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Flack & Kurtz develops co-generation plant in TX.

Flack + Kurtz, consulting engineers has announced that it has taken the final step toward making, Phelps Dodge Refining Corporation's El Paso plant the most energy-efficient copper refinery in the world.

In mid-May, Flack + Kurtz completed the last phase of a cogeneration system designed to reduce Phelps Dodge's electrical costs by 75 percent.

"With the implementation of this system," states Sheldon Steiner, vice president, Flack + Kurtz, "Phelps Dodge has taken a major step toward insuring its prominent position as a world-class refinery."

The New York-based Flck + Kurtz has developed similar facilities for such clients as Brooklyn Union Gas, New York, National Beef Packing Co., Kansas, and Pepsico's New York and McDonald's Illinois corporate headquarters.

Phelps Dodge Refinery Corporation is the country's leading copper producer. It produces over one-third of the copper mined in the United States. The El Paso refinery produces 430,000 tons of cathode copper annually. The electrolytic process used to refine cathode copper consumes large amounts of electrical and thermal energy, making energy the product's second highest cost. Labor is its first. Therefore, any increase in utility rates threatens El Paso's ability to keep its prices competitive in the global marketplace.

Phelps Dodge's decision to switch to cogeneration was based on several factors - fluctuating federal policies, shifts in the economy, low copper prices, technical advances in alternative energy sources, and ever-increasing utility costs.

For the past decade, Phelps Dodge's local utility, the El Paso Electric Company, has suffered severe financial nuclear difficulties resulting from a costly investment in an Arizona nuclear-power project and a number of real estate ventures that went sour. The burden of these losses was passed on to its customers. Phelps Dodge was amongst El Paso's largest industrial users.

On January 8, 1992, El Paso Electric filed a petition for bankruptcy. However, due to Phelps Dodge's conversion to cogeneration, anticipated electric rate increases will have little if no affect on copper-refining costs.
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Title Annotation:Flack and Kurtz Consulting Engineers; El Paso, Texas
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jul 15, 1992
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