Basic Engineering Is Like Tailoring, Not ‘Copy Paste’ – Essay


Years ago, we embarked on the construction of a combined cycle power plant with a capacity of 478 MWe output electricity generation, on Turkish Therace at north west korner of Turkey close to the West Russian natural gas pipeline, next to the LNG terminal on the northern shores of the Sea of ​​Marmara. As always agreed earlier, the local partner had undertaken the scope of civil construction, field assembly and simple non-pressure steel fabrication. Foreign partner was doing the basic engineering, feasibility, design, gas turbine, steam turbine supply, waste heat boiler design of the foreign joint business.

Well-known İnternational engineering company sent us a layout plan for the new power plant. It turned out to be that it was the layout of the power plant that had been built elsewhere before. They changed the title block and sent it. They said project worked here, it will work there. We placed this layout plan on the real topography, and the site work has begun. However, our topography was not a flat area. The place where the water storage tanks were located was on a hill. When the job was done, the seawater was pumped up, then dumped into the sea after cooling. Because of this updraft, an extra 2-MW of internal demand was lost due to the use of power plant water pumps.

However, another similar project with 480 Mwe on the same side, even though it was further away from the sea, did not suffer this 2-Mwe internal power loss. Would we make this mistake today? No, if we come across such a ready-made project today, we will not do it. Now we have experienced engineers, powerful computers, new software used by all reliable engineering companies. We can now do our own engineering design work entirely by ourselves.

A similar situation has come to the picture for the nuclear power plant these days. The layout of a nuclear power plant, which was built 50-years ago in the very cold northern country, was implemented in our project, including the almost exact equipment. One inevitably remembers what happened in previous projects. We hope there will be no incompatibility in the future,

Unfortunately, similar situations happen a lot in projects. In order to avoid the basic design costs of the project, an old project is taken as it is, applied, but it does not work, the copy-paste application does not work. The layout plans of the equivalent projects in distant geographies were used in the construction of the local aluminum factory, aging iron and steel plant, and expired thermal power plant. These businesses worked, but they worked hard. Projects compatible with the freezing winter and scorching summer months there created problems in our geography. We have to do the project engineering field assembly turnkey works by ourselves. We must be in full project control.

Due to the business shrinkage in the domestic market, our experienced engineering and contracting firms sought international projects and found them. Now we can buy special equipment, we can make foundation and detail design engineering, and we can do turnkey construction, and field erection works as always.

Last word. Good Money is always earned by doing turnkey business.

Haluk Direskeneli

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

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