Archive: Coal

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 […]

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 […]

Advanced Combustion: Cofiring Coal and Biomass or Non-Recyclable Waste

Burning biomass or nonrecyclable commercial, municipal, or industrial waste along with coal represents one of the nearest-term and lowest-cost options for reducing carbon dioxide (CO 2) emissions from existing utility power plants. At more than 150 plants worldwide, doing so has produced lower CO 2 emissions than burning coal alone. Indeed, with the number of […]

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 Manual cleaning systems have been superseded by computers and neural nets, but the basic cleaning apparatus remained unchanged—until now.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.