Strategies for compliance with the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards led the list of topics covered during the Power Plant Pollutant Control “MEGA” Symposium held Aug. 19–21, in Baltimore, Md., but carbon dioxide (CO2) control solutions and sessions dealing with water problems weren’t far behind.

The conference—hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Air & Waste Management Association—has a long history of addressing emission control solutions. George Offen, senior technical executive with EPRI, explained how the conference developed in an interview conducted with POWER Associate Editor Aaron Larson.

The Clean Power Plan is the hot topic these days though, and its implications brought CO2 capture to the front and center in the conference agenda. Several sessions were held dealing with technology and research that is being done to develop CO2 removal systems in preparation for compliance with future carbon regulations. One such test is being conducted by InnoSepra LLC at NRG Energy’s Indian River Power Plant located near Millsboro, Del. InnoSepra President Dr. Ravi Jain spoke about the project with Larson during the event.

Particulate control was also a focus of the symposium. Sessions on baghouse cleaning improvements, fabric filter leak detector upgrades, and electrostatic precipitator (ESP) enhancements were part of the Wednesday schedule. David Johnston, manager of Babcock & Wilcox’s Newport News Service Center, presented information on ESP power supply testing his company has been doing. He noted that, although single-phase systems have been reliable workhorses over the years, a new three-phase low-frequency power supply offers a “low-ripple” solution with several benefits. Following his presentation, Johnston spoke with Larson about the system.

Another company, Hansom Environmental Products, is using a method to remove unwanted pyrite and silica from coal during the milling process. Rod Truce, consulting engineer for Hansom, noted that sulfur and mercury are present in pyrite, so removing them in the milling process helps reduce SO2 and mercury emissions during combustion.

A “Water–Energy Workshop” was also held during the conference. The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) sponsored the workshop with the intention of engaging stakeholders in discussions about water management challenges. Its goal was to identify opportunities for reducing water use in fossil-fueled power systems and develop novel ideas for clean up and reuse of water at facilities.

Items such as cooling systems, process efficiency and heat utilization, water treatment and reuse, and data modeling and analysis were discussed. Attendees were separated into three groups and participated in brainstorming activities. NETL will consider the findings from the session as potential research and development projects in the future.

Aaron Larson, associate editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine)