Archive: Coal

Harness detonation waves to clean boiler tubes

Air and steam sootblowers have been the power industry’s solution to the slagging and fouling of boiler convective passes caused by flyash and combustion products. Manual cleaning systems have been superseded by computers and neural nets, but the basic cleaning apparatus remained unchanged—until now. Say hello to detonation waves. They can knock those deposits loose while markedly improving boiler heat transfer efficiency.

Managing air to improve combustion efficiency

The average pulverized coal–fired coal plant is more than 30 years old and has a heat rate in the neighborhood of 10,300 Btu/kWh operating with an "off-design" coal. Add a high load factor (or increased cycling service), squeezed maintenance budgets, reduced plant staff, and increased time between overhauls to meet the plant’s pro forma, and you’ve got major stress. Fortunately, there is a way to come in under your NOx budget and lower the stress. Breathe deeply and read carefully.

R.E. Burger Plant, Shadyside, Ohio

FirstEnergy’s R.E. Burger Plant has hosted a number of R&D projects over the years, but none as large as the demonstration of Powerspan’s 50-MW Electro-Catalytic Oxidation (ECO) multipollutant removal process a few years ago. Credit Powerspan for scaling up the demo unit and for adding CO2 as a target of a new pilot process called ECO2. And don’t forget the behind-the-scenes support of Burger’s plant staff and their willingness to incubate R&D projects while producing power. That’s what makes R.E. Burger a Top Plant in our book.

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 (September 2007)

Constellation files partial COL / IAEA scrutinizes shaken Japanese nuke / Wave energy of the future? / New GE plant reigns in Spain / Solar house competition heats up / Oxygen-blown IGCC, at micro-scale / Turning corncobs into ethanol / Court blocks gas attack on coal project / New advanced energy initiatives / POWER digest

PRB Tech Notes: AmerenUE Teams with Charah and Home Depot to Market Ash for Concrete Mix

Burning Powder River Basin (PRB) coal can be a curse or a blessing, depending on your attention to the details of plant design and operations. One disadvantage of PRB coal combustion is the abundance of bottom ash and flyash generated as a by-product. Handling and properly disposing of the ash can be challenging and costly. […]

The Coal Pile: Steam Blast Rocks Big Apple

This July, an underground steam pipe near Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal ruptured and spewed a scalding brown geyser of steam and debris higher than the nearby 77-story Chrysler Building. The blast, which injured 30 people, created a 40-foot crater at street level that swallowed a tow truck. A similar explosion in 1989 killed three people. […]