The Environmental Dangers of Ethanol

Initially, ethanol seemed like a good idea, presented as a viable and renewable alternative fuel source. Unfortunately, the corn-based biofuel has not lived up to environmental expectations and may present more significant challenges. Ethanol blends produce air pollution, reduce fuel efficiency, increase corn and related food prices, and potentially cause engine damage to the vehicles which use them, according to this year’s report from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Environment Impact of Biofuels

In June, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released Biofuels and the Environment, a second triennial report to Congress which reported these findings and concluded corn-based biofuels are likely not the best approach for ensuring environmental health. Specific conclusions from the report include:

  • Land Use

Approximately 90 million acres are used annually for growing corn, with more than 40% dedicated to producing corn-based ethanol. This increased demand for corn cultivation creates a lack of biodiversity, deforestation, and competition for land.

  • Air Quality

Emission impacts of ethanol production and distribution should include considerations for volatile organic compounds, particular matter, and nitrogen oxides.

  • Water Use

Growing corn requires water, and the increased demand for corn-based ethanol is stressing aquifers and surface watersheds.

  • Soil and Water Quality

Biofuel feedstocks negatively impact soil and water quality through erosion, loss of nutrients, and excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

  • Invasive Species

Due to genetic modifications, herbicide-resistant feedstock, and associated herbicides, cultivation practices within the biofuel industry are creating herbicide-resistant weeds.

EPA’s Plan of Address

Recognizing a critical need for a plan of action, the EPA proposes several mitigation factors, including:

  • More research to better understand land use changes due to biofuel feedstock production
  • A federal effort to improve efficiency and sustainability in the biofuel supply chain
  • A complex evaluation of the impact of environmental and natural resources through biofuel production
  • Improving understanding of changes locally to enhance information resources for mitigation of adverse impacts
  • Encourage, incentivize, and promote conservation and sustainability in agriculture.

Learn More

At Central Metal Fabricators, we see the value in environmental care, EPA guidelines, and appropriate actions for conservation. As a leader in gas turbine silencing equipment since 1948, CMF produces a wide range of products used by both the standard fuel and biofuel industries.

To learn more about our initiatives and expansive line of products, please contact us. Stay current with the latest industry trends by following our blogTwitter, and connecting with us on LinkedIn.

Gas Turbines: How Do They Work?

Gas turbines are efficient machines for transferring fuel energy into mechanical energy. This involves using compression and combustion systems, as well as turbines. To better understand how gas turbine power plants work, you must understand the primary sections and how they break down.

The Main Equipment

One of the gas turbine’s main components is the compressor. It pulls in air and compresses it using rows of blades along a shaft. The air pressurizes more with each row it passes. The shaft connects and rotates along with the main gas turbine.

Next, the air moves from the compressor into the combustion system. In this process, the air mixes with fuel injectors built into the combustion chambers. Combustion results in very hot temperatures and a pressurized gas steam that goes through the turbine with a high level of energy.

Most energy conversion happens in the turbine system. It features rows of aerofoil-section blades attached to the shaft that gets rotated by kinetic energy from hot gases. The rotating blades spin a generator to create electricity. It also encourages the compressor to inhale more air into the combustion area. Electricity is produced when the turbine shaft connects to a generator.

More on Gas Turbines

Industrial gas turbines are widely used in manufacturing. The turbine is picked according to the engine, effectively generating electricity via the compressor, combustor, and turbine.

Over time, gas turbine power plants have become dependable conversion objects. Their performance depends on factors such as the pressure of the moving air (from compressor to combustion system), the temperature of the hot gas (leaving the combustor), and the exhaust gas temperature (escaping the turbine).

Trust in the Experts

Energy conversion efficiencies are complex phenomena. In-depth knowledge of a system is necessary to manufacture parts that are dependable and efficient within the overall plant. Thus, a gas turbine needs to be made with quality parts by experts in the field.

Our Central Metal Fabricators team manufactures precise, strong industrial products to use in accordance with combustion turbine units. Our product line includes dampers for gas turbines and gas turbine enclosures, enclosure panels and doors, exhaust diffusers, and more. Our reputation for crafting gas turbine silencing equipment dates back to 1948. At CMF, we also assemble and install parts properly for your convenience.

Stay up to date with Central Metal Fabricators, Inc. by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as our blog. For your gas turbine plant-related projects, find out how our products can have a positive impact when you contact CMF today.


A Positive Year for the Boiler and Steam Turbine Industries

A boiler is not sensational. A steam turbine doesn’t sound revolutionary. But the duo keeps most of the industrial world ticking.

2018 will be a positive and stable year for these key industries. With strong growth will come the promise of new jobs. The anticipated turn-around of the state of manufacturing in the country may just be evinced in their numbers.

Power Plants are Driving the Turbine Demand Curve

The turbine industry in the US is valued at a whopping 17 billion dollars and the market keeps expanding by 3.4% every year.

With the question of green and clean energy receiving a lot of attention, a major reason behind the escalating turbine momentum is the eschewing of coal-based power plants. Electricity requirements are expected to peak over 2018 to 2025. But the concern for the environment means power suppliers will try to balance fossil fuel output with clean and renewable output.

Plants that run on natural gas offer a sustainable alternative.

From Disney Land to Industrial Operations, Boiler Sales Pick up “Steam”

The iconic Disney trains that circle the amusement park are driven by boilers which consume a soy-based biodiesel. And many other public attractions have been inspired by this creative effort on part of the brand.

There are hardly any factories in the US where hot water boilers do not have the responsibility of seeing operations to completion.

Even the HVAC systems in homes depend on chiller boilers to maintain desired ambient temperatures.

Thus it’s no small wonder that the global boiler market is all set to touch a record high of 11.6 billion dollars in 2018. The strictly industrial segment is smaller at $803 million, but even this niche will experience growth of 2.8% by the end of the year.

Central Metal Fabricators is a Leader Serving These Industries

Lauded as a quality manufacturer of dampers for gas turbines, boiler accessories, boiler casings, busbars, steel hoppers and dampers for turbines, the positivity that’s on the horizon for the turbine and boiler markets also promises to make 2018 significant for Central Metal Fabricators.

We’ll continue to develop our existing product catalog and invest in perfecting services like sheet metal fabrication, replacement of parts and flux core arc welding, gas metal arc welding and shielded metal arc welding services.

We’re fully equipped to be a reliable partner for the manufacturing industries doing brisk business over the next 12 months.

If you are interested in staying abreast of the trends sweeping strategic production sectors, please follow us on the blog, Twitter and LinkedIn.

You can also connect with us here for a custom quote.


How Critical it is for the U.S. Power Supply to be Reliable?

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently called for a report on the dependability of our electricity grid to ensure it continues to provide Americans with the power they’ve come to expect.

The grid is undergoing substantial changes in order to keep pace with rising energy demand — some of the most profound changes since its inception, as a matter of fact — and the study is intended to assess “how certain policies are affecting, and potentially putting at risk, energy security and reliability.”

A dependable electrical grid is essential across all industries, but especially for manufacturing and fuel production.

The significant changes in how the U.S. generates its power is greatly tied to the Marcellus shale gas boom within the past ten years. The affordable, plentiful supply of natural gas from the shale formation in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and New York lessened U.S. dependence on imported gas and, in part, marginalized coal and nuclear power plants. The use of wind and solar power continues to rise, too.

The U.S. electricity system is a complex network of power plants, transmission and distribution wires, and electricity consumers, and ensuring it remains reliable will be no easy task. As we wait for the study to shed light on the grid’s dependability now — and in years to come — modernization efforts continue and integrate new technologies with the existing grid infrastructure.

Central Metal Fabricators is an industry leader in the production of silencers for exhaust stacks, inlet stacks, and enclosures. We also supply exhaust plenums, filtration systems, enclosure panels and doors, exhaust diffusers, turning vanes, vandal-rain-snow roof/guards, exhaust stack eductor assemblies, and acoustical-thermal panels, turbulators and turning vanes.

Let us help you with your gas turbine silencing needs. Contact us today, and follow our blog, as well as connecting with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


National Manufacturing Day 2017 is Almost Here

The annual National Manufacturing Day is the first Friday of October, so mark your calendars for Friday, October 6th, 2017. The initiative brings together manufacturers and communities in an educational way to address common industry issues.

MFG DAY events near you are listed on the site for interested personnel such as students, educators, media, politicians, and businessmen alike.

Industry Issues to Address

Although manufacturing is key to the economy, it still has its share of disputes. Current concerns being addressed are the manufacturing skills gap, public misconceptions about the industry, the amount of male versus female workers in the field, and the outsourcing of jobs overseas for cheaper labor.

National Manufacturing Day is one of the biggest initiatives supporting methods to overcome each hurdle.

What the National Manufacturing Day Entails

During both public and invitation-only visits, manufacturers have the opportunity to dissolve any myths about the manufacturing industry. Common misconceptions include dirty shop floors and low-paying positions, but today’s industry happens to be quite the opposite.

Step foot inside a facility and you will see that today’s manufacturing industry means technological advancements, STEM skills, secure job placement and benefits, as well as economic benefits across the country and across the globe.

The Importance of Manufacturing Today

The manufacturing sector has grown faster than the rest of the U.S. economy since the recession that ended in 2010. Manufacturing significantly impacts today’s economy, spurring economic growth, as well as encouraging innovation with its technological improvements in machinery. Plus, services are dependent on manufactured items. Let’s not forget that manufacturing creates employment too.

Central Metal and National Manufacturing Day

Central Metal Fabricators supports each National Manufacturing Day initiative, including bridging the skills gap, supporting male and female student proficiencies in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and encouraging reshoring of manufacturing activities.

For more information continue to follow our updates via TwitterLinkedIn, and company blog.

Here for Your Manufacturing Needs

Central Metal Fabricators has been a leading designer and manufacturer of gas turbine silencing equipment in the U.S. for more than half a century. Our gas turbine and utility parts such as hoppers, bus bars, boiler panels, and tanks are top quality. Our team works efficiently to fit within your project timelines.

To discuss how we can help your company initiatives, please contact us today.

NMD State Participation

Wind & Solar Energy Versus the Electric Grid: What’s the Best Energy Source When It Comes to Manufacturing?

As renewable energy sources, namely solar and wind energy, increase in popularity, many manufacturers are wondering where this leaves them.

What is the Dilemma?

As an industry, manufacturing is a large energy consumer. The paramount worry for many in the field is that their own energy sources will be siphoned off by grid operators when solar and wind drop short of expectations. The unreliable true nature of renewables is an unfortunate reality; if it is not a sunny or windy day, then neither energy source is strong.

From a manufacturing standpoint, the growing number of large-scale solar and wind facilities makes for an unreliable grid and reduces power quality, all of which are worrisome because they can equate with safety and reliability issues at the manufacturing site. These risks lay squarely on the shoulders of the energy consumers, with some of the biggest being manufacturers. While the eco-friendly nature of solar and wind as power sources are plentiful, there are issues with adopting them across the board.

Recently, the Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) spoke to the Washington Examiner. As per IECA CEO and President Paul Cicio, “Industrials are not in the business of generating and selling power. We are in the business of producing manufactured products.” Cicio adds that manufacturers cannot meet internal demands for power or steam if they act like a consumer power plant.

Looking for Solutions

It is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), federally chartered regional transmission organizations, and self-regulating system engineers of these markets that look over the issues. But the FERC’s latest Primary Frequency Response notice of proposed rulemaking will likely only serve to exacerbate the problems and put more responsibility on manufacturers. Unfortunately, utility operators and mechanics often do not have in-depth experience of manufacturing processes, thus not understanding the reliability that is vital for manufacturers.

Currently, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation is assessing the situation based on manufacturers’ grievances and any changes will occur through the standards design process.


Central Metal Fabricators

As a leading manufacturer of gas turbine silencing equipment, it is our responsibility to bring awareness to various circumstances that influence the manufacturing industry.

Here at Central Metal Fabricators, our experts will continue to keep you abreast of developments as we fabricate, assemble, and install top-quality gas turbine silencing equipment and related metal products.

Contact us today for your next order, and follow our blog, as well as connecting on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Natural-Gas Combustion Turbines Offer Alternative to Coal-Fired and Nuclear Power Generation

For many years now, energy companies throughout the U.S. have been using natural-gas combustion turbines to provide power usage. But the use and popularity of combustion turbines have grown, especially in recent years. And combustion turbine usage will most likely continue to increase in the coming years. In fact, on its website, Duke Energy, says combustion turbines “are an important part of our flexible energy mix.”


Low gas prices represent only one reason why utilities across the country are using natural-gas combustion turbines to generate electricity in response to the increasing demand for power. Government regulations and compliance to mandates to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 are other reasons why more utilities in the U.S. turn to natural-gas combustion turbines as successors to coal-fired power generation and nuclear power generation.

How do combustion turbines work? In broad and brief terms, here’s the process: Using natural gas or fuel oil, combustion turbines heat compressed air, and the heated air expands to drive a turbine-generator that produces the electricity.

If you want more details, we can be more specific about how combustion turbines work: Gas combustion turbines are complex machines, but can be broken down into three main components: the compressor, the combustion system and the turbine. The compressor draws air into the engine and then pressurizes it, feeding it into the combustion chamber at high speeds—hundreds of miles per hour. The combustion system consists of a ring of fuel injectors that feed the fuel into the combustion chambers. There, the fuel and air mix and are burned at high temperatures – over 2,000 degrees F! A high-pressure, high-temperature gas stream then enters, expanding through the turbine. In the turbine, alternating rotating and stationary blades cause combustion gas to expand, spinning the rotating blades, which are simultaneously driving the compressor to draw air into the combustion system, and spinning a generator to produce electricity.

Since there are more gas combustion turbines being used today, there are some issues with turbine noise. That’s where we can help! At Central Metal Fabricators, we design, manufacture, assemble and install combustion turbine silencing equipment, and we are recognized as a leader in the industry because we’ve been doing this successfully for almost seven decades now. We eradicate turbine noise problems for industrial clients and utilities, providing solutions that are both effective and economical. Check out our website for more information about what we do, or give us a call at 305-261-6262 to learn more about our capabilities.

Fracking’s Past, Present, And Future Success

Chances are, most American have heard the term “fracking” by now. Whether they live in an area where fracking is currently being done, or have no idea what it actually is, what all people should be made aware of is this: according to many experts, fracking “has created a revolution in U.S. oil and natural gas production.”*

Oil Derrick

One of these experts is H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis. In addition to the quoted statement above, Burnett points out these facts:

  • Growth of natural gas reserves is unprecedented
  • The U.S. is producing oil at rates not seen since the 1970s
  • Natural gas—the “fuel of choice for generating base load electricity” —could not play this role without fracking
  • Just 10% of the 516 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas located between NY and West Virginia
  • Could satisfy two years of total U.S. consumption
  • The Marcellus shale reserve, called “the Saudi Arabia of natural gas” by geologists, could contain over 410 TCF of gas

Burnett also points out that the Marcellus reserve is just one shale formation; there’s the California’s Monterey Shale, Eagle Ford, Barnett, and more. Assuming the lowest projected recovery rates for Marcellus still leads to the estimation that that reserve could meet the country’s demands for at least 14 years.

What’s more? Fracking has already proved to be revolutionary; in just the past few years, crude oil production has increased by two million barrels each day. Our increasing oil and gas independence, coupled with lower prices, has proved to be an across the board economic and industry booster, even playing a major part in bringing manufacturing back in a very big way.

In short, fracking is a huge part of the country’s past, present, and future economic success, and its potential is infinite, as long as it continues as its proponents hope it will.


Solar Energy’s Unexpected Limitations

In the search for better renewable energy, we’ve come a long way. Technology has increased significantly in the past decade, and the use of solar energy to create useable electricity occurs much more than it used to. But there’s one major problem with solar energy—one that is simultaneously obvious yet somehow unexpected.

What happens when the sun just doesn’t shine enough?

This is the exact problem a major solar power plant is currently experiencing; due to the fact that the sun just isn’t shining enough over it, it’s producing half the amount of energy as was expected of it. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, located in the desert bordering California and Nevada, is actually the largest facility of its kind in the world, and was built to produce enough power for 140,000 homes.

Built using innovative solar-thermal technology that works through 350,000 computer-controlled mirrors, the $2.2 billion project was supposed to be a breakthrough in alternative energy. However,“irregular weather patterns,” lack of sunlight, and “equipment challenges”* have posed problems for the ambitious project.

The problem is, as much potential as the sun has in terms of energy, it’s one thing that is beyond our control; we simply can’t alter the weather. Without enough sunlight, not enough power is generated, and it creates additional problems, including damaged equipment and even unsafe conditions.

While those involved in Ivanpah’s operation remain confident in the project, and the potential for its future success is still great, it does serve as a reminder that there are still some things that are out of our control, and that the most reliable forms of energy are still the ones we’ve been relying on for a very long time.

The Clean Power Plant Rule: 3 Questions and Answers

With the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plant Rule hearings now in the final stage, there are many questions surrounding them. There’s also plenty of controversy. Spanning a range of industries and locations, many people wonder how it will affect them; some are in favor, while others h2ly oppose.

In the interest of clarifying some confusion, we’d like to offer some information and help answer some questions regarding what you need to know.

How will coal-dependent states be affected?

Should the rule pass, many fear that the price of electricity will rise, especially for coal-dependent states. However, in actuality, some of the least coal-dependent states, including Maine, California, and Idaho, have the lowest electricity bills. At the same time, states such as West Virginia, the most coal-dependent, have much higher electricity bills. States like Iowa, with its nation-leading percentage of renewable electrons, have the lowest prices of electricity in the country.

How will electricity consumers be affected, overall?

The proposal aims to make states reach emission reductions through the most economical ways possible, while eliminating wasteful spending. By investing in renewables, focusing on efficiency, and balancing being clean with affordable, the goal is to make the cost to electricity consumers negligible, and in the future, lower than it is now.

Is this a purely partisan/Obama plan?

The short answer is no. Actually, George Bush proposed a “four pollutant” clean-up plan in 2000, but it was squashed due to opposition. Furthermore, the Supreme Court has ordered Obama to regulate carbon emissions following the Clean Air Act. The proposal, therefore, is not original to Obama, nor is it purely partisan. Both sides have tried to make it happen, and now the president must act on it. Supporting it is not supporting a party or a politician, and if all goes as planned, the hope is that it’s good for everyone.