Twister: Tornado Preparedness is No Game

Tornado crossing field

On March 8, 2019, a rare and violent EF4 tornado touched down in Lee County, Alabama, killing 23 people, making it the deadliest tornado since 2013.

That was not the only tornado to touch down that day; there were reports of dozens of tornados touching down across the Southeast. While conditions ideal for tornado formation were forecast 24 hours earlier, residents of Lee County weren’t warned of an imminent threat until an hour before destruction was reported. 

Tornadoes can occur in all 50 U.S. states year-round, with peak tornado season running from spring through early summer.  In the spring, the clash of air masses creates a “weather battleground.” This happens when cold, dry air from Canada clashes with warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. A frontal boundary divides the two air masses and acts as a focal point for thunderstorms. With the right ingredients, some storms become severe. When these storms have enough rotation, tornadoes can form. While a tornado as destructive as the one in Lee County is rare, it’s quick escalation from threat to disaster highlights the importance of having a tornado preparedness plan in place. 

First and foremost, identify your tornado safe room. The safest place you can be during a tornado is a tornado shelter or basement. If those are not available, go to the lowest level of your building and take shelter in an interior room without windows. Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible. If you live in a mobile home, locate a sturdy building ahead of time. If you work or live in a high-rise building, get to the lowest level possible and seek shelter in an interior room or hallway.  Here are some additional steps to take to ensure you, your family and your pets are prepared for a tornado.

  • Have a plan for all members of your family, including seniors, children, those with special needs and pets.
  • Store a portable disaster kit with essentials such as water and non-perishable food in your safe room.
  • Identify a family meeting place in the event you are separated.
  • Know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A watch means the potential exists for a tornado and you should be prepared to take shelter, while a warning means a tornado is occurring or is expected to develop, and to take shelter immediately.
  • Know where the safe room(s) and/or hallway(s) are at work and school.
  • Keep leashes and carriers nearby so you can take your pets to your safe room.
  • To avoid being left without power following a storm, consider a home standby generator.

If you’re caught outside or driving…  

  • Pull over as soon as you safely can do so. If possible, park away from trees or anything else that could become flying debris. 
  • If there is a sturdy building nearby and you have time to safely get to shelter, seek shelter immediately.
  • If there is no shelter nearby, use your best judgment – you may either get out of the vehicle, lay flat on your stomach in a nearby ditch (away from anything that could become flying debris) and cover your head with your hands OR stay in your vehicle, get down as low as possible below the windows and dashboard and cover your head with your hands.
  • Remember, tornadoes are unpredictable, so please leave storm chasing to trained professionals. Don’t gamble with Mother Nature just to get a great photograph or video to post on social media.

Being prepared means knowing what to do before, during and after a tornado. To stay safe in the aftermath of a tornado…

  • Stay aware and get the latest updates from a NOAA Weather Radio, the Emergency Alert System and local authorities/media.
  • Use caution after a disaster. Wear sturdy shoes, long pants, work gloves and eye protection, if available.
  • If there is a lot of debris, use a mask or cover your mouth with a cloth or T-shirt to avoid breathing in smoke, dust and other harmful air particles.
  • Do not walk or drive through floodwaters.
  • Do not touch or try to move downed power or utility lines.
  • Do not enter damaged buildings unless you know they are safe.
  • If you are properly trained, provide first aid to those in need until paramedics arrive.
  • Text or use social media to contact loved ones rather than attempting a phone call. Phone systems may be down or busy after a disaster, so please save phone calls for emergencies.
  • If your property was damaged, contact your insurance company and be aware of insurance scammers.

To learn more, visit www.HomeGenerators.Cummins.com and follow @CherylNelsonTV.

Cheryl Nelson, Certified Broadcast Meteorologist

Cheryl Nelson

Cheryl Nelson is an Emmy-nominated and AP award-winning Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, TV Host, FEMA-Certified Instructor and Weather and Preparedness Advisor for Cummins. You can visit Cheryl’s website at www.PrepareWithCher.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook @CherylNelsonTV. 

Cummins Marine powers adventurists around the Great Loop

Bill and Amy Denison
Bill and Amy Denison complete the 6,500-mile journey around the Great Loop

Many mariners have the Great Loop on their bucket list but only a few are lucky enough to accomplish the task. Bill and Amy Denison are one of those few. With great pride, they were able to complete the 6,500-mile journey down the east coast, up the inland rivers and back across the great lakes.

Their journey began on the waters of Maine and Nova Scotia. Bill and Amy cruised along the coast and visited remote islands in their boat, Mar-Kat – a Back Cove 41 named after their daughters, Margaret and Kathleen. They decided that they wanted to venture further and joined the American Great Loop Cruising Association (AGLCA).

After six months of research and planning, the couple said goodbye to friends and family to set off on their journey to tackle The Great Loop. Departing on 15 June 2018, from Albemarle Sound in North Carolina, they headed south. Mar-Kat powered by a 710 horsepower Cummins marine diesel engine and a 9kW Cummins Onan marine generator.Cummins marine powered boat

Over the course of their journey, Bill and Amy travelled across 13 states and the Province of Ontario, going through 100 locks and racking up almost 500 hours on their boat. By completing the Loop in a counter-clockwise direction, they were able to take advantage of the swift river currents.

Bill said, “The Cummins QSM11 engine worked flawlessly throughout the journey and only required a few oil changes.” When service maintenance was required, the couple got in touch with their local distributor and “received good support from the Cummins Virginia team.”

With unique heavy-duty design elements, Cummins small diesel engines have an extended engine life and provide proven acceleration and torque performance. This reliable, four-valve-per-cylinder marine engine is trusted by hundreds of manufacturers and can be found in the engine rooms of pleasure boats all over the world. Additionally, with more than 8,000 dealers and distributors, the Cummins product gives customers the peace of mind that they need, regardless of where their journey takes them.

After successfully completing The Great Loop in 10 months, Bill and Amy are now planning their next adventure with Mar-Kat, maybe exploring Florida or the southern Bahamas. Regardless of where they head next, Cummins will provide the power, innovation and dependability to drive their voyage.

Discover the Cummins marine range at cummins.com/marine, to see how our engines and generators can power your journeys, on sea or by land. 

Need assistance in choosing the right solution for your boat? Find your local Cummins rep

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Australia’s landmark hybrid renewable energy microgrid complemented by thermal power generation from Cummins Power Generation

Cummins QSV91G gas generator and QSK60 diesel units support the Agnew Gold Mine's renewable energy microgrid.
Cummins QSV91G gas generator and QSK60 diesel units support the Agnew Gold Mine's renewable energy microgrid.

With an installed capacity of 56MW, the Agnew Hybrid Renewable Power Station became Australia’s largest hybrid renewable energy microgrid – and the first to utilize wind generation at a mine. The energy produced is equivalent to powering 11,500 homes and will abate 46,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the first year alone. 

Agnew Hybrid Renewable Power Station, AustraliaWith an installed capacity of 56MW, the Agnew Hybrid Renewable Power Station became Australia’s largest hybrid renewable energy microgrid – and the first to utilize wind generation at a mine. The energy produced is equivalent to powering 11,500 homes and will abate 46,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the first year alone. 

“The renewable energy technologies of EDL’s Agnew Hybrid Renewable Power Station are complemented by thermal generation from Cummins gas and diesel generators,” said Jason Dickfos, EDL Head of Growth. “We’re pleased to be working with Cummins to deliver this landmark project, which will provide the Agnew Gold Mine with more than 50% renewable energy over the long term, without compromising power quality or reliability.” 

The hybrid renewable energy solution at the Gold Fields mine in Western Australia consist of a new off-grid 23MW power station incorporating gas, photovoltaic solar and diesel power generation, followed by 18MW wind generation, a 13MW battery and an advanced microgrid control system. A crucial requirement was that the generators had to provide continuous, reliable power at temperatures up to 45°C. The Cummins QSV91G gas generator model was selected due to its ability to operate in high ambient conditions, in addition to providing high impact step loads and fast ramp rates while maintaining power quality, while the Cummins QSK60 diesel units provide additional power during peak periods of demand and have black start capabilities in the event of a power outage. 

Read more about the Agnew microgrid in this case study

Angela Papageorgiou

Angela Papageorgiou is the Senior Marketing Communications Specialist for the Energy Management Segment of Cummins Inc. Prior to joining Cummins in 2014, Angela worked in Marketing Communications agencies supporting the development and execution of B2C and B2B campaign projects. [email protected]

Energy IQ: Three situations that maximize the advantages of cogeneration applications

Three situations that maximize the advantages of cogeneration applications
Three situations that maximize the advantages of cogeneration applications

Greenhouses, hospitals, industrial manufacturers and commercial building owners are some of the many turning to cogeneration, also known as combined heat and power (CHP). They enjoy benefits ranging from improved financial performance to reduced environmental footprint. Cogeneration applications’ high efficiency in converting the energy in the original fuel into useful energy is the foundation of these advantages.

These benefits of cogeneration applications are further amplified under certain situations. Let’s cover these situations and associated examples of cogeneration applications. 

No. 1: Certain aspects of your business operate 24/7

The most cost-effective cogeneration systems operate at full output 24/7. 

This doesn’t mean your whole business needs to run 24/7. Instead, you can identify aspects of your business that run 24/7, and power these with a cogeneration system. Meanwhile, you can still have the utility connection and on-site boilers. These are useful to power the rest of your business operations and to manage potential peaks in electricity or thermal energy demand. Another advantage of using a combination of cogeneration and utility power is around maintenance events. This combination allows you to conduct maintenance and service on your cogeneration system without interrupting access to electricity for your business.

Hospitals are a good example of cogeneration applications for this scenario. Controlling the temperature, managing air quality, keeping the medical equipment operational and many other activities require electricity and thermal energy throughout the day. 

No. 2: The need for thermal energy is consistent; it is also simultaneous with the need for electricity several months of the year

Many facilities leverage cogeneration applications with increasing popularity over the years
Many facilities leverage cogeneration applications with increasing popularity over the years

Selling or storing excess thermal energy is often not practical. Excess heat is commonly released as waste heat, lowering the overall efficiency and financial gains of the cogeneration application. The efficiency of a cogeneration system increases when the thermal needs (steam, hot water or chilled water) stay at a consistent level. The same doesn’t apply as much to electricity needs, since excess electricity could often be sold back to the electric utility.

The longer the simultaneous need for electricity and thermal energy, the more advantageous a cogeneration application is. In fact, a good guidance is to consider cogeneration applications if your business has simultaneous needs for electricity and heating/cooling around half of the year or more 1. There are exceptions to this, and some applications are feasible even when the simultaneous need is 2,000 hours a year, about three months. 

Industrial manufacturing is a good example of a cogeneration application for this scenario. Thermal energy needed in industrial processing tends to be consistent throughout the facility’s operation. Moreover, thermal energy and electricity is usually needed simultaneously throughout the year in these facilities.  

No. 3: Electricity prices are high compared to the cost of natural gas

You are financially better off if producing electricity on-site is cheaper than purchasing electricity from the utility. Many cogeneration systems that produce electricity on-site use natural gas as the fuel, and this is where the spark spread comes into play. 

The spark spread is a metric for estimating the profitability of natural gas-fired electric generators. It is the difference between the price of electricity and the cost of the natural gas needed to produce that electricity 2. As the spark spread increases, savings provided by a cogeneration system also increases. Spark spread is an indicator of financial viability, but it is not an exact measure of profitability. 

Facilities where the cost of electricity is high and natural gas as a fuel is available are good examples of cogeneration applications for this scenario. 

Beyond the factors above, the Evaluating Cogeneration for Your Facility white paper outlines other aspects to consider as you explore cogeneration as an option.  

Sign up below for Energy IQ to receive energy focused insights in markets ranging from data centers and healthcare facilities to manufacturing facilities, and everything beyond. To learn more about cogeneration and trigeneration power solutions Cummins Inc. offers, visit our webpage.

Think your friends and colleagues would like this content? Share on LinkedIn and Facebook.

References: 
1 Hamilton, J. (n.d.). Evaluating Cogeneration for Your Facility [Bulletin]. Cummins Inc. Retrieved from https://www.cummins.com
2 U.S. Energy Administration Office (February 2013). An Introduction to Spark Spreads. Retrieved from https://www.eia.gov/
 

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Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

Energy IQ: Three energy and power system considerations for edge data centers

Three energy and power system considerations for edge data centers
Three energy and power system considerations for edge data centers

Technologies that require fast computing and low latency are the key drivers of edge computing, and this need for low latency necessitates edge data centers to be near the users they support. Edge data centers are the physical structures where edge computing takes place and are usually located within a few miles from where the data is generated.

Edge data centers, whether located at the base of a cell tower or on-premise at a hospital or factory, will have distinctive energy and power system considerations compared to traditional data centers. This article outlines three of the key energy and power system considerations for edge data centers. 

No. 1: Continuity of computing service will be ensured through redundancy within edge ecosystem and reliability of power systems

One of the advantages of a distributed edge data center ecosystem is that computing workloads can efficiently be moved across a network of nearby edge data centers. Consequently, users can enjoy the continuity of service even when their nearby edge data center suffers an unexpected service downtime. Therefore, edge data centers part of a robust network and able to seamlessly move computing to nearby data centers may require less redundancy in their power systems.

However, power systems’ reliability will be paramount for edge data centers that are not able to seamlessly move computing to nearby facilities without compromising latency requirements. Power systems in these applications will often feature redundant starters and batteries for increased reliability, in addition to state-of-the-art digital monitoring systems to be covered next.

No. 2: Unmanned edge data centers will require state-of-the-art monitoring systems

Many edge data centers will be unmanned, without on-premise facility technicians. Moreover, these data centers will be scattered around cities and towns, making it even more challenging to build a responsive service strategy. This is where state-of-the-art digital monitoring systems come into play. 

Power systems in these edge data centers will feature digital monitoring systems that go beyond the traditional remote monitoring and diagnostics. Often, they will include monitoring systems that provide predictive diagnostics and prognostics with a robust communication and response protocol. These state-of-the-art digital power system monitoring solutions will help operators build a more pro-active service capability.

No. 3: Power systems may be subject to stringent emission and noise requirements

As many edge data centers will be in highly populated urban and suburban areas, they will likely face stringent emission and noise requirements.

Power systems in these edge data centers could deviate from traditional systems depending upon user location. In fact, edge may be the proving ground for power system technologies beyond the historically common approach of supplementing the grid connection with back-up diesel power generators. For instance, natural gas generators with lower emission levels could be preferable in areas with robust pipelines. Solar photovoltaic (PV) and energy storage systems deliver further reduction in emissions and noise levels in areas where there is land availability and solar exposure. Finally, fuel cells could be an option for selected edge data centers. Edge data centers will likely adopt a variety of energy strategies driven by diverse deployment locations and user preferences.

As the industry’s power system needs evolve, Cummins Inc. continues to innovate. These innovations range from continuous enhancements within its diesel and gas power generator portfolio, to innovations in complementary technologies. Cummins’ recent investments in energy storage, fuel cells and advanced microgrid control technologies has boosted its capability to offer comprehensive energy solutions tailored for the data center industry’s emerging needs.

Sign up below for Energy IQ to receive energy focused insights periodically. To learn more about the data center power solutions Cummins offers, visit our webpage.

Think your friends and colleagues would like this content? Share on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Raise Your Energy IQ

Grow professionally with energy trends and insights delivered to your inbox. Read about energy technologies and trends on our Energy IQ Hub.

Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

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