Explore the people, events and new innovations making news at the Prairie State Energy Campus.

August 11, 2017

Intern check-in: Kaylee Libbert

From organic acid leaks to running tests to decide the correct moisture content in gypsum for its transportation from the Air Quality Control System building to its storage site at Near Field, chemical engineering intern Kaylee Libbert has worked hard to improve Prairie State as well as her skills in the workplace.

“I learned so much more than I could ever learn from a book,” she said. “This whole experience has been incredible because I got hands on experience. You see a lot of people that think they know a lot just because they have an education, but you can learn so much more from hands on experience. I’ve learned a lot from the people that work here just by talking to them and asking for their opinions.”

Libbert’s projects this year will help make Prairie State safer and operate more efficiently for years to come.

One of her projects was with the gypsum transportation system. After gypsum, one of the boiler’s by-products, is removed from the boiler it makes its way to Near Field on a system of conveyor belts. Before getting onto the conveyors however, it is hydrated and rotated on large drums the size of small buses. One of the three drums was malfunctioning. Libbert helped diagnose the issue with the drum and recalculated the amount of moisture allowed in the gypsum in order for it to properly be placed onto the conveyor belt.

Libbert said that she hopes to see her projects completed before her internship ends.
Apart from learning about the systems that a facility the size of Prairie State uses, Libbert gained crucial people skills that will go on to help her in future jobs.

“I’ve made a lot of good connections this summer,” Libbert said. “I’ve earned a lot of people’s trust and I think I’ve learned to trust a lot of people here because their opinions are very valuable to me.”

After Libbert’s internship finishes, she will return to the University of Missouri for her final year. After her graduation Libbert will look for jobs in the power generating industry; she hopes to find herself returning to Prairie State as a full time employee next summer.


August 10, 2017

Intern check-in: Kathryn Torre

Electrical engineering intern, Kathryn Torre, likened her time at the Prairie State Generating Company to drinking from a fire hose. A lot of information can come at interns very quickly, but she adapted and learned a lot this summer.

“I loved it here. I thought it was really interesting,” Torre said. “I think I’ve learned 10 billion things and I think there are still 85 billion things to learn. There was always a ton of information coming at me, but everyone is so helpful and willing to tell you what they know so that you’re better prepared.”

Torre familiarized herself with the plant’s electrical systems and helped to make them safer for Prairie State’s employees. One such project she worked on was adding labels to breaker boxes around the plant. These labels can warn employees about potential arc flashes. To do this she worked with a program called ETAP which simulates an electrical system and finds potential hot spots that could cause an arc flash. In this program, she was able to test the PSGC electrical system in a controlled way by running simulations with open and closed circuits to check for faults. Her work will help make working with electricity at Prairie State safer.

She also worked on compiling vendor drawings of all of the electrical instruments at Prairie State. This project puts all of this information into one place that will help speed up future projects for Prairie State’s electrical engineers.

Torre has one final semester left at the University of West Florida. She will return there after her internship is over to finish her education and work with the West Florida volleyball team as a volunteer coach. After graduation she will take the future engineers exam and work towards taking the professional engineers exam a few years later. She said she will apply to work in power plants all over, and that Prairie State will definitely be one of them.

“I am sad to leave here,” Torre said. “I really like the working environment and the people that are here. I think it’s just an awesome culture to be a part of. I am excited to go back to Florida though and take the next step in my career.”