Power Plant Demolition Ushers In A Cleaner, Manatee-Friendly Future

Jul 16, 2013

At 6:46 a.m. this morning, the FPL Port Everglades Power Plant vanished from the I-595 skyline, demolished to make way for an energy efficient future. 

But, while this demolition only lasted a mere minute, it required months of preparation and a professional demolition team, who called the demolition “a controlled implosion.”

The controlled implosion demolished four boilers and four stacks in succession starting with the boiler in the southeast corner and moving in a clockwise pattern to the stack in the southeast corner.

The demolition was planned down to the second: each boiler took around 3.5 seconds to demolish with multiple charges going off at 17 milli-second intervals with 2-second delays between each structure. They fell southwards, while the stacks fell diagonally across each other.

The demolition team drilled over 300 holes into the stacks and loaded them up with explosives. To ensure the detonation intervals, the charges themselves were protected from the others.

The demolition and deconstruction team had to strip the insides of the boilers to make the four more symmetrical for an evenly distributed fall. They each weigh around 7,500 tons.

While they all look the same from the outside, the individual stacks required their own explosion plan, as they vary from 1,000 to 1,500 tons.

Explosives lined the bottom of each stack. There were approximately 450 pounds of explosives at the site.

Manager Rudy Sanchez gave a brief history of the plant: the first stack was built in 1960, and since that time, there have been limited changes, like installing new burners. So the demolition represented a complete redo of South Florida power plants.

The new cleaner and more efficient plant will open in 2016. FPL says that the new plant will use 35 percent less fuel than the demolished model. Carbon dioxide levels will be cut in half, and there will be an overall 90 percent decrease in air emissions. The new plant will also use significantly less water.

But not everything will change at the power plant. It will be on the exact same property as before. And, it will also maintain the warm water emissions on south side of the plant, even during construction in an effort to maintain a safe harbor for local manatees.

Sanchez says he doesn’t know when the manatees first came to the FPL power plants on the Florida coast, but now that they regularly come during the cool winter months to warm up, FPL wants to help out this endangered species. So, Sanchez and his team are installing a manatee heating system in the same spot to make sure the manatees feel right at home.

Cleaner energy, fewer emissions and warm water for manatees: this is the future.