NEW DURHAM, NH, March 9, 2004 — Powerspan Corp., a clean energy technology company, has licensed a promising technology to capture and remove mercury from coal-fired power plants.
Developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, the patented process uses ultraviolet light to oxidize and remove mercury. Powerspan has initiated a test program to develop the process for commercial application.
Mercury exists in the elemental and oxidized forms in power plant flue gas streams with the elemental form being the more difficult to capture. The Photochemical Oxidation, or PCO™ process uses ultraviolet light to produce an “excited state” mercury species in coal combustion flue gas, leading to the oxidation of elemental mercury.
Once in the oxidized form, mercury can be collected in existing air pollution control devices such as wet scrubbers and particle collectors. With the ability to work with conventional pollution control systems, PCO has the potential to serve as a low-cost technology for reducing mercury emissions from power plants.
Preliminary tests of the PCO process conducted in Powerspan’s laboratories have shown 90 percent oxidation and removal of elemental mercury from simulated flue gas streams. Powerspan is now planning a test program at an actual power plant.
“Owners of coal-fired generating plants, particularly those that burn lower rank coals, are searching for a technology to provide substantial reductions in mercury emissions while minimizing the impact on plant operations and power costs. The PCO technology has the potential to meet these needs,” said Powerspan chairman and CEO Frank Alix.
The National Energy Technology Laboratory first announced this promising mercury removal technology on August 5, 2003 (http://www.netl.doe.gov/newsroom/).
In a February 1998 report to Congress on toxic air pollutants emitted from electricity generating plants, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants as the toxic air pollutant of greatest concern for public health from these sources.
On December 15, 2003, the EPA proposed a rule to permanently cap and reduce mercury emissions from power plants. The EPA will finalize the rule by December 15, 2004.
Powerspan Corp., a clean-energy technology company based in New Durham, N.H., is engaged in the development and commercialization of proprietary multi-pollutant control technology for the electric power industry. Visit www.powerspan.com for more information.