Modern Steam Power

Russell 25-75 steam engine

My Russell 25-75 steam engine. The picture was taken at my home in Palmyra, Michigan on May 18, 1975. I'm tuning it up for the National Thresher Reunion at Wauseon, Ohio. Picture taken by Nelson Ehringer of Palmyra, Michigan. [Percy let me drive his Peerl

Percy Sherman

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106 South Elm Street, Newkirk, Oklahoma 74647

Many people seem to think that steam power is completely out of date but this is not true by any means. The facts are that over eighty percent of the public electric power used in the United States is generated by steam turbines, about fifteen percent by water power, and the rest by diesel or gas burning internal combustion engines.

The boilers (steam generators) that produce the steam for the turbines are fired by coal, natural gas, or fuel oil. The 'atomic' power plants use steam turbines that are like the others but the boilers are fired by nuclear heat. The Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company is now preparing to build a modern electric generating plant in north central Oklahoma. The equipment they have ordered consists of the following:

Two steam generators (boilers) and two steam turbine-electrical generators which are scheduled for delivery in March and September of 1977.

The steam generators will be supplied by Combustion Engineering, Inc., and will cost approximately $16 million each. They will produce 3.8 million pounds of steam per hour at a pressure of two thousand and six hundred lbs. per sq. inch. The steam temperature will be 1005 degrees (Fahrenheit).

The turbines and electric generators (alternators) came from General Electric Company. They will produce 515,000 kilowatts for each unit at 3,600 revolutions per minute. Their estimated cost is $13 million for each unit. The total capacity of this plant will be 1,030,000 kilowatts, which is equal to 1,375,000 horse-power.

These boilers will burn coal that is to be brought from Wyoming. There is plenty of coal in Oklahoma but the ecologists say that it smells bad.

Incidently, Oklahoma Gas & Electric is an investor owned company that pays several million dollars taxes every year and is doing a good job supplying electric power for a large part of the state. They already have several big power plants, but none as large as this new one will be.

In describing these big steam plants I am not trying to make the old steam engine men ashamed of their love affair with the steam traction engine. Quite the other way around. My brother and I have an old steam engine that has been in the family over fifty years that we keep in better shape that it was when we were trying to make a living with it. We will have it fired up at the Ozark Steam Engine Association Show this fall. Come and see us.