Air Pollution Control Equipment Services, Coal, Emissions

Detroit Edison to participate in DOE project to test mercury emission reduction system


DETROIT, Oct. 20, 2003 — Detroit Edison will participate in a demonstration project through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to test an advanced technology for removing mercury from power plant emissions.

The project — which will be conducted at Detroit Edison’s St. Clair Power Plant in 2004 — will evaluate the effectiveness of a variety of sorbent materials injected into the exhaust gas stream of one of the plant’s generating units.

Sorbents are materials that have the ability to capture and hold other substances on their surface. In this project, a variety of advanced sorbents will be injected into the plant ductwork and evaluated for their ability to capture and separate mercury from the plant exhaust gas. The sorbent — with the mercury tightly bound to it — will then be collected in the plant’s existing electrostatic precipitators.

Sorbent Technologies Corporation is leading the effort and is the primary technology provider. A similar full-scale field test will be conducted at a Duke Energy power plant in the project, and a smaller-scale test recently has been conducted at another Duke Energy facility.

“While sorbent injection has been effective in reducing mercury emissions with some coal blends, current technologies have not achieved sufficient levels of reduction from blends of predominantly low-sulfur Western coal,” said Skiles Boyd, director, environmental management and resources for DTE Energy. “We are pleased to participate in this study that could lead to effective mercury controls for western low-sulfur coal. Western low-sulfur coal has tremendous benefits in reducing acid rain.”

Boyd added, “While mercury emissions from Detroit Edison power plants are below regional averages for power plants, we are committed to working with all stakeholders to determine the extent to which additional mercury reductions would be beneficial, and how those cuts should be achieved. This technology might help us meet future mercury emissions limits.”

The installation and operation of the equipment for the one-month trial at the St. Clair Power Plant is expected to cost about $2 million. Detroit Edison is committing $350,000 in cash and in-kind contributions to the effort.

In addition to the DOE, Detroit Edison, and Sorbent Technologies, study partners include Duke Energy, Fuel Tech, Western Kentucky University, Stock Equipment Co., PS Analytical Ltd. and Spectra Gases Inc.

This is one of eight projects selected by the DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) to further test and develop advanced emission control technologies in support of President Bush’s Clear Skies Initiative. The NETL will contribute $3 million toward the demonstrations.

Since the 1970s, Detroit Edison has invested or has committed to spend nearly $2 billion on equipment and programs to prevent air and water pollution. The company continues to spend about $40 million a year to operate and maintain these systems, and will spend an additional $20 million a year to operate NOx reduction equipment at the Monroe Power Plant.

Detroit Edison is an investor-owned electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a subsidiary of DTE Energy, a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Information about DTE Energy is available at http://www.dteenergy.com.

Sorbent Technologies is a developer of air pollution control technologies.