Archive: Coal

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Coal Plant O&M: Coal Drying Reduces Pulverizer Start-up Costs

If coal leaving a pulverizer isn’t dry, it may plug up the coal pipes leading to the boiler. The coal-drying process in a pulverizer is similar to that used by flash dryers. Certain coals should be preheated to make them more combustible. Generally, preheating is done on higher rank coals — those with a low […]

Speaking of Coal Power: Shedding More Heat Than Light

When Charles Dickens began A Tale of Two Cities with, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," he was referring to the French Revolution of the late 18th century. But Dickens’ words apply equally well to the American generation industry of the late 20th century. A decade of overbuilding U.S. […]

Coal Plant O&M: Elemental Analyzer Checks Quality of Delivered Coal in Real Time

When you receive a shipment, you don’t wait weeks to see whether you got what you paid for — do you? J.M. Stuart Generating Station doesn’t, but it used to. Since coming on-line in the early 1970s, the big plant, on the Ohio River near Aberdeen, Ohio, mechanically sampled coal shipments as they reached the […]

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Expert systems optimize boiler performance, extend plant life

Slagging and fouling of furnaces and boilers’ convective pass top the list of costly coal plant O&M problems. Although sootblowing is a tried and true solution, running sootblowers too often can erode boiler tubes. Lehigh University’s Energy Research Center has developed an "expert" sootblowing system that has outperformed experienced operators’ "seat of their pants" sootblowing procedures on two head-to-head field tests.

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Designing and upgrading plants to blend coal

Fuel flexibility isn’t free. Whether you’re equipping a new power plant to burn more than one type of coal or retrofitting an existing plant to handle coal blends, you’ll have to spend time and money to ensure that all three functions performed by its coal-handling system—unloading, stockout, and reclaim—are up to the task. The first half of this article lays out the available options for configuring each subsystem to support blending. The second half describes, in words and pictures, how 12 power plants—both new and old—address the issue.

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Apply the fundamentals to improve emissions performance

The O&M staff of AES Westover Station wisely took a holistic approach to optimizing combustion within Unit 8’s boiler in order to reduce its NOx emissions while maintaining acceptable levels of carbon-in-ash content. The results of major modifications—centered on the addition of a fan-boosted overfire air system—were a 60% reduction in NOx levels, improved unit reliability, and a project payback period measured in months rather than years. As this project proved, the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

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Global Monitor (October 2006)

First live superconducting cable / Biggest CO2 storage project / Largest hydrogen-fueled plants / Record run for fuel cell cogen system / Largest PV plant still in Bavaria / Luz returns to U.S. / POWER digest

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Technology options for capturing CO2

Concerns about global climate change have prompted interest in reducing or eliminating the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of fossil fuel-fired power plants. Here’s a guide to the technology and economics of three CO2 capture methods: postcombustion separation of CO2 from flue gas (applicable to existing plants), and oxygen-fired combustion and precombustion capture (suitable for new coal-fired capacity, including IGCC plants).

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Utilities split on readiness of IGCC

For some gencos, the dearth of operating experience for integrated gasification combined-cycle plants adds too much uncertainty to the risk/reward equation for new-capacity technology options. For others, the possibility of being able to comply with air pollution limits as far out as 2018, as well as to meet all-but-certain CO2 caps, makes IGCC well worth investing in—now.