Control technology chisels away at mercury emissions


The initial phase of testing for ADA-ES’s mercury control technology has been completed at Southern Company’s Plant Gaston near Wilsonville, Ala.

Results from the test show that mercury can be removed at rates between 80 and 85 percent when activated carbon is injected into the existing baghouse ash collection system. According to ADA-ES, this high level of mercury control was achieved in a short test of seven days. Long-term testing would fully assess the cost and performance of the technology, as well as its impacts on the operation of the entire generating plant.

“This mercury control test is a significant first step, and we hope to learn more about how this technology performs over extended periods of time and with different coal sources,” said Dr. Charles Goodman, senior vice president of research and environmental affairs for Southern Company.

Dr. Michael Durham, president of ADA-ES, stated, “These results are exciting because our company has been working with the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) for almost ten years to develop this process, and this first full-scale test confirms the technology’s potential. Our next three test sites will help determine the feasibility of activated carbon injection technology for widespread use on coal-fired boilers impacted by proposed EPA regulations.”

Unit 3 of Plant Gaston, with its baghouse installed downstream of an electrostatic precipitator, is one of four test sites selected by NETL to test mercury control technology. Activated carbon is injected between the electrostatic precipitator and the baghouse, a configuration called TOXECON, which is an EPRI-patented technology. NETL is funding 70 percent of the $6.8 million project. The remaining funding and support is supplied by EPA, EPRI, Hamon Research-Cottrell, Norit Americas Inc., Ontario Power Generation, PG&E National Energy Group, Wisconsin Electric, ADA-ES and Alabama Power (a subsidiary of Southern Company).

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