Archive: Coal

From Plan to Plant: The Struggle to Make “Clean Coal” a Reality

In early June, New York Gov. David Paterson proclaimed that his state would commit $6 million to buttress a carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) viability study for the development of a new 50-MW clean coal plant in Jamestown, in western New York. The circulating fluidized-bed (CFB) project, which would use pure oxygen to combust coal and subsequently capture and sequester 90% of emitted carbon dioxide (CO2), would be “the first of its kind in the world” and could potentially enable New York firms to launch exports of the technology worldwide, Paterson promised.

Designing Material-Handling Systems for FGD Projects

Reducing NOx, SO2, and other air pollutants continues to be a challenge for the power generation industry. The technologies are well-understood, but the devil is always in the details, especially when a complex treatment system is retrofitted to an existing plant.

The most common method for reducing SO2 from plant emissions is the conventional lime- and limestone-based flue gas desulfurization (FGD) system. Material-handling systems for limestone and gypsum present specific challenges and opportunities that differ from those of coal-handling systems. This article looks at factors to consider  before and during the design of a new material-handling system. The choices you make about these many variables will determine the cost and longevity of your system.

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Global Monitor (June 2008)

Artificial photosynthesis for solar power? / Poultry litter to fuel 55-MW N.C. plan / First fuel cell-powered plane takes flight / First HTS transmission cable energized / PTC powers wind power industry / Renewing Greensburg / GAO deems coal-to-gas switch impractical / Assessing the Congo River’s power potential / POWER digest / Corrections

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Boiler optimization increases fuel flexibility

Burning spot market fuels can reduce plant fuel costs, but it can also introduce unexpected operational problems throughout the boiler island. Orlando Utilities Commission’s Stanton Energy Center optimized its Unit 2 combustion system and improved O&M practices as part of a project to increase the unit’s fuel flexibility without degrading reliability or heat rate. OUC’s attitude: If you can measure it, you can manage it.

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Options for reducing a coal-fired plant’s carbon footprint: Part I

Caps on greenhouse gas emissions are imminent in the U.S., and they will change how we design tomorrow’s coal-fired power plants. Efforts are already under way to develop alternative capture and sequestration technologies, mainly for CO2. Unfortunately, the proposed processes all consume lots of energy, reducing plants’ net output and efficiency. In Part I of our look at these technologies, we list and quantify the negative impacts of postcombustion removal of CO2 from a coal plant’s flue gas. Next month, in Part II, we’ll do the same for four other CO2 reduction techniques: oxyfuel combustion, using higher-temperature and higher-pressure boilers, cofiring biomass, and replacing some coal-fired capacity with renewable capacity.

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The green trade-off

By Steven F. Greenwald and Jeffrey P. Gray These should be good times for environmentalists who focus on “green” energy policy. More than half the U.S. states have adopted renewable portfolio standards (RPS) that require utilities to meet specific renewable generation targets, and many are considering additional actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Such […]

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Future of national mercury rule now uncertain

This February, a federal appeals court tossed out the Clean Air Mercury Rule and its cap-and-trade program and ordered that mercury be regulated more stringently as a hazardous air pollutant. Adding insult to injury, the court made its ruling effective one month later. While the EPA regroups, state energy and environmental regulators will have an opportunity to look closely at recent power plant permits for guidance. This article reviews the technology options and regulatory approach for mercury control used on recently permitted and currently operating coal-fired plants.

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Global Monitor (May 2008)

National Grid divested of Ravenswood/ GE to sell Baglan Bay plant; From prairie grass to power/Renewables experience 40% growth/ The sustainable city/Solar recharger for developing countries/ Seeking CCS solutions/ Hoover Dam could stop generating/ Japan turns to fossil fuels/U.S. reactors produce record power/ POWER digest

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Global Monitor (April 2008)

Tenaska proposes first new coal-fired plant with carbon capture/ Concerns raised over growth of China’s CO2 emissions/ Sandia, Stirling Energy Systems set new world record/ Indonesia orders first Wärtsilä Gas Cubes/ First wind turbines on Galapagos Islands cut oil imports/ Harnessing waste heat for electricity/ POWER digest/ Correction

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New coal plant technologies will demand more water

Population shifts, growing electricity demand, and greater competition for water resources have heightened interest in the link between energy and water. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects a 22% increase in U.S. installed generating capacity by 2030. Of the 259 GW of new capacity expected to have come on-line by then, more than 192 GW will be thermoelectric and thus require some water for cooling. Our challenge will become balancing people’s needs for power and for water.