POWER [July, 1 2010]

Cover Stories

Determining AQCS Mercury Removal Co-Benefits

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose an emissions standard for mercury and other hazardous air pollutants emitted by coal- and oil-fired electric generating units in March of 2011. The anticipated rule would require emission control to meet the various standards using maximum achievable control technology, as determined by the prescriptive requirements of the Clean Air Act. In response to the expected rule-making, utilities will be required to make technology decisions in order to ensure compliance. One cost-effective approach to compliance may be the use of “co-benefits” from air quality control systems (AQCSs) already in service that are designed to remove other pollutants.


A Slow Slog Ahead for U.S. Nukes

There is a certain tentativeness about new nuclear power in the U.S. these days, a low-grade anxiety, as demonstrated by the comments made by electric utility representatives at May’s ELECTRIC POWER Conference in Baltimore.

China: A World Powerhouse

It’s no surprise that China leads the world in recent power capacity additions. What may surprise you is the precise mix of options this vast country is relying upon to meet its ever-growing demand for electricity. As a result, this ancient civilization is fast becoming the test bed and factory for the newest generation and transmission technologies.

Circulating Fluid Bed Scrubbers Bridge the Gap Between Dry and Wet Scrubbers

Circulating fluid bed (CFB) dry scrubbing technologies provide distinct advantages over conventional spray dryer absorber scrubbers for removing SO2 from flue gases. The CFB also competes well against wet limestone flue gas desulfurization processes typically favored for large boilers firing high-sulfur coals. With high SO2 removal rates in a dry treatment process, the CFB scrubber appears to be the best of both technologies: a water-stingy scrubber with high SO2 removal rates.

Drax Offers Model for Cofiring Biomass

When it is completed, later this summer, the UK’s Drax Power Station biomass facility will become the largest dedicated cofiring project of its kind in the world. As U.S. coal-fired generators come under increasing pressure to cut emissions and take advantage of incentives to promote power generation from renewables, Drax offers an example of what is possible.

Industry Pivots on Natural Gas, Hails Cap and Trade

At the opening ELECTRIC POWER 2010 plenary session, both the keynote speaker’s address and discussion among the Power Industry Executive Roundtable participants pointed to the renewed appeal of natural gas and proposed cap-and-trade legislation as being potential game-changers for the U.S. power industry.

PRB Coal Users’ Group Celebrates a Decade of Achievement

The 2010 Powder River Basin Users’ Group (PRBCUG) commemorated its 10th anniversary with 354 registered members (210 of whom were from operating companies) for its three-and-a-half-day annual meeting in Baltimore this May. The meeting’s Grand Sponsor was Benetech and its Plant Professionals group.

ReACT Reduces Emissions and Water Use

Regenerative activated coke technology (ReACT) is an integrated multipollutant control approach that removes SOx, NOx, and Hg from coal-fired plants by adsorption with activated coke to attain emissions levels found at natural gas–fired plants. One big advantage of this technology is that it uses only a fraction of the water used by conventional wet flue gas desulfurization. A recent license agreement brings this technology to the U.S.

Regulations and Economics Drive Wet FGD Upgrades

Today’s coal-fired power plants face the twin challenges of improving their wet flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems’ emission control capabilities in order to comply with environmental regulations while at the same time cutting their operational and maintenance costs. Smart strategies for retrofitting existing FGD systems can help plant personnel meet both of these objectives.

Use Dry Fog to Control Coal Dust Hazards

Fogging systems have been successfully used in the material-handling industry for more than 30 years to control explosive dust at transfer points. Today, fogging systems are an EPA Best Demonstrated Technology for subbituminous coal preparation plants.

Utility Perspectives on Using Renewable Power

As U.S. utilities increase the percentage of renewable energy in their generation portfolio, they must deal with a number of key issues related to selecting specific technologies. Additionally, they must figure out what it will take to make renewables emerge as a mainstream generating option in the future.



WTE: Next-Generation Sustainable Energy

It is clear that energy use will expand in the future as our population and society’s standard of living increase. Meanwhile, the push toward a sustainable lifestyle requires that all resources be utilized efficiently and sparingly. The National Academy of Sciences has identified paradigm shifts from current processes to an ideal vision centered on renewable energy and an atom economy—defined as maximum incorporation of starting materials into final products. These seemingly disparate paths converge if one considers energy production from municipal solid waste (MSW).

New Products

Air Velocity Sensors

Degree Controls has introduced AccuSense F333 air velocity sensors, a series of low-cost airflow sensors designed for field systems. The AccuSense F333 provides air velocity measurements within the range of…

Baghouse Filter Leak Analyzer for EPA-MACT

A new continuous particulate emissions monitor and baghouse filter leak analyzer incorporates automatic self-checks (zero and span) to ASTM standards to automate compliance with regulatory requirements for periodic instrument validation.…

Differential Pressure Flowmeter

Endress+Hauser announced the Deltatop differential pressure (DP) flowmeter for measuring gas, liquid, and steam in ½-inch to 24-inch pipes. The company said that Deltatop is a complete flow monitoring solution,…

Digitally Controlled UPS

Cyberex CyberWave from Thomas & Betts Power Solutions incorporates the Cyberex patented digital static transfer switch design, which increases redundancy and reliability. Additional benefits include a full-color VGA touch screen,…

Ground-Penetrating Radar

Instrumentation specialist Ashtead Technology has launched the Handy Search, a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) that the company says provides a fast, easy way to examine reinforced concrete, bridges, roadways, tunnels, and…

Multi-Channel Controller

The sturdy design of CONSPEC Controls’ new Allen Bradley PLC-Equipped Multi-Channel controller makes it ideal for coal-fired power plants needing to detect carbon dioxide and combustible gases through a variety…

Submersible Continuous-Duty Electric Compressor

Extreme Outback Products introduced the ExtremeAire Triton, which it says could be the world’s first submersible continuous-duty electric compressor. For uses that include air-suspension inflation, powering pneumatic tools, and actuating…

Legal & Regulatory

Climate Change: Avoid Political Thickets

A federal judge recently dismissed a lawsuit in which the plaintiffs alleged that defendants’ production of chemicals and electricity had “added to the ferocity of Hurricane Katrina.” The judge’s reasoning reveals the inherent limitations of courts unilaterally initiating policies to address climate change issues.

Focus on O&M

New Coating System Extends Life of Cooling Tower

American Electric Power’s (AEP’s) Cardinal Power Plant Unit 3 cooling tower in Brilliant, Ohio, was coated and lined in the spring of 2008 by a team of coatings professionals that included the plant’s project and coatings engineering staff, Sherwin-Williams (coatings supplier), Cannon Sline Industrial (contractor), and OTB Technologies (third-party inspector). The team completed the project in just 11 weeks through damp springtime conditions in the Ohio River Valley.

New Process Transforms Waste into Product for Controlling Emissions

In April, Solvay Chemicals Inc. commissioned a new facility that uses an innovative process to recover and transform sodium carbonate waste streams into a market-grade sodium bicarbonate used in air emissions control.

Shoring System Uses First Built-In Ladder Supports

Safety is the imperative for any construction project, and Duke Energy’s 630-MW Edwardsport integrated gasification combined-cycle station in Knox Country, Ind., is no exception.

Global Monitor

140-MW Geothermal Plant Starts Up in New Zealand

One of the world’s largest geothermal power stations was officially opened this May on New Zealand’s North Island. A joint venture between Mighty River Power and Tauhara North No. 2 Trust, the new 140-MW Nga Awa Purua Geothermal Power Station increases geothermal’s share of power in New Zealand to around 14%—a proportion that has more than doubled since 2005.

Abengoa Solar Begins Operation of 50-MW Parabolic Trough Plant

Abengoa Solar in early May began commercial operation of Solnova 1, the company’s first 50-MW parabolic trough plant. Covering 980,000 square feet with mirrors requiring an area totaling 280 acres (Figure 2), it is one of five planned concentrating solar power (CSP) plants to be built at the Solúcar Platform in Spain. All will use a technology developed by Abengoa with experience gained from a trough pilot built in 2007. Solnova 1 will also be equipped to burn natural gas if sunlight is weak.

Australia Gets Hydropower from Wastewater

An Australian sewage plant this April began using treated wastewater falling down a 60-meter (m) shaft to produce its own power.

Integrating Wave and Wind Power

While Europe’s offshore wind sector has taken off, interest is resurging in marine energy. The UK’s Crown Estate took the major step this March, for example, of awarding leasing rights to 10 wave power projects to develop generation in Scotland’s Pentland Firth and Orkney waters of the North Sea.

Is Eskom Ready for the World Cup?

The FIFA World Cup, the biggest sports event on the planet, is under way in South Africa through July 11. More than 300,000 fans are expected to attend the global soccer tournament, and hundreds of millions more will be watching on television. But a focus will also be on South Africa itself, which 20 years ago ended apartheid and has spent the following decades in a recovery process. And the pressure is on for Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned utility, which generates nearly 95% of the nation’s power (and 45% of Africa’s total).

Letter to the Editor (July 2010): Natural Gas Piping

Re: “Natural Gas Piping: It’s Time for Better Risk Control,” by John Puskar, PE (May 2010) Mr. Puskar’s recommendations to address the hazards associated with purging and blowing natural gas…

POWER Digest (July 2010)

Alstom and Schneider Electric Close AREVA T&D Acquisition Deal. Alstom and Schneider Electric on June 7 closed a €2.29 billion (US$2.75 billion) transaction to acquire AREVA’s transmission and distribution arm,…

Qatar Opens 2,000-MW Gas Plant

The gas-rich emirate of Qatar, holder the world’s third-largest gas reserves, inaugurated another massive 2,000-MW gas power plant in the industrial city of Mesaieed, south of the capital Doha this May.

Qatar Opens 2,000-MW Gas Plant

The gas-rich emirate of Qatar, holder the world’s third-largest gas reserves, inaugurated another massive 2,000-MW gas power plant in the industrial city of Mesaieed, south of the capital Doha this May.

Speaking of Power

Carbon Controls Fail Business Case Study

Cap-and-trade programs are featured in at least two U.S. legislative proposals to reduce carbon emissions, usually by around 80% by 2050 using a 2005 baseline. The benefits that accrue from the immense investment required to reach these goals are nebulous and don’t occur until decades after the investment. Based on my back-of-the-envelope analysis, the cost-benefit ratio of these proposals does not pass a cursory cost-benefit analysis.

GBR Reports