Coal firm Consol Energy says that a compact, multi-pollutant control technology will help small coal-fired power plants in the USA to meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations.

The US company has successfully demonstrated the technology at an AES-owned power plant in New York state as part of a Department of Energy (DOE)-backed project. Consol believes that the technology, which is designed to reduce emissions from coal-fired plants with capacities under 300 MW, could be applied to almost 60 000 MW of capacity around the US.

In partnership with AES and Babcock Power Environmental Inc., Consol installed the pollution control technology at the 100 MW AES Greenidge power plant in Dresden, New York in 2007. The system cost 40 per cent less to construct and required less land than conventional selective catalytic reduction and wet flue gas desulphurisation technologies when applied to a 100 MW unit, according to AES.

The multi-pollutant control system consists of Fuel Tech’s NOxOUT Cascade hybrid selective non-catalytic reduction/selective catalytic reduction technology to control nitrogen oxides and Babcock Power’s Turbosorp circulating fluidised bed dry scrubbing technology to control sulphur dioxide, mercury, sulphur trioxide, hydrogen chloride, and particulate matter.

The project at AES Greenidge represents the first application in which these technologies were combined to form an integrated multi-pollutant control system, as well as the first application of either technology to a unit firing high-sulphur coal.

At Greenidge, performance testing data collected through June 2008 showed average removal efficiencies of 96 per cent for sulphur dioxide, 95 per cent for sulphur trioxide, 97 per cent for hydrogen chloride, and 98 per cent for mercury. Emissions of nitrogen oxides were also significantly reduced and particulate matter emissions were reduced by more than 98 per cent relative to the emission rate observed prior to installation of the technology.

The demonstration was part of the DOE’s Power Plant Improvement Initiative and also involved the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).

“Consol Energy is pleased to have played a major role, along with the DOE and AES Greenidge, in demonstrating this highly effective multi-pollutant control technology,” said J. Brett Harvey, Consol Energy’s president and CEO. “We believe it will help our customers meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations with their smaller plants. These plants have a combined capacity of almost 60 000 MW and collectively they are essential to our nation’s electricity supply.”

There are more than 400 coal fired plants in the USA with capacities of between 50 and 300 MW, according to AES.