TVA Scientists, Engineers Receive EPRI Honors for Research, Lifetime Service
July 13, 2010
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- From air quality monitoring to advancing the power grid, the Tennessee Valley Authority is sharing its scientific insights and engineering expertise as part of its public service mission.
Six TVA employees this year have received Technology Transfer Awards from the Electric Power Research Institute -- an independent, nonprofit research organization -- for their collaborative efforts tackling big challenges facing the electric utility industry.
Also, upon his retirement, TVA Environmental Projects Manager Tom Burnett received EPRI’s Lifetime Service Award. A national expert in hazardous air pollutants and control technologies, Burnett previously won EPRI accolades for evaluating selective catalytic reduction systems for power plants and for monitoring fine particulates in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Bryan Hannegan, EPRI vice president for Environment and Renewable Energy, said the “hard work, commitment and leadership demonstrated by these award winners help make electricity more affordable, more reliable and sustainable for this and future generations.”
TVA Vice President for Technology Innovation Dr. Ramesh Shankar said, “This recognition by EPRI of TVA in furthering research for the utility industry at large and TVA in particular is a testimonial to the talent we have.”
Among those honored, Suzanne Fisher, an environmental scientist and senior adviser in TVA Technology Innovation in Knoxville, was cited for her analysis of more than 20 years of research by EPRI and others on the variety of ways ecosystems react to acid deposition.
Her report formed EPRI’s response to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to revise so-called secondary air quality standards. EPA wants to more closely link smokestack limits on nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides to their impact on soil, water, visibility, plants and animals.
“This is a first for EPA because essentially what they want to do is go from an ambient air quality standard down to deposition and associated ecological effects. They are going from air to water to something on the ground,” Fisher said.
Developing a national standard, even with some variations between states, will require computer models that account for regional differences, including climate and soil conditions.
“What the EPRI white paper did was go through and point out those kinds of things, and just take a look at the science behind the modeling and the risk exposure,” Fisher said.
EPRI Senior Project Manager Eladio Knipping praised Fisher’s knowledge about the issues and her ability to quickly generate an analysis that satisfied an exacting team of EPRI experts. EPA expects to issue draft rules later this year and final regulations in 2012.
Other EPRI winners:
Ralph McKosky, a project manager in Technology Innovation, and Mark Goff, a systems engineer in Power Systems Operations, both in Chattanooga, for their contributions to advances in transmission and substation sensor design and deployment.
Lisa Beard, a retired project manager in Technology Innovation, and Ritchie Carroll, a retired Power Systems Operations manager in Chattanooga, for demonstrating an EPRI-developed, power-grid monitoring system called a Wide Area Power System Visualization Application. The system will give operators better tools to observe grid conditions in real-time and to detect and locate power disturbances.
Michael Turnbow, general manager in Inspection and Testing in Chattanooga, for preparing a guidance document about ultrasonic exams of dissimilar metal welds, benefiting EPRI’s Materials Reliability Program and its Boiling Water Reactor Vessels Internals Project.
“Our commitment to EPRI is vast and deep, with over 100 TVA engineers and scientists serving on EPRI councils and advisory committees,” Shankar said. “This collaboration has continued to yield solid, practical and useful results.”
EPRI has offices and labs in Palo Alto, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Lenox, Mass., and Knoxville, Tenn.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government, provides electricity for utility and business customers in most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia – an area of 80,000 square miles with a population of 9 million. TVA operates 29 hydroelectric dams, 11 coal-fired power plants, three nuclear plants and 11 natural gas-fired power facilities and supplies up to 33,700 megawatts of electricity, delivered over 16,000 miles of high-voltage power lines. TVA also provides flood control, navigation, land management and recreation for the Tennessee River system and works with local utilities and state and local governments to promote economic development across the region. TVA, which makes no profits and receives no taxpayer money, is funded by sales of electricity to its customers. Electricity prices in TVA’s service territory are below the national average.
Barbara Martocci, Knoxville, (865) 632-8632
Media Relations, Knoxville (865) 632-6000