Every once in a while, I get to tour an actual industrial site still in use. While you may check this blog to learn about industrial archaeology- industrial sites long since abandoned; the sites today may be the industrial archaeology of tomorrow, and thus any documentation I can provide today could be used to figure out what happened. The old mines of yesterday were commonplace, ordinary, and not worth writing about- yesterday.
On March 25, 2010, several of us from New Mexico Tech were able to tour the PNM Reeves Generating Station, a natural gas-fired power plant at the north end of Albuquerque. The power plant was not running at the time, as they were doing some maintenance on the system.
First, we entered at the ground level and got to see some of the equipment there. I’m not entirely clear what each of these pieces of equipment does, and it was too noisy to ask our tour guide.
After that, we took an elevator up a few floors and looked out over the cooling towers, parts of the plant and distribution area:
Then, we got to see one of the firebox doors. This would be where we could see the fireball and check some of the instruments if this boiler had been in operation.
We went back inside and onto the turbine deck. One of the turbines had been shipped to be rebuilt. There was a motor that was used to keep spinning the shaft to keep it from sagging in the middle. The turbine spins at 3600 RPM- this gets you 60 Hz power at the outlet. I think many people assume the turbine spins faster if you want more power- but that is not the case!
I took a few blurry photos of some of the plumbing in the power plant. All lines are labeled with content and flow direction, which is pretty neat. I had seen that at other industrial sites, and it is a great idea.
We were invited back a few weeks later as they will have the turbines apart, and I’ll include these photos at a later date.