Thursday, November 15, 2007
CFI lands another big project
By SUE WATSON
Contract Fabricators Inc., a locally owned and operated fabricator, is once again stretching its capabilities with the addition of a multi-million dollar project, according to Boyce DeLashmit.
“Our sales have increased about 300 percent in the last six months and we have contracts into the first quarter of 2009,” he said.
The Holly Springs company has been awarded a contract to build a coal gasification system for a utility company in Orlando, Fla., DeLashmit said.
To keep work flowing on time, CFI is doubling its office space to bring in more engineers, particularly mechanical engineers, he said. The company is also looking for an assembly site near a river.
DeLashmit said components for some of its projects are so large they cannot be shipped over highways or the rails and must be assembled near rivers and shipped on barges. One component for this project weighs 400 tons.
The fabricators have already invested in special cranes to handle heavy pieces.
“Up until now, 90 percent of CFI’s work has been done for oil refineries in the United States and abroad,” Delashmit said. “However, we are now taking on a large coal gasification system project for a utility.”
The United States has enough coal to last another 100 years, he said. And that coal is a major source of fuel and energy for the United States.
Coal fired plants are moving to the liquid form (coal gasification) in order to address environmental issues that are connected with burning coal to run turbines that generate electricity.
Coal gasification is a cleaner way of producing fuel (heat to produce steam for turbines) for utilities and also produces many byproducts useful to the chemical industry as well as hydrogen fuel that can be used in fuel cells and as a feedstock for refineries.
Some byproducts of the coal gasification process that are useful in other industries include sulfur or sulfuric acid, ammonia, mineral slag and hydrogen.
Integrated gasification combined cycle systems use a combustion driven turbine and a steam turbine to achieve unprecedented power generation efficiencies, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Today, commercially available gasification systems can operate at about 42 percent efficiencies but in the future are expected to achieve efficiencies approaching 60 percent and to cut carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas) emission by 40 percent compared to a typical coal combustion plant, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
CFI will need more space and more engineers as projects get bigger and more complex.
“It’s all a part of the ongoing plan we have to increase our engineering capabilities,” Delashmit said.
“We’re trying to find more mechanical engineers from Mississippi - graduates from Mississippi State University and Ole Miss,” Delashmit said.
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