 million expansion. That would be the combustor, which arrived in several pieces – not as one component, according to Pete Olmscheid, executive director of the facility.
Getting the boiler here was quite an undertaking.
It was shipped via rail from Tulsa, Oklahoma and arrived in Glenwood this week. From there, it was loaded onto a 16-axle flatbed truck.
On its journey to Alexandria on Highway 29, workers had to raise the wires at 27 locations to give the boiler enough room to pass through.
Because of the boiler’s sheer weight, the Minnesota Department of Transportation wasn’t going to take any chances getting it across the Highway 29 overpass on Interstate 94.
So, before it got to the overpass, the truck was diverted onto the eastbound lanes of I-94 where it made a U-turn and came into Alexandria from the east and back on Highway 29 to the Pope/Douglas facility on Jefferson Street.
While these maneuvers were being made, the State Patrol provided an escort, stopping traffic to let the truck safely complete its route.
Two cranes – one 200-ton and the other 350-ton – then lifted the boiler off the flatbed, into a stand and its final destination.
Olmscheid said that after some preliminary testing, the new boiler and combustor are expected to be fully operational and online in mid-May of 2011.
The expanded facility will help Douglas and Pope counties handle their ever-increasing garbage disposal needs, according to Olmscheid.
The new combustor will be big enough to handle 120 tons of municipal solid waste per day by itself, which would double the facility’s current load.
It will be awhile before, if ever, the boiler is moved again. Olmscheid said it has a life expectancy of 20 years.