Air Pollution Control Equipment Services, Coal, Emissions

First projects named for US clean coal initiative

16 January 2003 – US Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham yesterday announced the first eight projects chosen by the Department of Energy in the initial phase of President Bush’s Clean Coal Power Initiative.

The projects, valued at more than $1.3 bn are expected to help pioneer a new generation of innovative power plant technologies that could help meet the President’s Clear Skies and Climate Change initiatives.

“The level of interest expressed in the first competition was tremendous,” Secretary Abraham said. “That is a clear indication of the potential to develop and apply technology to improve our energy security through the use of coal, our most abundant natural resource.”

The projects are the first in a series of competitions to be run by the Energy Department to implement President Bush’s 10-year, $2 bn commitment to clean coal technology. If all upcoming negotiations are successful, the department expects to award approximately $316 m to these initial projects. Private sector participants would contribute just over $1 bn, well in excess of the department’s requirement for 50 per cent private sector cost-sharing.

Three of the projects are directed at new ways to comply with the President’s Clear Skies initiative which calls for dramatic reductions in air pollutants from power plants over the next decade-and-a-half. They were proposed by:

The City of Colorado Springs, CO, a municipal corporation that proposes to team with Foster Wheeler Power Group., Inc., of Clinton, NJ. The project would tie together an advanced coal burning system called a “circulating fluidized bed combustor” with a fully integrated emission control technology. The 150 MW power plant, to be located at the Ray D. Nixon Power Plant, south of Colorado Springs, would be among the cleanest in the world. The Energy Department’s $30 m funding share would be used to demonstrate the advanced pollution controls, which are expected to reduce sulfur emissions by up to 98 per cent and eliminate more than 90 per cent of the mercury contained in the coal fuel. The total project is expected to cost $301 m.

LG&E Energy Corporation, Louisville, KY, which proposes to install an advanced air pollution control system on a 524 MW unit of the Ghent Generating Station, located on the Ohio River northeast of Carrollton, KY. The new technology, called the “Airborne Process,” is believed capable of removing 99.5 per cent of the plant’s sulfur dioxide emissions, 90 per cent of its nitrogen oxide pollutants, and 90 per cent of the mercury in the coal, while turning the by-products into a high-quality granular fertilizer. The Energy Department would provide $31 m of the project’s $120 m total cost.

Wisconsin Electric Power Company, Milwaukee, WI, which would install a high-tech process called “TOXECON,” that will absorb mercury and other air toxic emissions from the flue gases of its Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette, MI. Mercury is one of the most difficult of air pollutants to reduce, and if this project is successful, the technology could become one of the most effective choices for mercury controls on power plants that burn western coals. The project will also include testing of chemical additives that could also reduce nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions. The Energy Department would provide $25 m of the project’s $50 m total cost.

Higher Efficiencies to Meet Climate Change Goals

Three other projects are expected to contribute to President Bush’s Climate Change initiative to reduce greenhouse gases. Two of the projects will reduce carbon dioxide, a primary greenhouse gas, by boosting the fuel use efficiency of power plants. A third project will demonstrate a potential alternative to conventional portland cement manufacturing, a large emitter of carbon dioxide. The three were proposed by:

Great River Energy of Underwood, ND, which will team with the Electric Power Research Institute to enhance the fuel value of lignite by using the waste heat of a power plant to dry nearly a quarter of the moisture in the lignite before it is fed into a power plant boiler. For power plants that burn high-moisture lignite, the technology could boost overall generating capacity, meaning power would be produced more efficiently from a lower volume of fuel. The $22 m project will take place at the company’s Coal Creek Station in Underwood. The Energy Department is expected to provide $11 m of the cost.

NeuCo, Inc., of Boston, MA, will apply a series of sophisticated computational techniques, including neural networks, advanced algorithms and “fuzzy” logic, to achieve peak performances from a power plant’s combustor, soot removal system, and emission controls – the first time ever that all of these modules have been integrated into a computerized process network. The $19 m demonstration will take place at Dynegy Midwest Generation’s Baldwin Energy Complex in Baldwin, IL. The Energy Department would provide $8 m.

University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, KY, will team with LG&E Energy Corporation, for a second project at the Ghent Power Station in Ghent, KY. The team proposes to demonstrate an advanced process for separating unburned carbon from power plant ash or from ash ponds and recycling it for fuel. The process upgrades the ash to make it suitable for producing a high-strength alternative to portland cement called “pozzolan.” The climate change benefit comes from the potential of the new process to reduce the manufacture of portland cement, one of the highest generators of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, of any industrial process. The Energy Department will provide $4 m of the project’s $9 m cost.

Clean Energy from Coal Waste Piles

Two additional projects will reduce air pollution through advanced gasification and combustion systems designed to extract the energy potential of waste coal piles scattered throughout many areas of Pennsylvania and West Virginia as a new source of fuel. The unsightly legacy of old mining practices, these waste piles are a potential source of soil and water contamination. As much as 400 m tons of this material exist in West Virginia alone with some 200-300 m tons found across Pennsylvania. The two projects are proposed by:

Waste Management and Processors Inc. (WMPI PTY., LLC) of Gilberton, PA, which will head a team to build and operate a power plant that will produce clean electricity, high-value industrial heat, and nearly 5,000 barrels per day of clean-burning diesel fuel from raw anthracite wastes. At the core of the advanced process will be a coal gasification process that will turn the wastes into a chemically-rich source of gas. A portion of the gas will be converted into diesel while the rest will be combusted to make electricity and steam. Planned for a 75-acre site adjacent to the existing Gilberton Power plant, the $612 m project is the largest of the eight projects selected. The Energy Department’s share is proposed at $100 m.

Western Greenbrier Co-Generation, LLC, a newly-formed public service entity serving the West Virginia municipalities of Rainelle, Rupert and Quinwood, will team with several research and engineering firms to demonstrate an innovative circulating fluidized bed coal combustor linked to an advanced multi-pollutant control system. The 75 MW plant will be fuelled by a four million ton refuse site at Anjean, WV. The plant will also produce steam for industrial use and district heating. Integrated into the power facility will be a technology to convert ash from the boiler and green wood waste into structural bricks. The facility is expected to serve as the “anchor tenant” for a new “Eco-Park.” The Energy Department’s share of the $215 m is $107 m.