Erich Thalheimer, BSME, INCE Bd. Cert., Acoustical Engineer

Mr. Thalheimer has conducted many industrial and power plant noise studies for the purposes of obtaining operational permits, reducing noise from existing processes and equipment, and improving relations between plant owners and the public in neighboring communities.  In general the process involves selecting appropriate noise criteria limits, performing plant and community noise measurements, using sophisticated prediction model (i.e. Cadna-A) to predict plant noise and mitigation benefits, specifying noise control measures such as silencers, enclosures, mufflers, barriers lagging, etc., and ensuring success through follow up measurements or modeling.

 

Example projects involving industrial and/or power plant noise evaluation and control include the following:



  • Garrison Power Plant, Calpine Power, Dover, DE (2013) - performed predictive noise modeling using the Cadna-A model to evaluate potential noise levels at property lines associated with the proposed power plant involving one GE 7FA04 natural gas turbine generator. Separated Owner’s supplied equipment from consultant recommended/furnished equipment. Developed noise specifications for vendors bidding on cooling tower, steam generator and gas compressors. Performed far-field and near-field noise compliance tests during commission process.• Garrison Power Plant, Calpine Power, Dover, DE (2013) - performed predictive noise modeling using the Cadna-A model to evaluate potential noise levels at property lines associated with the proposed power plant involving one GE 7FA04 natural gas turbine generator. Separated Owner’s supplied equipment from consultant recommended/furnished equipment. Developed noise specifications for vendors bidding on cooling tower, steam generator and gas compressors. Performed far-field and near-field noise compliance tests during commission process.
  • Kleen Energy Systems Plant Noise Compliance, Kleen Energy LLC, Middletown, CT (2012) - Working directly for the plant owners, performed a comprehensive plant operational noise test to confirm compliance with applicable State of Connecticut (CTDEP) Noise Regulation 22a-69. Noise measurements were was performed at six community receptor locations using Norsonics NOR-140 Noise Monitors which allowed for audio files to be recorded as well. The results indicated that the 620 MW plant passed the noise test. Additional work involved performing near-field equipment noise measurements and providing guidance for reducing noise from the plant’s hogger vent.
  • Hess Newark Power Plant, Hess Corporation, Newark, NJ (2011) – Performed a noise impact study in support of a proposed 640 MW combined cycle natural gas-fired power plant in Newark, NJ.  Long-term and short-term ambient noise measurements were performed at three residential receptors and at the site’s property lines.  Plant noise levels were predicted using the Cadna-A noise model with the results evaluated against the criteria limits promulgated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (32 NJR 2230) and the City of Newark Noise Ordinance.  Plant noise mitigation measures, such as noise barriers and a quieter cooling tower, were developed and evaluated in the Cadna-A model and then incorporated into the plant design.  Bid document specifications for contractor noise guarantees were developed.  The results were presented before the Newark Planning Board. 
  • Moon Island Wind Turbine, Boston Environmental Department, Boston, MA (2010) - Performed an acoustical impact study for a proposed 1.6 MW wind turbine to be sited on top of Moon Island in Boston Harbor.  Ambient noise data was collected in the communities of Quincy and Squantum, and potential wind turbine noise levels were predicted using the Cadna-A model with the CONCAWE wind effects module.  The results were evaluated against noise criteria in the Massachusetts Dept of Environmental Protection Policy 90-001.
  • PVEC Westfield Power Plant, Westfield, MA (2008) – Performed noise analysis in accordance with Mass DEP Policy 90-001 procedures for the proposed Pioneer Valley Energy Center 400 MW combined cycle (gas/steam) power plant. Broadband and octave band ambient noise measurements were performed at property lines and at nearby residential receptors. Operational noise was evaluated using the Cadna-A noise model to predict noise propagation from the plant’s exterior and interior equipment.  Construction noise was evaluated using the FHWA RCNM model.  The results were also submitted to the Mass Energy Facilities Siting Board for approval.  The results indicated compliance with Mass DEP and Westfield Noise Ordinance limits at residential receptor locations, but exceedance at the plant’s property lines for which a waiver will be sought from Mass DEP.  A comprehensive Best Available Control Technologies (BACT) noise analysis was also performed. 
  • BGNA Lake Road Killingly Power Plant, Dayville, CT (2008) – Reviewed noise measurements (done by others) performed for a three unit 800 MW gas turbine station which was receiving noise complaints from the neighboring community.  Computed design goal requirements to meet BGNA’s corporate community noise criteria of 45 dBA.  Advise plant management on proper selection of IAC silencers/lined pipes for the hogger exhaust vents.  Advised plant management on noise control options for other noisy equipment such as the atmospheric vent.  Performed “after” noise measurements to confirm noise reduction effectiveness and goal compliance. 
  • BELD Braintree Watson Power Plant, Braintree, MA (2008) – Provided acoustical analysis for design of the gas compressor enclosure building in order to ensure compliance with Mass DEP property line noise limits.  An analytical noise model was developed to assess various façade designs to house the two 650 HP compressors and associated rooftop cooling fans.  The recommendation was to build the building out of Soundblox Type A-1 CMU blocks, which was later changed to prefabricated engineered wall panels lined with Acoustiblok liners.  Analysis was also provided for the design of the equipment room divider wall in order to ensure suitable interior noise conditions for an adjacent open office space in the control building.
  • Exelon Power Station Auxiliary Boiler Room Noise, Everett, MA (2003) - In support of the new Exelon Mystic Power Station, various noise-related issues were assessed and mitigation measures were developed for a new auxiliary boiler room to conform with Massachusetts DEP noise permit requirements.  Considerations were applied to properly specifying the boiler room’s walls and ceiling, ventilation louvers, safety value silencers, and acoustical enclosures in a “best available noise controls” approach. 
  • Sound Power Database for Gas Turbine Power Plant, Kleen Energy Company, Middletown, CT (2002) – In support of an overall permitting process, sound power spectral emissions for all noise producing components in the proposed Middletown power plant were assembled as a database for use in other’s predictive models.  Noise sources included gas combustion turbines, HRSG system, steam turbines, transformers, pumps, cooling towers, and fans.  Reference sound power levels were estimated from techniques published in EEI, ESEERCO, Miller’s Notes, and BBN papers, as well as with actual sound power test results from component manufacturers.  
  • 450 HP Compressor Blow-down Noise Control, DePuy (Johnson & Johnson) Company, Raynham, MA – Noise measurements and modeling were performed to evaluate the annoyance potential of blow-down noise from a 450 HP compressor in the community near a J&J orthopedics manufacturing plant.  Results indicated that blow-down noise warranted mitigation and could be successfully controlled with the provision of a Burgess-Manning DA-2 silencer. Follow-up noise measurements confirmed the elimination of blow-down noise in the community, and the Raynham Planning Board was satisfied with the results.  Thal-Asc.
  • Diesel Generator Noise Permits for CA/T Vent Buildings, Artery/Tunnel Project, Boston, MA (2002) – Noise emissions from emergency power diesel generators were predicted and evaluated in accordance with Mass. DEP Policy 90-001 for receptors surrounding CA/T Vent Buildings VB1, VB4, VB5, and VB8.  Predictions included both exhaust noise through the stack as well as mechanical noise through the air intake/exhaust louvers.  Findings indicated the need for special acoustical louvers in the generator room’s air intake and exhaust openings, which were satisfied with IAC Noishield Model R Louvers.  With the commitment to provide the special IAC louvers, the noise permits were approved by Mass. DEP. 
  • MWRA Pumping Stations Rehabilitation EA, Fay Spoffard & Thorndike, Arlington, MA (1995) - Evaluated and compared existing ambient noise conditions surrounding five MWRA pumping stations scheduled to be rehabilitated (demolished and replaced) in several communities surrounding Boston.  Estimated operational noise emissions at nearby receptors, recommended applicable MDEP criteria as well design goal using the Composite Noise Rating (CNR) method, and developed control strategies to ensure conformance.  Pump station interior noise levels were also examined per OSHA guidelines for occupational noise exposure. KM Chng Environmental.
  • BFGSI Chicopee Power Plant Noise Control, Chicopee, MA  (1994) - Performed extensive noise and vibration evaluation throughout existing 3000 KW trash gas to energy power plant in an effort to reduce noise emissions to surrounding communities.  Operational noise propagation models were developed leading to noise control design goals.  Noise mitigation measures including noise reducing doors, industrial air silencers, and noise barriers were recommended.  Thal-Asc.