Companies face a backlog of emission control projects as new standards are finalized
BY RUSSELL RAY, MANAGING EDITOR
Pulling the trigger is hard to do without a target. But coal-fired power producers in the U.S. now have something to shoot for.
|Clyde Bergemann Power Group was recently awarded a contract to supply Dry Sorbent Injection systems to four power stations owned and operated by Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities. The company said it is the leading supplier of dry sorbent injection systems to power plants in the U.S. Photo courtesy of Clyde Bergemann Power Group.|
The release of new emission standards for mercury, acid gases, soot and other air pollutants have given power producers the certainty they need to move ahead with emission control projects in the U.S.
The Mercury Air and Toxics Standard (MATS) was finalized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and enacted into law last year. The MATS rule could cost the industry as much as $10 billion to comply, the EPA estimates. What’s more, the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for particulate matter, or soot, was finalized by the EPA in December.
The MATS rule requires coal- and- oil-fired power plants to install maximum achievable control technologies such as flue gas desulfurization (FGD), baghouse filters, activated carbon injection (ACI), dry sorbent injection (DSI), selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and electrostatic precipitators (ESP). In addition to mercury, the MATS rule also establishes limits on several hazardous air pollutants, including lead, arsenic, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride and dioxins/furans.
Given a possible one-year extension, power generators have until April 2015 to comply. Many coal-fired units will be retired because the returns from continuing operation fall well below the cost of compliance.
According to Black & Veatch, nearly 62 GW of coal-fired capacity, or 20 percent of the nation’s coal-fired power, will be retired by 2020 due to increased regulation and low natural gas prices. Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power announced Jan. 7 plans to retire 15 coal- and- oil-fired units with more than 2,000 MW of capacity because of new federal regulations, low gas prices and mild demand for electricity. More than 9,000 MW of coal-fired generation were retired in the U.S. in 2012.
Meeting the April 2015 deadline should not be a problem for ACI and DSI projects, which take about a year to complete. However, the installation of FGD and SCR systems require more time, at least three to four years. That does not include the time it will take to secure regulatory approvals from state commissions. Delays could be significant as regulators consider a large number of projects at once.
Meanwhile, more than 40 percent of U.S. coal-fired units are not equipped with modern emission controls, according to the EPA.
According to a study commissioned by the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO), between 93 GW and 248 GW of coal-fired capacity will require an upgrade in pollution controls under the MATS rule. In the Midwest, between 51 GW and 58 GW of coal-fired capacity will require an upgrade.
Long lead times pose a “substantial concern for any long-lead projects that are initiated late, both due to the timing constraint and due to the potential for difficulty in obtaining the necessary engineering and construction support during a period of very high demand,” the study indicated.
The sharp increase in demand means power producers could face serious shortages in material and labor as the industry races to meet compliance standards and deadlines. American Electric Power plans to install or upgrade emission control systems on more than 13,000 MW of coal-fired capacity. Southern Co. has similar plans for about 12,000 MW of coal-fired generation.
Technologies used to specifically limit mercury emissions include ACI, halogen addition and co-benefit methods of emission control such as DSI and dry and wet scrubbers.
ACI systems use powdered activated carbon, which is captured using an ESP or a baghouse. ACI systems can be installed in 12 months or less and cost as low as $1 million.
The market for ACI and DSI systems in the U.S. exceeds $1 billion, ADA-ES Inc. estimates. The company said it expects to maintain a market share of at least 35 percent. In November, ADA signed a contract to provide up to 20 ACI systems to an unnamed power producer. The deal is expected to generate up to $20 million in revenue for ADA over two years.
In a separate deal, ADA entered contracts to supply ACI and DSI systems to a fleet of coal-fired units for up to $15 million. Meanwhile, the company said it has submitted more than $260 million in active bids on ACI and DSI projects in the U.S.
Before the MATS rule was finalized last year, the industry installed ACI systems to 155 coal-fired boilers representing 58 GW of capacity. That number is expected to triple during the three-year compliance timeline for MATS, ADA estimates.
“It is reasonable to predict that MATS will create the need for between 350 and 600 new ACI systems for mercury control,” ADA stated in a report on the market for ACI and DSI systems. “The spike in demand will stretch resources, but good planning and learning from the past will help suppliers and purchasers successfully meet upcoming compliance standards and dates.”
In addition to mercury, MATS establishes new emission limits for hydrochloric acid (HCl). Dry Sorbent Injection (DSI) is a technology that offers several options for emissions control, including HCl and sulfur dioxide (SO2). The need to control HCl has raised questions about sodium DSI systems to treat high levels of HCl in the presence of SO2, said Mike Wood, senior business manager of SOLVair Solutions, a leading supplier of DSI systems.
“The nice part about HCl is that it’s very reactive with sodium sorbents. You don’t need to overtreat,” Wood said.
In addition to HCl control, sodium DSI systems can be used to meet new limits on SO2 once those limits are established by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Cross State Air Pollution Rule would have established stricter limits for SO2 emissions in 28 states. The rule was struck down by an appeals court in August. But most industry observers believe the rule will be reincarnated in one form or another.
DSI systems installed to meet new limits for HCl can also be used to meet new standards for SO2 once they are finalized and enacted into law, Wood said.
“Once the regulations change, and we know they will change, you simply add more product to get a higher level of control for SO2,” he said. “When the CSAPR rule was in effect, most of the Texas utilities were looking at Dry Sorbent Injection as an answer.”
|Clyde Bergemann Power Group has secured contracts to engineer, supply and commission Dry Sorbent Injection systems for coal-fired units operated by Louisville Gas & Electric, Kentucky Utilities, Southern Co. and the Orlando Utilities Commission. Photo courtesy of Clyde Bergemann|
The Clyde Bergemann Power Group has secured contracts with Louisville Gas & Electric, Kentucky Utilities Co., Southern Co. and the Orlando Utilities Commission to supply several coal-fired plants with fabric filters, ACI systems and DSI systems. Clyde Bergemann was recently awarded a $180 million contract to supply those technologies to four power stations owned and operated by LG&E and KU.
Under the contract, Clyde Bergemann will engineer, supply and commission up to 12 Pulse jet fabric filters for particulate control, 12 powder activated carbon Injection systems for mercury mitigation and six dry sorbent injection systems for sulfuric acid mist mitigation for 12 coal-fired boilers with a combined capacity of 5,000 MW.
“We have somewhere between 15 and 20 projects currently contracted over the next two years,” said James Fisher, sales engineer at Clyde Bergemann Power Group. “We’re expecting that number to increase.”
The contract with LG&E and KU make Clyde Bergemann the leading supplier of fabric filters and dry sorbent injection systems to power plants in the U.S.
“We’re in the process of fabricating a lot of fabric filter modules,” Fisher said. “We’re going to begin building some of the first sorbent injection systems in the next few months.”
Clyde Bergemann also has contracts to supply and commission DSI systems for SO3 control at Plant Bowen and Plant Hammond in Georgia. Those systems will be installed at all four units at each plant. The company also is supplying DSI systems for Units 1 and 2 at the Stanton Energy Center in Orlando.
“Clyde Bergemann has an excellent design on both ACI and DSI projects,” Fisher said. “There are a lot of vendors that focus on one side or the other. We’ve decided to focus on both. We’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of strong support from various carbon and sorbent suppliers.”
Universal Acoustic & Emission Technologies serves all types of power generation applications, from small diesel engines to the largest gas turbines.
Universal produces acoustic, emission and filtration systems for natural gas turbines and diesel engines in stationary and portable power generation applications. In addition, the company has custom-designed systems installed on major turbine brands, including GE, Siemens-Westinghouse, Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney and ABB.
Universal is creating a Center of Excellence within its production facility in Beloit, Wisc.
The Center of Excellence would bring together those who work in the conceptual stages with the manufacturing team. It will initially focus on optimizing emissions products for stationary engine applications.
The Center of Excellence will initially focus on optimizing emissions products for stationary engine applications, a rapidly growing segment of Universal’s business.
The center is a component of the company’s plan to expand its Wisconsin facility by 40,000 square feet and adding up to 100 jobs in the coming year.
Last month, Calgon Carbon Corp. entered into a two-year contract with a leading U.S. power generator to supply FLUEPAC brominated powdered activated carbon (PAC). The value of the contract ranges between $16 million and $22 million. Under the contract, Calgon Carbon will provide certain generating units with 100 percent of their activated carbon requirements for mercury removal for two years. The agreement includes an option to extend the contract through 2015. Under terms of the agreement, the price of the FLUEPAC carbon will be adjusted annually based on certain price indices, which are published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Calgon Carbon’s FLUEPAC products were developed specifically for the mercury removal market and have been designed to meet or exceed the performance requirements of the new federal MATS rule. In full-scale tests, the company said its advanced FLUEPAC carbons reduced activated carbon injection rates by 50 percent to 70 percent compared with other products.
Scores of new emission control projects are quickly moving forward in the U.S. and many more projects will be announced in the weeks and months to come. Confronted with an April 2015 deadline to comply with the MATS rule, power producers are facing a moment of truth. They must decide quickly whether to pursue a costly retrofit of their coal-fired units or shut them down.
Power producers have a wide range of technologies to choose from and a tight three-year window for compliance. Integrating these technologies with existing and new assets pose several operational, financial and regulatory challenges for the industry. Many of these projects will require a one-year extension. Some coal-fired units deemed critical to reliability may be granted a fifth year to comply.More Power Engineering Issue Articles
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