Optimizing Power Generation: Nooter/Eriksen’s Customized HRSG Solutions for Diverse Global Energy Needs

The customers that purchase from Nooter/Eriksen have unique, specific requirements for the equipment they purchase from the company. “In the sector we serve, project scheduling is absolutely critical, so on-time delivery and providing a reliable product at a competitive price is paramount for us,” says Mike Filla, senior vice president of business development for the Fenton, Mo.-based company.

Nooter/Eriksen’s clients also have performance requirements for the heat recovery steam generators (HRSG) the company designs and manufactures. The HRSG’s are used behind gas turbines to generate electricity for the power industry.

Typical customers include utility companies, independent power producers (IPPs), as well as engineering, procurement and construction companies (EPCs) and gas turbine OEMs. “Our customers come to us with specific process design requirements to meet their plant needs and we custom design our equipment to these requirements,” President Tim Peterson says. “Meeting required guaranteed performance levels is critical to our success.”

Although all of the company’s customers use HRSGs in a similar manner, they each have specific needs. “We sell all over the world, from plants in Thailand to across the North American market,” he adds. “We recognize that different customers value different things, and that’s been part of our success. We’re very good at recognizing what brings value to the customer, as well as providing customer support.” The company operates offices in Italy, the United Kingdom, Korea and the United Arab Emirates to serve international customers, in addition to working with eight licensees and 25 sales representatives.

“I think our customers define quality by how we performed on their last project, as well as how reliable our products are for them once they go into commercial operation,” Filla says. “Power plants, particularly in the United States, are becoming more complex from an emissions-control standpoint and plant start-up.

“When we talk about performance, it’s not just the amount of steam a plant can generate; if a plant doesn’t meet stack permit levels on emissions, they can’t operate,” he adds. “It’s not as simple as just making steam; there are other guarantees we make that influence how that plant operates.”

Nooter/Eriksen’s ability to know and respond to customer needs has made the company the No. 1 supplier of heat recovery steam generators in the world, according to McCoy Reports, an independent publication associated with the power market.

The company has built and installed a full range of heat recovery systems, including many of the world’s largest natural circulation HRSGs, several of which are capable of producing in excess of 580 tons per hour of steam. Nooter/Eriksen has supplied more than 985 HRSGs for use behind gas turbines with outputs from 2 megawatts to more than 300 megawatts. More than 420 Nooter/ Eriksen HRSGs incorporate supplementary firing, with burner duties often in excess of 500 MMBTU per hour.

Since 1992, Nooter/ Eriksen has supplied more than 400 HRSGs with reheat systems for improved plant efficiency behind large, advanced gas turbines.

“Nooter/Eriksen’s vision is to be ‘Our Customer’s Preferred Choice,’” the company says. “Our objective is to supply the best designed, most efficiently produced and most reliable heat recovery systems available on the market.”

Positive Culture

Nooter/Eriksen’s focus on customer service has earned it customer loyalty throughout its history. “One of the things we pride ourselves on is our long-term relationships with many of our customers,” Peterson says, noting that Nooter/Eriksen has customers that have purchased 60 or more HSRGs from the company over the course of our history.

“I think the strength we bring to the market is our excellent customer service,” he adds. “Everyone needs to have a reliable product, but it is our execution and support of our customer throughout the process that helps us establish the kind of relationships with long-term customers where people want to deal with us again and again.”

Nooter/Eriksen anticipates manufacturing its 1,000th HSRG in 2017, the same year it is celebrating its 30th anniversary. “The fact that we are celebrating these milestone says a lot about how we do business and how we treat our customers and our own people,” Peterson says. “Our reputation in the industry is very good and that’s a byproduct of how we treat people. Our internal culture of being fair, honest and respectful of others has helped us be successful.”

The company is the result of a merger between Nooter Corp.’s co?generation group and Eriksen Engineering. Nooter entered the heat recovery business in the early 1980s. In 1987, it acquired Eriksen Engineering and merged the two groups into Nooter/Eriksen. Today, what was Nooter Corp. is known as CIC Group, and Nooter/Eriksen is one of its 10 business units.

Staying Flexible

Nooter/Eriksen has proven resilient to regulatory and other changes in the energy sector throughout its history. “Part of what you have to accept to be successful in this business is that the power market is changing all the time,” Peterson says. “Most of the equipment we designed in the U.S. market 20 years ago was equipment designed for base load design that would run in a plant continuous; now, gas turbines get cycled regularly. We have to be flexible and understand the market – is different in different countries around the world.”

The company within the past five years has also needed to respond to the industry’s need to reduce emissions to meet current environmental regulations. “Fifteen to 20 years ago, emissions were only guaranteed on a steady-state basis; now, we have to guarantee emissions at startup,” Filla says. “Our ability to adapt to industry changes comes down to the technical experience we have as well as the fact that we’ve been in business for 30 years.

“We have many long-term employees who have spent their entire careers with us and are experts at their jobs; that has contributed to our ability to adjust to the changing technical aspects of our equipment,” he adds. “Our experience and reputation are second to none. The fact that we have very low turnover and a large portion of our business is repeat business is something all of our employees should be proud of.”

Like ‘Snowflakes’

Nooter/Eriksen’s primary offering is a HRSG with a natural circulation design with horizontal exhaust flow and a vertical tube design with internally insulated casing and structure.

Many of the features Nooter/Eriksen uses to improve the performance and reliability of its equipment are things that customers rarely notice, but still have a significant impact. For example, the company developed a patented feature to replace recirculation pumps with external heat exchangers to accommodate cold end corrosion which improves the reliability of the HRSG and reduces plant maintenance. A reheat bypass feature controls the steam temperature for better reliability and efficiency. Standard features also include coil layouts and piping configurations to accommodate industry demands for cyclic operation.

Each of the HRSGs the company manufactures is custom designed to meet the project-specific needs of its customers. “We jokingly refer to them as snowflakes, because they’re all different,” Peterson says.

The company designs each HRSG in either its Fenton, Mo., or Milan, Italy, locations, and then subcontracts fabrication of equipment to companies around the world. For instance, heat transfer modules in Nooter/Eriksen’s products are manufactured primarily in Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and China.

HRSG components – which typically can weigh as much as between 600 to 700 thousand pounds – are shipped to plant sites where Field Contractors assemble the components on-site into the complete finished product. A completed HRSG can be 40 feet wide, 100 feet long and 100 feet tall, and can weigh in excess of 10 million pounds, Peterson says.

Ensuring Quality

Nooter/Eriksen, its licensees and manufacturing partners maintain comprehensive in-house quality assurance programs to ensure that all their HRSGs meet the high quality standards. Nooter/Eriksen has also established a supply management department responsible for educating its supply base, Filla notes.

“We generated fabrication guidelines to assist in this education process in parallel with consistent supplier surveillance and development meetings with supplier personnel and quality inspectors,” Filla says. “Supply management works closely with quality, projects and global supply chain to set clear expectations for supplier performance, manufacturing excellence and quality.”

The company is ISO 9001 certified, and is also an authorized holder of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) “S” stamp.

A Wider Reach

Nooter Eriksen continues to seek opportunities to grow. One potential new market for the company’s technologies is in the solar energy field.

The company recently partnered with renewable energy company SolarReserve to supply it with solar boilers for concentrated solar power plants. The boilers use molten salt, which gives them the storage capacity to operate 24 hours per day . Nooter Eriksen recently completed its first project of this kind, Filla says.

Moving forward, the company wants to continue to diversify while strengthening its core products. “We’re always looking to potential new markets,” Peterson adds.

Company Timeline

1987: Nooter/Eriksen is formed following the merging of Tulsa, Okla.-based Eriksen Engineering with the Nooter Cogen Group in St. Louis.

1992: The company is awarded the first heat recovery steam generator (HSRG) for the 2-G GE Frame 9F turbine at the Medway Power Station in the United Kingdom.

1993: Nooter/Eriksen becomes the first HRSG supplier in the United States to obtain ISO 9001 certification.

1998: The company is awarded the first HRSG behind the 1-Westinghouse W5016 turbine at the Millennium Power Plant in Charlton, Mass.

2006: Nooter/Eriksen becomes the first supplier to import a large HSRG into Japan.

2010: The company is awarded the first H-Class HRSG from Florida Power & Light for the utility’s Cape Canaveral and Riviera Beach facilities.

2011: Nooter/Eriksen is awarded the first J-Class HRSG from Mitsubishi for a power plant in Yulchon, South Korea.