Over the last several decades, the coal-based electricity industry has invested billions to clean the air. The result is that emissions of major pollutants from coal-fueled power plants have been reduced by nearly 88 percent per unit of electricity generated. And not only that, the coal-based electricity industry has invested $110 billion through the end of 2012 to achieve these emission reductions.
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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.
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.”
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.
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.
Over the last several decades, the coal-based electricity industry invested billions to clean the air. The result is that emissions of major pollutants from coal-fueled power plants have been reduced by nearly 90 percent per unit of electricity generated.
And not only that, the coal-based electricity industry is investing $125 billion more through 2015 to reduce them even further.
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On the day of the State of the Union address, we hope President Obama heeds the advice of then candidate Obama. It was just a few years ago he stated:
“This is America – we figured out how to put a man on the moon in 10 years. You tell me we can’t find a way to burn coal that we mine right here in the United States of America and make it work.”
A recent story coming from Ohio State University shows that, as it turns out, candidate Obama was on the right track. The Columbus Dispatch reports, “Ohio State University researchers say they have developed a way to create energy using coal while capturing 99 percent of carbon dioxide. The trick, they say, is not burning the fossil fuel, but using a chemical reaction to draw its energy.”
“This, they say, is a huge step toward the promise of “clean coal,” something President Barack Obama has touted as the future of energy production in the United States.”
The project is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, and will be moving south to a larger-scale study at the agency’s U.S National Carbon Capture Center in Wilsonville, Ala.
While commitment to fully implementing 21st Century coal-based electricity seems to have wavered from the current administration, it’s clear that American ingenuity and know-how will continue to produce major developments in clean coal technologies for years to come.
Last month we told you about SWEPCO’s John W. Turk Jr. Power Plant that began commercial operations on December 20, 2012 in Arkansas. Located in Hempstead County, the Turk Plant is a 600-megawatt plant and is the first ultra-supercritical generating unit to go into operation in the U.S.
Because of the technology built into the plant, it is able to generate electricity more efficiently at higher temperatures, requiring less coal and producing fewer emissions to generate the same amount of power as existing coal units.
But have you ever wondered specifically this clean coal technology works? This in-depth article from Powermag.com takes a detailed look at why the Turk plant is such an historic milestone for coal-based electricity in the U.S.
“The much-watched $1.8 billion project operates above supercritical pressure and at advanced steam temperatures above 593C (1,100F), allowing it to employ a more efficient steam cycle that tamps down fuel consumption by 13% compared to a subcritical boiler—as well as reducing reagent consumption, solid waste, water use, and operating costs.”
According to Nicholas K. Akins, AEP president and chief executive officer, “At Turk, we’ve deployed ultra-supercritical generating technology, and built one of the nation’s cleanest, most efficient pulverized coal generating plants. Turk will provide reliable, affordable power for our customers and project partners and will provide significant benefits for the area’s economy.”
Mississippi Power announced yesterday that they are delivering the first two of four Particulate Control Devices which, when operational, will remove any remaining particulates after locally mined coal is gasified, producing cleaner electricity and further reducing the plant’s environmental footprint.
“These components will play a vital role in delivering clean, safe, made-in-Mississippi energy to Mississippi Power customers,” said Tommy Anderson, vice president of generation development. “We’re less than 16 months from commercial operation and this facility will utilize the cleanest technology available.”
In six months, the facility will begin initial start-up activities for the combined cycle portion of the plant, which will generate the electricity. Nearly 12,000 direct and indirect jobs are being created during construction and more than 1,000 direct and indirect permanent positions once the facility opens. Nearly 300 Mississippi companies have a significant role in the construction of the project, which is delivering a tremendous economic boost to the state of Mississippi.
Mike Duncan is the president and CEO for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting the use of coal...
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Laura Sheehan Senior Vice President
Laura Sheehan is a seasoned public affairs expert with more than a 20-year track record in policy communications, media relations, crisis and issues management, community and...
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Bianca Prade Vice President
Bianca Prade is ACCCE's vice president of digital strategy, and leads new and traditional media strategies to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of coal-based electricity...
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The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) is committed to the idea that America can have the affordable, reliable electricity we need, with the clean environment we want. ACCCE’s Behind the Plug blog is the place for up-to-date news and analysis on clean coal technology developments and energy policy progress.
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