How TMPA works
TMPA operates the Gibbons Creek Steam Electric Station which is a coal fired steam
electric plant. Heat from burning coal creates steam which powers a turbine generator
creating electricity. TMPA's coal comes from the Powder River Basin (PRB) in Wyoming
and is a clean, low-sulfur fuel. Once mined, the coal is loaded on a train for transport
to Texas. As it is received at the plant, the coal is in softball sized chunks and
is stored in a large pile. Approximately 6000 tons of coal per day travels from
the pile on a conveyer belt system to silos on the boiler. From the silos, coal
is fed to pulverizers where the coal chunks are ground into a powder the consistency
of face powder. There are 8 pulverizers, each driven by a 600 HP motor.
Heated air is then used to blow the fuel into the boiler furnace where it burns
at temperatures as high as 3,000 degrees. The walls of the boiler furnace are made
out of pipes which have pressurized water flowing through them. The heat from the
fire turns the water to steam. Approximately 3.3 million pounds of steam per hour
is then superheated from 600 degrees to 1000 degrees and used to spin a steam turbine.
The electricity from the generator is 22,000 volts before it reaches the Gibbons
Creek Switchyard - there a transformer steps it up to either 135,000 volts or 384,000
volts where it is fed into the Texas power grid via transmission lines. These transmission
lines are connected to smaller distribution centers where electricity is delivered
to your home or office.
Reheat & Cooling
Steam is returned to the boiler for reheating where it is used for other applications. Once complete, steam is cooled in condensers by water from the Gibbons Creek Reservoir. The lake cooling water is returned to the lake after it has performed it's cooling function.