Archive for March, 2013

America’s Power: Learn More And Get Involved

Coal provides the economic foundation for millions of Americans across the country – whether it’s through employment or low energy prices.  When times are tough, it doesn’t make sense to add unreasonable  regulations that cause jobs to be lost and energy prices to increase for families and businesses.

The coal-based electricity industry is directly responsible for more than 550,000 America jobs: it gives peace-of-mind to small businesses that are struggling and high tech job opportunities for future graduates.  Americans need to continue to take advantage of this domestic resource so we can to pull out of these hard economic times.

The choices that we make now directly affect Americans.  Keep in mind that coal is the abundant, affordable resource that powers America. Learn more and get involved by clicking here.


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More than 371,000 fans of clean coal technology already have liked us on Facebook.  Have you?  Our Facebook page is an informative space to discuss developments in clean coal technology along with domestic and international progress in energy policy.

We always welcome a healthy discussion and debate regarding clean coal and the related technologies, but more importantly, we encourage fans to share their thoughts on a wide array of topics.  Topics include everything from current news regarding clean coal technology to updates about real people showing their support for coal-based electricity from all across the country.

If you are a regular reader of Behind the Plug, we look forward to you becoming a new fan of America’s Power on Facebook today.


21st Century Clean Coal Technology: Dry Sorbent Injection

Dry Sorbent Injection (DRI) achieves between 40 to 75% removal of Sulfur Dioxide and acid gases and is one of the numerous clean coal technologies that impact our daily lives.  According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, DSI systems remove hydrogen chloride (HCl) and other acid gases through two basic steps:

  • Step one. A powdered sorbent is injected into the flue gas—combustion exhaust gas exiting a power plant—where it reacts with the HCl. The sorbents most commonly associated with DSI are trona (sodium sesquicarbonate, a naturally occurring mineral mined in Wyoming), sodium bicarbonate, and hydrated lime.
  • Step two. The compound is removed by a downstream particulate matter control device such as an electrostatic precipitator (ESP) or a fabric filter (FF), also referred to as a baghouse. Fabric filters are generally more effective (when combined with DSI) than ESPs, with respect to overall HCl reduction. For modeling purposes, EPA estimate a DSI system with a fabric filter is expected to achieve 90% removal of HCl, while an ESP only achieves 60% removal, although actual performance will vary by individual plant.

Call Your Senator to Support Coal Today

Ask your Senator to support amendments this week to the federal budget which would give power plant operators enough time to comply with one of the most expensive EPA regulations in history. Without these amendments, some coal-fueled power plants that provide affordable, reliable electricity will be at risk, now and in the future.

Click here to enter your information and America’s Power will connect you directly to your Senator’s office so you can ask them to support these important amendments today.


Democratic Senators Urge President to Amend EPA Regulations

In a letter released on Monday, four Democratic senators from energy-producing states have urged President Barack Obama’s administration to amend the EPA’s new source performance standard regulations.

Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana requested President Obama to urge the EPA to differentiate the standards based on fuel type and establish supercritical coal generation technology as the performance standard for new coal-based technology.

They wrote:

“Our nation can continue to use coal and continue to lower emissions at the sametime. Coal-based power generation projects are being developed across the country, using state-of-the-art technologies that are laying the foundation for revolutionary advancements in power plant efficiency and reduced CO2 levels.

These advancements in technology are allowing us to modernize the existing coal-fueled fleet improving efficiency and reducing emissions, while continuing to produce low-cost electricity for homes, offices and factories.”

Adopting the proposed regulations would have the effect of preventing existing plants from making upgrades that would allow for more electricity generation with less fuels and fewer emissions, the senators wrote.


Mississippi 21st Century Coal Facility on Schedule

Construction of a new 21st Century clean coal facility remains on schedule at the site of Mississippi Power’s Kemper Plant.

This month’s progress report from the Kemper County energy facility says that the facility has reached peak construction and remains on schedule to open in May 2014. The plant’s positive economic impact continues to be felt across the region.

The progress report goes on to say:

“The project is creating jobs: 12,000 direct and indirect during construction and more than 1,000 direct and indirect permanent positions once operational. Nearly 300 Mississippi companies are participating in the project and receiving more than $650 million for the services they are supplying.

The final lift of the facility’s 550-ton gasifier was completed earlier this month. This milestone marks the final work for the site’s massive 600-foot crane, which will be dismantled over the coming weeks.

The gasifier, which is the heart of the plant, will be used to convert the plant’s affordable fuel source, lignite, into a synthesis gas to generate electricity. The first lignite-to synthetic gas conversion is slated for early 2014.”

Facts about the clean coal technology that will be part of the Kemper Plant:

  • The Kemper County energy facility is an electric power plant using an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) design called Transport Integrated Gasification (TRIG™) technology.TRIG™ is a superior coal-gasification method with low impacts to our environment.
  • The TRIG™ technology was developed by the Department of Energy, Southern Company and KBR at the Power Systems Development Facility in Wilsonville, Alabama.TRIG™ technology can utilize lignite, which accounts for more than half of the world’s vast coal reserves. It offers a simpler and more robust method than most existing coal-gasification technologies.
  • TRIG™ technology, which will be used at the Kemper facility, also produces more power and offers lower capital cost as well as lower operation and maintenance cost than what is possible with other available gasification technologies.
  • With TRIG™ technology, the Kemper facility will turn Mississippi lignite into a clean gas while reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and mercury.
  • The TRIG™ technology will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 65 percent – making CO2 emissions equivalent to a similarly sized natural gas combined cycle power plant.


21st Century Coal Projects: Boundary Dam Power Station

A recent story from E&E reported on the progress of Canadian utility SaskPower’s 43-year-old coal plant at its Boundary Dam Power Station. The facility is being retrofitted to capture roughly 90 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions and store the gas deep underground.

The Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Demonstration Project will see Unit #3 at a coal-fired power plant located at Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada, rebuilt with a fully-integrated carbon capture and storage (CCS) system. It will be the first commercial-scale power plant equipped with a fully integrated CCS system. Operations are expected to begin in 2014.

According to the story, “The 110-megawatt project may be a game changer in two ways — it could become the world’s first commercial demonstration of carbon capture technology on a power plant at large scale. And it differs from other proposals in that it is a retrofit of an older coal plant and the retrofit might later be applied to similar plants.”

The Boundary Dam project will reduce CO2 emissions by approximately one million tons a year — the equivalent of taking more than 250,000 cars off Saskatchewan roads annually. The CO2 will be sold to resource companies to be used in enhanced oil recovery operations. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) will also be captured and sold.

“Boundary Dam will make the first benchmark. It will define the costs, which is so important,” Mike Monea, SaskPower president of carbon capture and storage initiatives, said at a briefing in Washington, D.C., last week. “Whoever builds the next one won’t have to spend as much money as us.”

Globally, more coal is expected to be used to produce electricity in 2017 than now, despite changing dynamics in the United States, according to the International Energy Agency.


The Texas Clean Energy Project

In a recent Op-Ed in the New York Times, author Joe Nocera talks about “A Real Carbon Solution” in Odessa, Tex. as the Summit Power Group plans to break ground on a $2.5 billion coal gasification power plant. Summit has named it the Texas Clean Energy Project (TCEP).

TCEP is a “NowGen” Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) facility that will incorporate carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology in a first-of-its-kind commercial clean coal power plant.

TCEP will be a 400MW power/poly-gen plant that will also produce urea for the U.S. fertilizer market and capture 90 percent of its carbon dioxide (CO2) – approximately 3 million tons per year – which will be used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in the West Texas Permian Basin.

According to Nocera, “Part of the promise of this power plant is its use of gasified coal; because the gasification process doesn’t burn the coal, it makes for far cleaner energy than a traditional coal-fired plant.”

“But another reason this plant — and a handful of similar plants — has such enormous potential is that it will capture some 90 percent of the facility’s already reduced carbon emissions. Some of those carbon emissions will be used to make fertilizer. The rest will be sold to the oil industry,which will push it into the ground, as part of a process called enhanced oil recovery.”

TCEP received a $450MM award in 2010 from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Coal Power Initiative. TCEP received its final air quality permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on December 28, 2010.