WASHINGTON, DC - With many areas of the country still
facing tight electricity supplies in coming years, Secretary of Energy
Spencer Abraham today announced more than $110 million in new projects
to apply leading edge clean coal technologies to improve the reliability
and environmental performance of the Nation's coal-burning power plants.
Abraham announced that the federal government will share the costs of
outfitting eight power plants to become "showcases" of ways
coal plants can continue generating low-cost electricity with better performance
and in compliance with tight environmental standards.
Coal-fired power plants are the workhorses of the Nation's power industry.
More than 600 coal-burning generators today account for more than half
the electricity Americans consume.
"Our National Energy Plan recognizes that America cannot generate
the electricity it needs without coal. That is why the President has pledged
a new effort to work with the power industry to apply our best technology
to use our vast coal reserves cleanly and economically. The projects we
are announcing today will give us a ?jump-start' on the President's clean
coal commitment," Abraham said.
The technology demonstrations will take place in Ohio, Florida, New York,
Wisconsin, South Dakota, Kansas, and Virginia.
The projects will be funded under the "Power Plant Improvement Initiative,"
a Congressionally-directed effort that will serve as the precursor to
President Bush's clean coal technology program.
Congress approved the initiative last October following a summer of intermittent
power supply disruptions and price increases. Using funding originally
allocated in the 1980s for clean coal technology demonstrations, Congress
directed the Department of Energy to use up to $95 million for projects
to improve the performance of existing and new coal-fired electric power
Today's projects were selected from 24 proposals submitted to the department
in April [read Techline].
Most will focus on lower cost technologies for reducing pollutants from
coal-burning power plants. With many coal plants threatened with premature
shutdowns because of environmental concerns, more effective and lower
cost emission controls can keep generators running while improving the
quality of the nation's air and water.
Other projects will improve the performance and reliability of power
plants. In one Florida project, sophisticated computer technology will
be used to determine how best to clean the inside of coal boilers without
disrupting plant operations. In another Florida project, a laser system
will be used to measure the wear rates of materials inside a coal gasifier.
Coal gasifiers could one day replace the traditional coal-burning boiler
in super-clean power plants of the future.
One project will tackle the problem of waste handling from coal-burning
power plants by turning the sludge from a Virginia power plant into masonry
blocks, reducing the need for landfills.
- Click on a project name for details.
Although exact dollar amounts will be determined during upcoming negotiations,
the Energy Department expects to provide approximately $51 million for
the eight projects. Private sector sponsors are expected to contribute
nearly $61 million, exceeding the 50 percent private sector cost-sharing
mandated by Congress. Projects will take from just over a year to five
years to complete. The selected projects are:
Energy Corporation, Madison, WI, proposes to use advanced
computational modeling to improve the performance of coal-burning
systems and "push the envelope" for existing technologies
that reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx), pollutants that contribute to smog,
harmful ozone, and acid rain. The Energy Department's $3.7 million
will provide for one of the three demonstrations proposed by the company,
at the Edgewood Generating Station in Sheboygan, WI. The plant uses
a "cyclone boiler," a type of coal furnace especially prone
to high nitrogen oxide emissions. Alliant Energy will match the federal
funding share for the 15-month project.
D. Little Inc., Cambridge, MA, will outfit a boiler at the
Orion Power Company's Avon Lake Power Plant near Cleveland, OH, with
a hybrid pollution control system to reduce nitrogen oxides. The hybrid
system will lower the cost of reducing NOx by integrating three established
NOx reduction technologies: natural gas reburning, selective non-catalytic
reduction, and selective catalytic reduction. The Energy Department's
share of the 38-month project is nearly $15 million; A.D. Little will
provide $15.6 million.
Energy Inc., South Park, PA, plans to demonstrate a multi-pollutant
control system to reduce NOx, sulfur dioxide (SO2), mercury, acidic
gases, and fine particles from smaller coal plants for less money
than it costs to control NOx and SO2 separately. Among the innovations
CONSOL plans to install at the AES Greenridge Power Plant near Dresden,
NY, is a catalytic NOx reduction technology that works inside the
plant's ductwork, a low-NOx combustion technology that burns coal
mixed with biomass, and a flue gas scrubber that is less complex and
nearly half the cost of conventional systems. The government's share
of the 54-month project will be $14.5 million; $18.3 million will
be provided by CONSOL and its project partners.
Tail Power Company, Fergus Falls, MN, will install a technology
designed to capture up to 99.9999% of the fly ash particles emitted
from a coal boiler. To achieve the high capture rate, the company
will integrate a fabric filter system (or "baghouse") with
an electrostatic precipitator (which uses electrically charged plates
to attract ash particles) in a single unit. The 36-month demonstration
will take place at the company's Big Stone Power Plant in South Dakota.
The Energy Department's $6.5 million cost-share will be matched by
$6.9 million in private sector funding.
Electric Power Corporation, Hays, KS, will install ultra-low-NOx
burners with other combustion controls to demonstrate a pollution
control concept that has never been tried in power plants burning
western subbituminous coals such as those from Wyoming's Powder River
Basin. The pollution controls will be tried out in a 48-month project
at the company's power station in Garden City, KS. The Energy Department
will fund $2.8 million with Sunflower Electric Power providing $3.0
Electric Company, Tampa, FL, has been selected for two projects.
At its Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach, FL, the company will
apply a neural network system to determine when and how best to dislodge
soot that can build up inside a boiler and degrade performance. While
sootblowers are common in utility boilers, most are manually activated
under preset rules or the operator's judgment. Computer controlled
sootblowing technology will permit the cleaning of internal boiler
surfaces with improved power plant performance. The 36-month project
will receive just under $1 million from the Energy Department with
Tampa Electric providing almost $1.5 million.
a second project, Tampa Electric will demonstrate a laser
system that measures the wear pattern of the brick liner inside a
coal gasifier. Coal gasification is likely to be one of the new technologies
installed in future power plants largely because it offers superior
environmental performance and efficiency improvements over today's
coal-burning boilers. In the Energy Department's original Clean Coal
Technology Program in the 1980s and 1990s, Tampa Electric built one
of the nation's pioneering coal gasification power plants in Polk
County, FL. This plant will become the test unit for the laser system.
The Energy Department will fund $640,000 of the 18-month project's
$1.7 million total cost.
Aggregates LLC, South Park, PA, will demonstrate a system
that converts the sludge from power plant scrubbers into light-weight
masonry blocks or concrete. Today more than 80% of this sludge is
disposed of in landfills, and the practice is becoming an increasingly
contentious public issue. This 43-month project in Birchwood, VA,
could offer an alternative by turning a pollutant into a commercially-valuable
product. The Energy Department will fund $7.2 million while the company
will provide $10.8 million.