Clean Coal Power Initiative: Round 1

News Release

Release Date: March 17, 2004


Cleaner Air by the Numbers
NeuCo Signs Clean Coal Agreement to Apply Neural Network Technology to Illinois Power Plant

WASHINGTON, DC - A series of sophisticated computational techniques will be applied to an Illinois coal-fired power plant as part of the federal government's efforts to show how new technology can increase power plant efficiency and reduce air emissions.

The U.S. Department of Energy and NeuCo, Inc., Boston, Mass. recently signed an agreement to begin work on the first of eight projects selected in Round I of the President's Clean Coal Power Initiative.

In this $19 million project, NeuCo, Inc. will design and demonstrate integrated online optimization systems at Dynegy Midwest Generation's Baldwin Energy Complex (Baldwin, Ill.) and will use advanced computational techniques that are expected to achieve peak performance from the three 600-MW coal-fired units at the energy complex.

Baldwin Energy Complex

Dynegy Midwest Generation's Baldwin Energy Complex will host NeuCo's online optimization systems to increase plant efficiency and reliability.


NeuCo, Inc., a leading provider of optimization software for electric power producers, will use its ProcessLink™ technology platform of neural networks, advanced algorithms, and "fuzzy" logic, to maximize performances from the power plant's combustor, soot removal system, and emission controls - the first time ever that all of these modules have been integrated into a computerized process network.

Since power plants operate in many different conditions, the goal of optimization is to minimize some conditions, including NOx formation, while lowering the heat rate to improve fuel efficiency. Conversely, others are maximized and improved, such as combustion performance.

The NeuCo, Inc. ProcessLink™  technology platform is designed to permit flexible deployment strategies. It does not require all data and logic to reside on a single computer. Instead, the model will allow applications to build upon networked computational resources.

"This project award will enable us to proceed with a new generation of energy processes that sharply reduce air emissions and other pollutants," said acting Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Mark Maddox. "This is the right project, at the right place, at the right time."

Building on the successes of the original clean coal program, the new Clean Coal Power Initiative encompasses a broad spectrum of research and large-scale demonstration projects that will help the nation achieve the President's Clear Skies initiative to reduce power plant emissions, particularly mercury, by about 70 percent by 2018, and the Global Climate Change initiative to reduce carbon emissions growth over the next ten years.

The 4-year long project will be managed by the Energy Department's National Energy Technology Laboratory. The project is estimated to create approximately 540 new jobs.

NeuCo is jointly owned by Charles River Associates, Advanced Energy Systems, and Babcock-Borsig Power Service.