15 March 2005 - A new system that dries coal before it is used in power generation to reduce emissions and increase efficiency is being developed in North Dakota, USA.
The Lignite Fuel Enhancement System is being tested at Great River Energy's Coal Creek power station in North Dakota. It will use waste heat from the 1092 MW plant to dry a quarter of the moisture in the coal before it is used to generate power, leading to reduced emissions and increased generating efficiency.
Pilot tests at Coal Creek show that a ten per cent reduction in the moisture content of coal should result in a 2.8 to 5 per cent efficiency improvement for the plant. Also, sulphur dioxide emissions are predicted to fall by 25 per cent and mercury, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions should all drop by seven per cent.
When the project's first phase is complete the prototype module will dry about one sixth of the coal needed to fire one of the two 546 MW units at Coal Creek. Testing of the prototype will begin this summer, and if successful, a complete set of dryers will be built for the unit.
The $28m project is one of eight demonstration schemes selected in the initial phase of the US government's Clean Coal Power Initiative. The DOE is expected to provide $11m for the project over its 45 month duration.