Here are some pictures from my visit to the Merom generating station …
This is the bottom part of the boiler–a ten-story tall structure that gets as hot as 2000 degrees F. You can get a sense of how dim and gloomy the interior of a coal power plant is.
These are the generators. At full bore they produce around 1000 MW of electricity. Standing of front of the generators is Michalene Reilly, who lead the tour. She the manager of environmental services for Hoosier Energy.
It’s a little hard to see, but all these pipes and valves are part of the mechanism for channeling steam to spin the turbines. One of the most common maintenance tasks at the plant is fixing steam leaks. It’s a dangerous job, because the steam is hot enough to slice right through most things in its path, including people.
This is where the coal, after being pulverized into a fine dust, is blown into the boiler, where it explodes in a giant fireball. There are 24 of these chutes, 12 on each side of the boiler.
Directly outside the plant, these lines and towers boost the electricity before it travels the lines to stations that then convert it to a level appropriate for home use.
Finally, here’s the tower pumping out all that beautiful, toxic steam. It piles up in the air for several hundred feet, then disperses as a long, trailing mass of cloud stretching several miles into the distance.