Burns & McDonnell’s milestone in heat recovery project

08 September 2020

After 16 months of razing work, Burns & McDonnell has completed the demolition phase of a five-year project to convert R.D. Morrow, Sr. Generating Station (Plant Morrow) from coal to a natural gas-fired combined-cycle plant. When fully operational in early 2023, the combined-cycle plant equipped with advanced-class combustion turbine technology and reusing an existing steam turbine will be able to generate 550 MW of energy, becoming the most efficient coal-to-gas heat recovery repower project in North America. 

Facing a fast-approaching power deficit within the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) market, Cooperative Energy announced plans to bolster generation at Plant Morrow in 2018. Rather than build a new greenfield plant, the cooperative partnered with Burns & McDonnell to evaluate all possible options, including repowering one of the utility’s two coal-fired plants.

While repowering has grown increasingly common, a heat recovery repower is unique in that it adds a natural gas combustion turbine within the existing infrastructure.

Now that demolition is complete, crews have moved on to excavation, piling, and execution of the project’s foundation package. The repowered unit is expected to begin firing in summer 2022 and go commercial by March 2023.