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News Release

Release Date: November 5, 2004

DOE Selects Five NOx-Control Projects to Combat Acid Rain and Smog
Industry Partners to Focus on Reducing Emissions While Cutting Energy Costs

PITTSBURGH, PA - Continuing efforts to cut acid rain and smog-producing nitrogen oxides (NOx) have prompted the U.S. Department of Energy to partner with industry experts to develop advanced NOx-control technologies. With the selection of five new NOx-control projects, the Energy Department continues as a leader in developing advanced technologies to achieve environmental compliance for the nation’s fleet of coal-fired power plants. 

Although today’s NOx-control workhorses, such as low-NOx burners and selective catalytic reduction (SCR), have been successfully deployed to address existing regulations, proposed regulations will require deeper cuts in NOx emissions, at a greater number of generating facilities. Many of the smaller affected plants will not be able to cost-effectively use today’s technologies; these are the focus of the advanced technologies selected in this announcement.

With this new round of selections, the Energy Department has asked industry to reduce energy consumption, address the impacts of new technologies on pulverized coal-fired utility plants, and cut the costs of burning high-volatile bituminous coal. The overall goal is to prepare for future regulations by reducing emissions below 0.12 pounds of NOx per million Btus, while lowering costs by 25 percent compared to SCR.

The selected projects and their descriptions follow:

  • ALSTOM Power Inc., Windsor, Conn.
    Enhanced Combustion Low-NOx Pulverized Coal Burner

    ALSTOM will develop an enhanced combustion, low-NOx pulverized coal burner, and integrate the burner into its own state-of-the-art low-NOx firing systems. This integrated approach will provide an option for meeting proposed legislation calling for less than 0.15 pounds of NOx per million Btus at three-fourths the cost of SCR. It will have almost no impact on related balance-of-plant issues when a high-volatile bituminous coal is burned. ALSTOM will conduct large pilot-scale testing in its industrial-scale burner facility in Windsor, Conn. When coupled with computational modeling, the test data will provide the information ALSTROM needs to design, construct, and demonstrate a commercial version of an enhanced combustion, low-NOx pulverized coal burner. (Project duration: 20 months; Total cost: $1,794,541)
  • The Babcock & Wilcox Company, Barberton, Ohio
    Advanced In-Furnace NOx Control for Wall and Cyclone-Fired Boilers
    Babcock & Wilcox will develop and demonstrate an advanced NOx-control technology to reach an ultra-low emission target of 0.10 pounds of NOx per million Btus when burning high-volatile eastern bituminous coal. Along with co-participant American Air Liquide, Babcock & Wilcox will use a “layered” strategy that combines deep air staging, continuous corrosion monitoring, advanced combustion-control enhancements, and proprietary combustion techniques involving oxygen injection. Investigators will evaluate the best way to use oxygen in wall-fired and cyclone-fired power plants during pilot-scale activities at Babcock & Wilcox’s small boiler simulator in Alliance, Ohio. Guided by the test results, they will conduct a commercial-scale assessment using numerical modeling. Part of the assessment will include a detailed economic analysis to compare the NOx-removal cost of the proposed technology to the cost of SCR. (Project duration: 24 months; Total cost: $1,358,966)
  • Fossil Energy Research Corporation (FERCo), Laguna Hills, Calif.
    In Situ Device for Real-Time Catalyst Deactivation Measurements in Full-Scale SCR Systems 

    FERCo will use a three-pronged approach to demonstrate how the operating costs of SCR can be reduced. FERCo and its team will first develop an in situ device to collect real-time SCR performance data by continuously measuring catalyst activity. As the data is collected, it will be analyzed by an existing catalyst management software program previously developed by FERCo and J.E. Cichanowicz, Inc. (JEC). The results of this analysis will provide timely information about catalyst deactivation to enhance decision-making about boiler operating conditions that negatively impact catalyst activity, and subsequent catalyst replacement to lessen overall SCR operating costs. Joining FERCo and JEC, Southern Company will provide the host site and the Brand-Gaus Company will provide measurement instrumentation. (Project duration: 32 months; Total cost: $440,351)
  • Reaction Engineering International (REI), Salt Lake City, Utah
    Cyclone Boiler Field Testing of Advanced Layered NOx-Control Technology
    Building on previous work by REI, this project will apply field testing and combustion modeling to evaluate a technology called advanced layered technology application (ALTA) as a means to achieve emissions below 0.15 pounds of NOx per million Btus in a cyclone boiler. The technology combines deep staging from overfire air, rich reagent injection, and a novel selective non-catalytic reduction approach. Tests will also evaluate the impact on balance-of-plant issues such as the amount of unburned carbon in the ash, slag tapping, waterwall corrosion, ammonia slip, and heat distribution. Other project participants include AmerenUE and the Electric Power Research Institute. (Project duration: 12 months; Total cost: $481,000)
  • Reaction Engineering International (REI), Salt Lake City, Utah
    Pilot-Scale Demonstration of Advanced Layered NOx -Control Technology for Coal-Fired Boilers
    In another selection, REI will develop and verify the performance of a fundamentally different approach of burner design for NOx control. The objective of the burner design is to achieve homogeneity of the combustion products in the boiler. Not only does this create ideal conditions for combustion-related control of NOx, it also results in a stoichiometry and temperature distribution above the burners that is ideal for the chemistry involved in rich reagent injection technology. In order to validate the technology in terms of NOx control, balance-of-plant impacts, and economic competitiveness, REI will conduct pilot-scale testing to optimize the near-burner combustion system and reagent injection, as well as computational modeling to guide the optimization and demonstrate its promise at full-scale. Other participants include the University of Utah and the Electric Power Research Institute. (Project duration: 12 months; Total cost: $212,000)

Contact: David Anna, DOE/NETL, 412-386-4646