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Construction began on the new Shasta Mill cogeneration Unit or 'cogen' as it is more commonly referred to, in May of 1982. The Shasta Mill cogen plant was designed by Energy Services, Incorporated.
The new cogen unit would be constructed out in the pulp mill, near the mill's maintenance department and the pulp mill recovery boiler. And just across the alley from the mill's power boiler unit. Shasta Cogen would produce electricity to sell out on the market, along with steam to be used inside the mill, thus hence the nickname- cogen.
Hourly personnel first employed at cogen transferred over from the Shasta Pulp Mill recovery boiler in order to train and thus gain knowledge on the various systems in order to operate the new innovative unit.
Originally designated as Simpson No.1, the Shasta Cogen unit came on-line just a year later, around May 21st-23rd of 1983.
The energy produced by Shasta Cogen was immediately purchased by PG&E and then distributed across their extensive electrical transmission system.
The above left and lower right photos depict Shasta Cogeneration during the initial start-up phase back in the late spring of 1983.
The jet engine cogeneration operation utilizes natural gas as it's primary fuel source. At the equipment's maximum rating, this jet engine is capable of producing 42 KW of electricity, which can power approximately 30,000 homes.
The electric generator was initially rated for 45 MW. However, during the duration of overall operation throughout it's many years of service, the unit has produced on average, about 40 to 42 MW maximum of electricity. This was because the Shasta Mill used most of the steam produced by the unit while the mill was in operation, thus cogen did not have any additional free steam to push the jet engine harder.
High pressure steam was used in various pulp and paper making operations at the mill such as at the Kamyr Continuous Digester and up on the two Beloit paper machines.
The General Electric Model LM 5000 jet engine type first used at Shasta Cogen is basically the very same model which is still in use at the operation today. In other words, a very reliable engine.
The GE LM5000 jet engine used at cogen is also very similar in design to those found on several models of the popular Boeing jetliner and McDonnell Douglas DC-10 type commercial wide-bodied passenger aircraft.
Right photo depicts the side view of an actual GE model LM5000 jet engine spare unit staged out on the main Shasta Cogen operating floor.
Left photo depicts the primary operational jet engine which is housed inside the Shasta Cogen engine room.
Due to both operational reliability and overall success of this system, the Shasta Cogen has celebrated numerous milestones or anniversaries throughout it's operational existence since it's 1983 start-up.
Various photos above depict both a five and ten year anniversary baseball cap which were distributed out to the Shasta Cogen operating personnel, as well as to maintenance and management employees.
Next photos depict a special celebration which took place over at Shasta Cogen in May of 1984, to both commemorate and honor it's very first year anniversary of continuous operation at the pulp and paper operation.
Several cakes, along with various flavors of ice cream were dished out and served to those mill employees attending, along with invited guests, to mark this very special occasion at the Shasta Mill.
In order to control emissions originating from the unit, demineralized water was injected in the combustor. This was the first unit in the entire United States to implement this theory. Soon afterward, GE introduced steam injection into the engine. This conversion process took place in June of 1985.
This advancement had two benefits, it helped to keep emissions down and also pushed more production out of the jet engine.
Left photo: Modifications being made to Cogen.
During it's entire operation at Shasta, cogen has only had one major downtime issue due to mechanical failure. In the mid 1980s, a metal fan blade component on the jet engine assembly partially disintegrated while the unit was in operation, which resulted in the jet engine requiring to be taken off-line so that necessary repairs could then be performed.
Next three photos depict the damaged fan blade component requiring replacement.
Above photos depict Shasta Mill maintenance personnel replacing the damaged fan blade.
Once again, it should be noted that the Shasta Mill Cogen operation was the very first STIG (steam injection) generation site in the nation.
Cogen can generate roughly about 200,000 lbs an hour of steam, with the additional support of a duct burner unit in order to produce extra steam. However, this practice uses much more natural gas.
The only other major equipment upgrade which has been performed since the cogen operation first went online in May 1983 has been to the MICRO/NET instrumentation system controls found in the control room.
This system is used to both monitor and control the cogen operation. The control room instrumentation panels/displays have now been recently upgraded with a modern state of the art Woodward control system which was installed in the main cogen control room approximately four to five years ago.
Until May of 2013, the Shasta Mill cogen unit was the only original equipment left that was still in operation after the mill ceased operations in August of 2001. Simpson sold the Cogen operation to another vendor in the mid 1990s. Cogen ceased operations in May 2013.