Release Date: March 20, 2000
|DOE Seeks Cost-Shared Research Proposals to Remove
Mercury From Coal-Fired Power Plants
With the Environmental Protection Agency expected to decide in December whether to regulate mercury emissions from coal-burning boilers, the U.S. Department of Energy has kicked off a new effort to develop more affordable pollution control technologies that can remove mercury from power plant flue gases.
The Energy Department, through its National Energy Technology Laboratory, has issued a solicitation offering up to $13 million over three years for industry proposals on cost-cutting mercury-control methods for coal-based power systems.
Currently no technology exists that can uniformly control mercury from power plant flue gas emissions. The effectiveness of existing flue gas emission controls in removing mercury can vary considerably from plant to plant, or even from boiler to boiler. With today's technologies, mercury removal can range from essentially no control to as high as 90 percent.
The department's goal is to develop more effective options that will cut mercury emissions 50 to 70 percent by 2005 and 90 percent by 2010 at one-quarter to one-half of current cost estimates.
The Energy Department's action is intended to assist utilities and regulators determine the most cost-effective pollution control technologies that could be installed if the Federal government decides to regulate mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from coal-burning utilities.
The Environmental Protection Agency faces a December 15th deadline to decide whether it will regulate these emissions. If it decides to do so, a proposed regulation will be due no later than December 15, 2003, and promulgated the following year. Under this timetable, regulations would require utility compliance by December 2007 because the Clean Air Act requires sources to install Maximum Achievable Control Technologies three years after regulations are promulgated.
The department is seeking proposals for technologies, processes or methods in the following four categories:
The department will also consider controls that remove mercury along with other pollutants, including but not limited to, sulfur trioxide, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides and hydrogen chloride.
Projects in the first three areas require a 33 percent cost share from winning companies; a 20 percent cost share is required for projects in the fourth, more novel category.
The National Energy Technology Laboratory, which manages and implements DOE's fossil fuel projects, will select projects by two due dates. Proposals under the first three topics of interest are due on or before April 28, 2000; selections will be made by June 30. Proposals under the fourth area are due on or before August 31, 2000; projects will be selected by October 31.
The Energy Department has been sponsoring studies on mercury emissions from coal-based power generators to identify effective and economical control options. These studies include mercury removal from flue gas by enhancing conventional pollution controls, identifying combustion modifications and developing advanced control methods.
This solicitation builds on past DOE and other R&D organizations' mercury measurement and control efforts by conducting tests of the most promising methods at a large scale and at utility sites. The large-scale tests will produce valid information and data to evaluate mercury removal effectiveness, the economic impact of the control method, and the potential impact on plant operations. Through this solicitation, DOE intends to assess:
|Contact: David Anna, DOE/NETL, 412-386-4646|