FiberSystems in Dayton, Ohio, made a splash for composites recently when its GFRP pipe was chosen over conventional materials for a fish-friendly project at National Grid’s Port Jefferson Power Station on Long Island. Located on the southwestern shore of Port Jefferson Harbor in the Long Island Sound, the facility has two active natural gas and oil-fired steam-electric units that generate more than 360 megawatts of electricity.
According to the environmental watchdog organization Grace Communications Foundation, the Port Jefferson Power Station takes in nearly 400 gallons of water each day – and simultaneously tens of thousands of fish each year. Port Jefferson Harbor is classified by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation as SA waters – the highest class of marine waters, indicating outstanding natural resources that should be preserved. As such, National Grid wanted to ensure that the varied species of marine fish, from bluefish to northern puffer and striped bass, could be safely returned to their natural habitat.
Last spring, National Grid installed special fish screens to “catch” the fish for return into the Port Jefferson Harbor. FiberSystems was selected to fabricate a relatively small, but important discharge pipe that would carry the fish and debris collected in the screen troughs back into the harbor. The specifications for this fish bypass tube called for a 69-inch long, 22-inch diameter corrosion-resistant pipe with ¼-inch thick walls. The tube needed to be water tight with a seamless interior, two ninety degree turns, a flange and a specially-beveled end.
“It was right up our alley,” says Tim Morton, vice president of operations at FiberSystems, who calls his company a small “mom-and-pop shop” that thrives on challenging FRP projects. “We are a fabricator’s fabricator,” he says.
According to Mathew Gaskin, lead engineer at National Grid, traditional materials such as metal were considered before choosing a GFRP solution. In a press release, he said, “We looked at several designs, including flanged or mitered sections that could be fastened into the shape we needed, but the FiberSystems’ FRP product offered a lightweight alternative that precisely conformed to our dimensions.” Gaskin added that National Grid could justify the higher cost of the FRP pipe because of its contoured design, non-corrodible interior and longer life cycle.