FirstEnergy demonstrates ECO technology

Akron, Ohio

FirstEnergy will begin a commercial demonstration of air emission reduction technology designed to cut emission of nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), fine particulate matter, mercury and other substances at the company’s Eastlake Generating Plant in Eastlake, Ohio. This technology, Electro-Catalytic Oxidation (ECO), is a product of Powerspan Corp., and the $10.5 million commercial demonstration-funded by FirstEnergy, Powerspan and the Ohio Coal Development Office-is slated to begin in spring 2001.

ECO technology breaks down gases that result from the combustion of coal into their basic elements. They are then recombined and captured as by-products in an electrostatic precipitator, producing commercial-grade sulfuric acid and nitric acids that can be recycled.

The demonstration at Eastlake will treat flue gas from 50 MW of output and is expected to reduce emissions of NOx by more than 70 percent, SO2 by 50 percent, mercury by 70 percent and fine particulate matter by 90 percent. Successful completion of this demonstration will lead to the deployment of full-scale, commercial ECO systems.

“In addition to reducing emissions of multiple substances, ECO technology is expected to cost 25 percent less to install and 50 percent less to operate than current NOx control systems such as Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR). Unlike SCR technology, ECO operates effectively when used with high-sulfur Ohio coal, and produces commercially marketable acids rather than by-products requiring disposal,” said FirstEnergy Vice President Guy Pipitone.

In pilot testing conducted since 1998 at FirstEnergy’s R.E. Burger Plant near Shadyside, 2 MW of flue-gas output were treated using ECO technology. NOx emissions were reduced by an average of 76 percent, SO2 emissions by an average of 44 percent, mercury by 68 percent and other heavy metals by more than 90 percent. Hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids were also reduced-the first by 88 percent and the second below the point of detection.

“Considering the high cost of reducing NOx emissions using available control technology, ECO should have broad market appeal. Today, there are approximately 1,200 coal-fired generating units across the country, representing more than 325,000 MW of capacity, that could use ECO technology,” said Pipitone.

Consisting of five coal-fire units that produce 1,289 MW of power, Eastlake is already fitted with low-NOx burners on four of its five units, which currently reduce emissions by approximately 40 percent.

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