Energize!

Princeton sophomores get real-world view at Sewaren plant

Princeton University Lecturer Lamyaa El-Gabry believes in giving her students a first-hand look at the concepts they’re learning in her thermodynamics class, part of Princeton Engineering’s mechanical and aerospace department. One up-close look at the 8-million-pound heat recovery steam generator, during her class’ recent tour of PSEG Fossil’s Sewaren 7 Generating Plant, and you would understand why. The 138-foot-tall HRSG that contains more than 10,000 feet of piping can get to 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit at its hottest. As one of the tour guides, Maintenance Manager Dave Williams, put it, “It’s like a very large boiler.”

Another guide, Generation Engineer Ben Fiedler, explained that Sewaren, a combined-cycle, natural gas turbine HRSG, is one of the most efficient power plants in the region. It produces 538 megawatts, or enough electricity to power about 538,000 homes in New Jersey.

“It’s pretty cool,” summed up Yousuf Tariq-Shuaib, one of about 30 sophomores on the trip. “I live in the city and I never get to see stuff like this.”

Jessica Wilson, a third-year graduate assistant, said the field trips and connections made are important because some of these students may work places like Sewaren.

“They get to see the scale,” Wilson said. “I think I enjoyed it more than they did.”

The students, who took notes and pictures while touring, asked questions about careers and the environment, such as the difference between plants that use reclaimed sewage and those that do not. One such question sparked marvel when they learned that Sewaren’s closed-loop system cycles about 100 gallons of water per minute.

Plant Manager Martin Hayes told the students to “take advantage of the opportunity to visit a state-of-the-art facility” and encouraged them to “think about careers in energy, where we have employees certified in mechanical and electrical trades and qualified in the medical, engineering finance and legal fields, just to mention some.”

Gary Curcio, Business Customer Solutions, who helped plan the trip noted that he learned a few new things too as he enjoyed “being a Princeton student for a day.”

Lauren Ugorji - Lead Writer, PSE&G

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