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What's the Yellow Smoke Coming from the Generating Station

hawc

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Often when I drive by this natural gas generating station (beside the old Hern historical preservation site) I see disgusting yellow smoke coming from the smokestacks.

Well this time I took a photo. What in the world is going on here? I've only ever seen white smoke coming out of other smokestacks.



Are they burning witches in there?
 

Jonny5

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Google tells me it's probably Nitrogen oxide. The common emissions from gas plants are Nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide. I jumped at sulphur dioxide since you said yellowish, but that is apparently a colourless gas, carbon monoxide is also colourless, so I'll go with NO as wikipedia says it's reddish and comes from nitric acid which is yellowish.
 
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EMP1729

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It is NO2, it is common emission for Gas Turbines when they start-up after a shutdown. It should burn-off after the plant continuously runs, however I think that if you are seeing that plume quite often, the plant is not being used continuously, but rather "on demand".
 

Automation Gallery

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AG,

That's a laughable assertion - i am fairly certain burning coal is cleaner, right?
AoD
Right, its not.... but then again, nothing eco smart about producing electricity by a gas fired powerplant.
Face it, this plant was shoved down our throats.... a development that even our former eco-friendly mayor wasnt happy with.
Its not so laughable to realize that many other parts of the world are way ahead of us with renewables..biomass, solar, wind, etc.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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EMP:

This is a peak demand plant - it wasn't meant to be used continuously I believe.

AG:

And when you get a hydro bill costing as much as those "many other parts of the world" with advanced renewables, I have a feeling you will be letting us know about it as well. If you are ready for that kind of energy policy, let us know who you'll vote for.

AoD
 

nfitz

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I think the populace as a whole has made it pretty clear that they would much prefer cheaper electricity than cleaner electricity. And are far more worried about the noise and property value impact from wind energy than the odd powerplant here or there.

So might as well just enjoy the view of the yellow smoke. I hear if it turns from yellow to then that means we've elected a new mayor or something.
 

Jonny5

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I think the populace as a whole has made it pretty clear that they would much prefer cheaper electricity than cleaner electricity.
Natural Gas is actually extremely cheap right now. IIRC it costs 1/5 of what it did 3 years ago.
 

hawc

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Where does Toronto get the majority of it's electricity? I don't mean geographically, but I mean what type of fuel? Nuclear? Coal? Gas?

Does it all come from Pickering Nuclear pretty much?
 

nfitz

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Where does Toronto get the majority of it's electricity? I don't mean geographically, but I mean what type of fuel? Nuclear? Coal? Gas?

Does it all come from Pickering Nuclear pretty much?
It's all on a grid, so hard to say exactly where it comes from.

However, the realtime, hour-by-hour, source for Ontario's electricy is on the front page of the website of the Independent Electricity System Operator http://ieso.ca/

From 5 pm to 6 pm today it was:
Nuclear: 10,046 MW
Hydro: 5,477 MW
Gas: 2,620 MW
Coal: 258 MW
Wind: 1,217 MW
Other: 163 MW


If you look at the consumption during the last week or so, the lowest hour is about 12,000 MW. So nuclear can't be much higher than that (because you can't create more electricity than you are using for long, or you have a big problem, and you can't turn down a nuclear reactor much). Also the daytime peak recently is about 22,000 MW. So at the peak, nuclear can only be 50% or so of your electricity.

The total capacity of the 6 reactors at Pickering is only 3,000 MW. It's likely much comes from Darlington which has a capacity of about 3,500 MW. The 6 active reactors at Bruce are almost 4,700 MW, and it will be over 6,000 MW if they get all 8 running at the same time.
 
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Nick.

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Where does Toronto get the majority of it's electricity? I don't mean geographically, but I mean what type of fuel? Nuclear? Coal? Gas?

Does it all come from Pickering Nuclear pretty much?
36% nuclear, 24% hydroelectric, 20% coal, 16% oil/gas and about 2% wind
 
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