Washington, DC - The nation's first full-scale test of the patented
TOXECON™ pollution control process began operations at the We Energies
Presque Isle Power Plant located in Marquette, MI.
In the TOXECON™ process, sorbents are injected into a power plant's exhaust
stream to soak up the pollutants so they can be captured and prevented
from being released to the atmosphere. TOXECON™ is a patented method resulting
from research by DOE, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and
nine other project partners. It received a 2003 R&D 100 Award for its
approach to achieve timely compliance with future mercury regulations.
The $52.9 million TOXECON™ project was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy
in 2003 as part of the President's Clean Coal Power Initiative. Under their agreement
with DOE, We Energies is designing, installing, operating and evaluating the
TOXECON™ process as an integrated system to control emissions of mercury, particulate
matter, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides during the operations of its Presque
This test program is important because the Presque Isle Power Plant burns a western,
sub-bituminous coal and uses a particulate collection device known as a hot-side
electrostatic precipitator, or hot-side ESP.
Mercury presents special problems for sub-bituminous coals, which represent about
half of all the fuel used to generate coal-produced power in the United States.
Mercury in flue gas from sub-bituminous coal (such as that from the Powder River
Basin) exists primarily in elemental form as a vapor that is insoluble in water. It
will pass through virtually all types of air pollution control equipment.
The TOXECON™ process may prove to be the primary mercury control choice for western
coals, especially for units employing a hot-side ESP. Thus, TOXECON™ has application
at power plants burning any coals with hot-side ESPs (18 gigawatts in the United
States), bituminous coals with cold-side ESPs (81 gigawatts), and plants burning
western, sub-bitminous coals with cold-side ESPs (68 gigawatts). Using TOXECON™ to
control sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) further enhances its attractiveness
for improved environmental control.
For the state of Michigan, the demonstration is especially significant. Currently,
all of Michigan's inland lakes are under a statewide advisory limiting the consumption
of fish due to mercury contamination. In April 2006, Governor Jennifer Granholm
announced a proposal to reduce mercury emissions from Michigan power plants in
order to protect the environment. Under the new rule, Michigan power plants will
have to reduce mercury emissions by 90 percent by 2015 based on a system-wide
When completed in 2009, and if successful, the TOXECON™ project could reduce
mercury emissions at the plant by 90 percent, capturing about 80 pounds per year
of mercury. It also hoped that the plant will eliminate 1,145 tons per year of
SO2 and 428 tons per year of NOx emissions - reductions of 30 percent and 70
Mercury levels before and after TOXECON™ treatment are being monitored by a continuous
emissions monitoring (CEM) instrument developed at Thermo Electron Corporation
(Waltham, MA) with support from DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory. Initial
operation of a production model CEM instrument is stable and responsive to activated
carbon injection, already recording significant mercury reductions.
We Energies is the trade name of Wisconsin Electric Power Co. and Wisconsin Gas
Co., the principal utility subsidiaries of Wisconsin Energy Corporation. They
provide service to more than one million electric customers and nearly one million
natural gas customers in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
We Energies is being assisted by team members ADA-ES, who are providing program
management support and design, and specifications for mercury control and monitoring;
Cummins & Barnard, who are providing architectural and engineering services
and construction management; and EPRI, who are technical advisors to the project.