Archive: Coal

Chemical looping and coal

What does human metabolism have in common with coal combustion? Quite a bit, it turns out, say researchers at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) who are studying chemical looping combustion (CLC) involving coal gasification, an emerging technology for clean energy production from fossil and renewable fuels.

Dubuque Generating Station, Dubuque, Iowa

Top Plant: Alliant Energy’s Dubuque Generating Station is a fine example of why small doesn’t mean insignificant in the power generation industry. This winner of the EUCG Best Performer award in the small plant category shows that its operating excellence towers over that of many larger and much newer coal-fired power plants.

Boryeong Thermal Power Complex, Boryeong-Si, Chungcheongnam-do Province, South Korea

Top Plant: From tall skyscrapers and flashing neon signs to Buddhist temples and pagodas, South Korea is a mixture of the new and old Asia. Doing its part to help modernize this country, the Boryeong Thermal Power Complex operates six coal-fired 500-MW units that provide electricity to power South Korea’s economic growth. One of the important reasons for this facility’s overall success is its operational reliability. An example of this is Boryeong Unit 3’s outstanding achievement of 3,000 days of trouble-free operation.

Rawhide Energy Station, Fort Collins, Colorado

Top Plant: The staff of the Rawhide Energy Station have been racking up operating stats and an environmental performance record that is the envy of other plant managers. In the past decade Rawhide has enjoyed an equivalent availability factor in the mid- to high 90s and an average capacity factor approaching 90%. Still not content with this performance, Rawhide invested in new technology and equipment upgrades to further optimize performance, reduce emissions, and keep cost competitive.

TS Power Plant, Eureka County, Nevada

Top Plant: Not all coal-fired power plants are constructed by investor-owned utilities or independent power producers selling to wholesale markets. When Newmont Mining Corp. recognized that local power supplies were inadequate and too expensive to meet long-term electricity needs for its major gold- and copper-mining operations in northern Nevada, it built its own generation. What’s more, Newmont’s privately owned 200-MW net coal-fired plant features power plant technologies that will surely become industry standards. Newmont’s investment in power and technology is also golden: The capital cost will be paid back in about eight years.

Finessing fuel fineness

Most of today’s operating coal plants began service at least a generation ago and were designed to burn eastern bituminous coal. A switch to Powder River Basin coal can stress those plants’ boiler systems, especially the pulverizers, beyond their design limits and cause no end of operational and maintenance problems. Many of those problems are caused by failing to maintain good fuel fineness when increasing fuel throughput.

The Problem of Fine Particles

No matter what its size, fine particulate matter is a serious matter for coal-burning power plants. A process that charges those particles shows promise for mitigating the problem.

Revived Energy Storage Technology Offers Major Grid Benefits

In a move that could boost the value of wind and nuclear generation, relieve stress on the nation’s transmission grid, and reduce utility carbon emissions, PSEG Global LLC and energy storage pioneer Michael Nakhamkin have announced that they have formed a joint venture to market and deploy “second generation” compressed air energy storage technology.

Hill Backing New FERC Powers on Grid Cyber Attacks

Spurred on by a recent audit showing widespread utility noncompliance with voluntary recommendations meant to protect the grid from cyber attacks, key lawmakers have unveiled plans to give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) broad powers to enact new mandatory measures to close vulnerabilities in the U.S. bulk power system to potentially devastating computer-launched assaults.