Archive: Coal


Tech Notes: Intelligent Sootblowing Needed to Keep Uprated Units Clean

The National Coal Council estimates that 40,000 MW of additional generating capacity is available to existing U.S. coal-fired plants simply by making efficiency improvements. Because decreases in production costs go straight to a plant’s bottom line, efficiency projects usually have short payback periods, especially if implemented in concert with mandatory environmental upgrades. One often-overlooked consequence […]

Speaking of Coal Power: Polar Bear Politics

During his June 2007 speech to the National Press Club, presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator John Edwards called America’s 37 million residents living below the poverty line "the great moral issue of our time." He proposed setting a national goal of ending poverty in 30 years. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, disputed […]


Safety: Detecting Fires on PRB Coal Conveyors

All conveyor systems are at risk of fire caused by the ignition of transported materials or equipment failure. But the propensity of Powder River Basin (PRB) coal to self-ignite introduces an exceptional hazard requiring special fire prevention and automatic detection and suppression efforts. To that end, this article discusses the technologies of linear heat detection […]

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The Coal Patrol: Demand Growth — and Reliability — Are Still Supply-Limited

While noting marginal improvements since last year, America’s power reliability watchdog recently warned that the nation’s growing thirst for electricity will still far exceed planned increases in generation capacity over the next 10 years, and that reserve margins could dip below optimal levels within two or three years in California, the Rocky Mountain states, New […]


Coal Plant O&M: Retrofit Flyash-Handling System Pays Dividends

Like many older coal-fired plants, Westar Energy’s Jeffrey Energy Center (JEC) was built with traditional, pneumatic flyash-handling and removal systems. Such systems collect flyash in hoppers attached to the bottom of a unit’s electrostatic precipitator (ESP) and/or baghouse. Periodically, the hoppers are emptied into tanks and the flyash is conveyed away for disposal or beneficiation. […]


The Coal Pile: Dreaming of a Green Christmas

On November 20, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and top executives of the real estate company Tishman Speyer announced several energy conservation measures to be implemented at Rockefeller Center this holiday season. One is the outfitting of its famous Norway Spruce Christmas tree with 30,000 light-emitting diodes (LEDs) strung on five miles of […]


Polk Power Station Unit 1, Mulberry, Florida

Ten years ago, POWER selected Tampa Electric’s 250-MW Polk Power Station and its revolutionary integrated gasification combined-cycle demonstration project as the magazine’s 1997 Plant of the Year. Although no new commercial IGCC projects have been built since then, interest in deploying the coal-gasification technology is getting traction in some parts of the U.S. In 2007, POWER recognizes Polk Unit 1 as a Top Plant for developing trailblazing O&M practices and technical improvements that enable it to operate today as reliably as a modern pulverized coal plant, with lower pollutant emissions.


Pleasant Prairie Power Plant Air Quality Control Upgrade Project, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin

We Energies’ Pleasant Prairie Power Plant is a good example of how existing plants retrofitted with NOx and SO2 removal systems benefit from early planning and action. P4, as everyone calls it, recently completed a multiyear project to add a selective catalytic reduction system to one of its two units and a scrubber to both. The unique design and contracting aspects of the project make Pleasant Prairie one of POWER’s top coal-fired plants of 2007.


IGCC demonstration plant at Nakoso Power Station, Iwaki City, Japan

Integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power plants are not yet standard designs. Although they use mature coal gasification processes and combustion turbines, disparate technologies and equipment still require custom, laborious interfacing at each site. Every major gas turbine vendor now can point to one or more power-producing IGCC projects based on its prime mover, but none yet offers a "reference" plant that has standardized the interfacing enough to justify confidence in two key metrics: $/kW and availability. With an air-blown demonstration plant based on one of its 130-MW turbines, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is looking to change the rules of this game.


Global Monitor (October 2007)

Siemens ships first blade from U.S. plant; GE’s frames hit 1,000; Battery problems hit hybrid EV programs; Solar thermal rebounds in California;Peabody’s Illinois coal plant gets green light;EPA could sink 278-MW CFB unit; Longest-serving NRC commissioner dies at 58; POWER digest; Readers talk back; corrections