Following an introductory presentation, attendees participated in a guided tour of the plant. Owned by Ohio’s 24 distribution cooperatives, the Cardinal Power Plant has the capacity to produce 1,800 megawatts of electricity, providing power to more than 380,000 cooperative homes and businesses in 77 of the state’s 88 counties.
Highlights of the Cardinal tour included the state-of-the-art control room and electrostatic precipitators that remove 99 percent of all fly ash particles. Also of interest was the 423-foot-high closed-cycle cooling tower, which keeps evaporation loss below 1.8 percent. These two features are just a portion of the more than $1.2 billion in environmental measures that make Cardinal one of the cleanest coal-fired power plants in the world.
To produce electricity, the plant’s pulverizers grind coal into a fine, talcum-powder-like consistency. The powdered coal is then burned at high temperatures, turning water into steam. This steam is directed into turbines, which drive the generator that produces electricity. Cardinal generates electricity the instant a co-op member needs it. Electricity is produced at 23,000 to 25,000 volts. Transformers outside the plant then step up the voltage to 138,000 and 345,000 volts so that it can be transmitted efficiently to cooperative members’ homes and businesses throughout Ohio.