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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 11

I The Present Energy Economy

II Australian Energy Consumption

III Research And Development

IV Coal

V Oil And Natural Gas

VI Solar Energy

VII Nuclear Energy

VIII Bagasse Firewood And Other Biomass

IX Electric Power Generation And Distribution electric Power Generation And Distribution
i Types of generating stations
ii Transmission and distribution
iii System load control
iv Australian manufacturing in the power industry
v Queensland
vi New South Wales
vii Victoria
viii Tasmania
ix South Australia
x Western Australia
xi Northern Territory
xii Australian Capital Territory
xiii The Snowy Mountains Scheme

X Manufactured Gas

XI Industrial Process Heat



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Australian manufacturing in the power industry

The last three decades have seen substantial increase in the proportion of plant and materials manufactured in Australia for power stations, sub-stations and power lines. A particular area is in steel fabrication -for structures (including transmission line towers); boiler components, water conduits and valves, and dueling for steam stations; and major components of the largest hydro stations. Specialist items are usually made to overseas design, but a majority of design is performed locally.

In the electrical plant field many items of switchgear and transformers (up to the highest voltages) are made in Australia, mostly under licence in principle to overseas firms, but with local design and many innovative refinements. A full range of bare conductors (up to 500 kV sizes) and insulated cables (up to 33 kV) is made in Australia, using world proven techniques. Isolated phase busbars for heavy current connections are also designed and made locally.

Some special problems arising from the use of difficult black and brown coals have been solved predominantly within Australia. International Combustion Australia Ltd. (ICAL) have developed better ball mills for coal pulverisation which substantially increase working life before major maintenance.

A new system of dust removal from flue gases by fabric bags with shaker action was developed by James Howden and Co. Australia Pty. Ltd., in conjunction with the Electricity Commission of NSW. This system has increased the efficiency of fine particle removal well beyond previous electrostatic devices, and virtually eliminated dust emissions. Howdens also achieved a significant reduction of sound emission from the flue gas outlet of Induction Draught fans at Eraring Power Station in NSW. These two developments are in the forefront of world technology.

Flakt Australia Ltd. solved some difficult problems with brown coal furnaces at Yallourn West, where dust and char collection had been troublesome.

Many products for use in power station auxiliary systems have been made locally for several decades, often using standard specifications and layouts developed by the generating authorities. In the field of electricity distribution, several important innovations of Australian origin deserve mention. The 'Stobie' ferro-concrete pole is described below. (See p. 833). The Single Wire Earth Return (SWER) system was developed to achieve minimum cost in supplying widely dispersed rural customers, and is used in most States. The dire consequences of bushfires from electrical causes have resulted (inter alia) in greatly improved sparkproof elements for 11 kV expulsion fuses, as a result of work at Sydney University; the development by several firms of spun reinforced-concrete poles as economic and fireproof replacements for wood poles; also, the development of Insulated Bundled Aerial Cables (up to 22 kV) and special fittings by Cablemakers Australia Ltd., for use on lines in areas of heavy tree growth. In 1986 Humes Ltd. commenced manufacture of reinforced concrete poles in an automated factory built for the purpose at Clayton, Victoria.

This list of examples is far from complete, and apology is made for omissions; it will be apparent, however, that Australian industry takes a very significant share of designing and providing the necessary materials for power generation, transmission and distribution. While the limited demand for major items like turbo-generators will probably always preclude their manufacture here, the engineering capability of Australian power authorities, consultants and manufacturers will increasingly play a major role in the overall planning, designing and provision of power supply systems in this country. Moreover, the unique characteristics of Australian fuels, weather and supply route distances will continue to produce innovative local developments.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Cablemakers Australia Ltd; Electricity Commission of New South Wales; Flakt Australia Ltd; Humes Ltd; Insulated Bundled Aerial Cables; International Combustion of Australia (I.C.A.L.); James Howden and Co. Australia Pty Ltd

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 826 - 828, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher