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Associate in Specialized Technology Degree

Through the operation of the college power plant and maintenance of its utilities, students gain valuable practical experience preparing them for positions in the power and utilities industries. Students take turns with shift work, which includes readings and adjustments, start-up and shutdown of plant equipment, daily water treatment tests, and mechanical and electrical maintenance.

Students also learn the proper operation, maintenance, and testing of boilers, turbines, diesel engines, electric generators, switch gear, pumps and other auxiliary equipment, as well as the theory of nuclear, fossil fuel, hydroelectric and other systems of power generation. The NUS Training Corporation’s video-based power plant training program has been incorporated as part of the technical curriculum. The basic principles of electricity, electrical power, motor controls, wiring diagrams, engineering mechanics, and mechanical and electrical systems are also covered, along with accident prevention, foremanship, and management. Additional courses to strengthen students’ knowledge and skills include boiler/turbine instrumentation, welding, and metal survey. On an annual basis, students have participated in a power plant maintenance shutdown at a local refuse-to-steam plant.

Introduction to the Program

“Students also learn the proper operation, maintenance, and testing of boilers, turbines, diesel engines, electric generators, switch gear, pumps and other auxiliary equipment, as well as the theory of nuclear, fossil fuel, hydroelectric and other systems of power generation.”

Scott Chilman, Director of Power Plant Technology and Utility Systems

Employment Information

Potential Power Plant Jobs

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Power Plant Technology Courses

ELPP 111 Basic Electricity

Provides an introduction to basic electrical theory: how voltage is produced; the use of Ohm’s Law to relate current, voltage, and resistance; series and parallel circuits; electromagnetism; and DC and AC systems. Introduces basic electric power components: batteries, generators, motors, transformers, solenoids, relays, fuses, and circuit breakers.

ELPP 112 Electrical Wiring Lab

Familiarizes students with the principles of motor control and controllers and industrial wiring, including the principles of electrical safety with the use of the National Electrical Code. Provides an introduction to residential and commercial wiring along with practice in the safe construction of simple wiring circuits.

ELPP 221 Electrical Power I

Offers an introduction to electrical power generators, including the overall power generation system, exciters, voltage regulators, and generator auxiliary systems. Also introduces how to startup, run, and shut down AC generators. Covers basic AC circuits with resistive, inductive, and capacitive loads. Provides instruction in the calculation and measurement of real power, apparent power, and reactive power. Introduces single phase transformations and motors.

ELPP 231 Electrical Power II

Introduces three phase power and how it is generated. Studies Wye and Delta transformer connections with current, voltage, and power calculations for resistive, capacitive, and inductive loads. Also introduces high voltage power transmission, station service systems, and switchyard and substation components. Offers lab study of motors and generators.

ELPP 232 Introduction to Distributed Control Systems

Utilizing appropriate training equipment – the Rockwell Automation Educational Kit Software and Allen-Bradley CompactLogix Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) – introduces students to Distributed Control Systems (DCS) and their various parts and processes. Students develop and troubleshoot process control operating screens that interact with PLCs.

ELPP 251 Industrial Motor Control

Examines various types of motor control circuits including full and reduced voltage starters, manual and automatic controls, and sensing and control devices. Lab exercises make extensive use of fault insertion and troubleshooting techniques and include a design project. Examines solid state devices in depth.

ELPP 261 Programmable Logic Controllers

Introduces students to PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) using state-of-the-art training equipment. Through lab intensive instruction, students learn to program the Allen-Bradley SLC-500 PLC. Students write, program, and troubleshoot control circuits containing timers, counters, comparison circuits, bit shift operations, and sequencer functions.

PRPL 111 High Pressure Boilers

Introduces basic principles of stationary engineering and gives an overview of the school’s Power Plant operations, with special emphasis on high pressure boilers, job safety, and operational efficiency.

PRPL 112 Auxiliary Plant Operator Practice I

Provides experience in the practical skills required of power plant workers, with emphasis on serving as a shift operator/helper in the school’s Power Plant, plus assisting with the maintenance of school utilities, practicing good housekeeping in the workplace, and observing safety rules in all work assignments. Thoroughly covers the Power Plant Student Manual.

PRPL 121 Basic Power Plant Theory

Introduces basic utility boilers, including natural circulation, controlled circulation, and once-through designs. Discusses startup, shutdown, and normal operation, and covers air and flue gas flow paths and steam and water flow paths.

PRPL 122 Auxiliary Plant Operator Practice II

Provides for continued development of fundamental equipment maintenance skills with a concentration on carrying out electrical and mechanical maintenance procedures, replacing faulty pipes and pipe fittings, serving as shift operator/helper in the school’s Power Plant, and demonstrating knowledge of safety and accident prevention rules. Comprehensively covers the school’s power plant equipment operating procedures.

PRPL 123 Boiler Chemistry

Introduces the basic principles of water chemistry as applied to boilers and cooling towers. Students learn about the properties of water and about the changes that certain substances in the plant go through when exposed to water. Specific attention is directed to the structure of elements and compounds, chemical reactions, the basics of raw water treatment, and the application of water chemistry to plant systems.

PRPL 124 Power Plant Auxiliaries

Exposes students to power plant systems and processes, including fluid flow in the feedwater system, heat transfer in the heat exchangers, feedwater heaters and deaerators, compressors and fans, condensers, circulating water, and pumps.

PRPL 231 Plant Cycle and Systems

Studies the physical characteristics of water and steam. Reviews the plant steam cycle and how the properties of water and steam change as fluid flows through the various plant cycle components. Uses steam tables with the thermodynamics of enthalpy change in the boiler and turbine, along with Mollier diagram to study the properties of steam.

PRPL 232 Plant Operator Practice I

Assists in further improving basic skills, including boiler water testing, and prepares students for more advanced responsibilities in maintaining school utilities and in supervising power plant shifts and student helpers.

PRPL 241 Boilers and Combustion

Studies typical utility boilers, fuels, and combustion, including heat value, moisture content, sulfur content, fuel handling, and ash removal systems.Using the college’s power plant, students will: investigate natural gas and fuel oil combustion; calculate boiler efficiency and electric generation efficiency; perform flue gas analysis while burning fuel oil and natural gas; measure stack velocities; and calculate heat rate through the steam turbine plant cycle.

PRPL 242 Plant Operator Practice II

Emphasizes improvement of basic skills learned in previous courses and develops advanced skills in boiler repairs, industrial electrical system maintenance, and operation and maintenance of boiler auxiliaries, pumps, and steam traps. Includes supervising other student workers in performing assigned duties relating to plant operations.

PRPL 243 Introduction to Process Instrumentation and Automatic Controls

Introduces the basic principles of process measurement parameters such as flow, pressure, level, and temperature. Lab exercises augment classroom theory.

PRPL 244 Boiler Simulator Lab

Using a simulator that represents a 600MW power plant, students function as operators, performing cold start-ups, shut downs, regulating plant operations, and responding to equipment failures.

PRPL 245 Gas Turbines and Combined Cycle

Introduces the principles, basic fundamentals, and operation of a combined cycle power plant. Discusses all major systems and functions of a combined cycle plant, including the basic operation of a gas turbine, heat recovery steam generator (HRSG), steam turbine and balance of plant systems.

PRPL 251 Boiler Design and Environmental Protection

Explores the many types of utility boilers, including pulverized coal, fluidized bed boilers, cyclone and stoker boilers, and nuclear powered units. Emphasizes environmental protection and plant protection.

PRPL 252 Plant Supervisor Practice I

Advances operational skills learned in previous courses and assists in the development of supervision and leadership skills in a power plant setting by assigning each senior a term of responsibility for serving as student chief engineer of operations, acting as supervisor of other student workers in the maintenance of campus utilities; setting priorities and scheduling work assignments as part of plant maintenance foreman duties; and working weekends and holiday shifts as senior operator in the school’s Power Plant.

PRPL 253 Advanced Process Instrumentation and Automatic Control

Examines on-line boiler control concepts, including combustion, feedwater, header pressure, oxygen percent, power demand, and other processes, with special attention to high pressure (above 15 psi.) steam boilers as applied to industrial power generation and process heat supply. Emphasizes on-line boiler control procedures and typical applications that illustrate outcomes associated with such procedures. Includes lab experiments in drum level and steam process control.

PRPL 257 Hydraulics, and Pneumatics

Introduces basic fluid flow energy units, parameters, and calculations, including: types of fluid energy (kinetic, potential, and pressure), Extended Bernoulli equation, Reynolds number, types of flow (laminar, turbulent, and critical), conservation of mass, relative roughness, friction factor, major and minor pipe losses, along with flow measurement devices. Introduces basic principles of industrial hydraulics and pneumatics, including types of fluids and their use to transmit power throughout various circuits. Examines pumps, compressors, circuit components and their application and control, and covers such elements as flow, pressure, force, temperature, torque, speed, horsepower, efficiency, fluid and system conditioning, as well as component and circuit performance.

PRPL 261 Turbines

Thoroughly discusses steam turbine design, construction, and operation. Introduces turbine control and instrumentation, along with gas turbines, diesel generators, and combined cycles.

PRPL 262 Plant Supervisor Practice II

Emphasizes continued student development and refinement of practical skills in power plant operations, in the performance of maintenance tasks to improve and upgrade school facilities, and in the exercise of supervisory responsibilities involving underclassmen assigned to maintenance and operation projects.

PRPL 263 Introduction to Thermodynamics

Offers a basic study of the theories of thermodynamics, including application to unit systems, heat transfer, and tables of properties. Emphasizes operational problem-solving as well as understanding the steam cycles throughout the power plant in relation to the principles of thermodynamics.

PRPL 265 Introduction to Statics

Studies force systems and the conditions of equilibrium for particles and rigid-bodies. Introduces the basic principles of drawing free body diagrams, analysis of forces, distributed loads and moments, as well as calculating centers of gravity and moments of inertia when applied to engineering system components and structures.

PRPL 266 Introduction to Strength of Materials

Studies the basic concepts in strength of materials under normal conditions compared to shear, bending, and bearing stresses. Introduces the study of stress-strain relationships, the design properties of materials, and the practical application of structure formulas for sizing bolts, rivets, shafts, beams, columns, and pressure vessels with an emphasis on understanding load, sheer, and bending moment diagrams.