NEWS RELEASE                                                                                         February 2019

Impact of Coal on the U.S. Economy

A coal fired plant burning 25 percent biomass and providing CO2 for fracking (see article above) or other enhanced oil recovery purposes would not only be carbon negative but other emissions would also be negligible. Zero liquid discharge eliminates any potential water contamination. It minimizes water consumption. In fact with superior heat exchange technology the hydrogen in the coal adds to the water totals. The flyash and the gypsum produced from coal fired power plants eliminate the need for mining operations which have air and water emissions.

There is a very good possibility that an insitu process will also produce hydrochloric acid and rare earths.

HCl Scrubbing and Rare Earth Recovery from Coal-Fired Power Plants and Gasifiers are the Perfect Marriage

IIoT knowledge regarding coal fired plant operations can reside in the U.S. It can be the basis of substantial revenues for U.S. companies in Asian and African countries. The initiatives taken by the Trump Administration to ease environmental rules for the purpose of stimulating the economy are having the opposite effect. No new coal fired power plants are being planned. Large projects to reduce regional haze have been canceled. This impacts not only air pollution control companies but the construction industry as well. The U.S. was a leader in mercury reduction technology. Relaxation of mercury rules will insure that leadership resides in China.

Extension of rules relative to pond closures has the effect of slowing down zero liquid discharge technology improvement. The U.S. has been on the cutting edge of ultra-super critical coal fired boilers, coal gasification and other power technologies. Their use in the U.S. may be limited but coal will remain the most utilized power plant fuel around the world. There is more impact on U.S. GDP from sale of technologies and products than there is on the actual power generation. One reason is that the U.S. power requirements will be very small compared to ROW.

Jobs for blue collar workers will not be generated even if coal fired power was the choice in the U.S. IIoT and Remote O&M is eliminating operators from coal mines and power plants. However U.S. instrumentation, process management software, and subject matter experts needed to operate these plants can be serving the world.

The U.S. has been the world leader in FGD technology ever since the world’s first commercial limestone scrubber was installed at Union Electric in 1968. For years the U.S. had most of the world’s FGD systems. Today it has less than 200,000 MW compared to nearly 1 million MW of FGD in China.

Classification 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Existing FGD  1,297,736  1,384,196  1,444,541  1,517,554  1,584,386  1,643,915  1,702,957.35
FGD Retirements  -1,000  -1,000  -1,000  -1,000  -1,000  -1,000  -1,000
New Construction - FGD  59,692  56,550  40,250  47,029  36,620  36,843  36,351
Retrofits 36,210 30,910 21,095 26,983 31,213 23,686 23,691
Total New FGD  95,902  87,460  61,345  74,012  67,833  60,529  60,042

     Note:  Existing FGD numbers are for the end of each year.

The U.S. is fast losing FGD leadership but it does have strengths. The pumps, valves, instrumentation, software, and dewatering equipment made by U.S. companies is competitive world wide. There is untapped reservoirs of knowledge. The hydrochloric acid and rare earth production is an example. The Philadelphia Electric Eddystone installation was producing hydrochloric acid and rare earths feed stock even though the value was not recognized. The byproduct being sold was the sulfur. So all that is needed is to utilize feedstocks from a technology which already exists. DOE is digging up flyash and pulverizing it at great expense in its rare earth demonstration. Here is a plant which already has the flyash in the fine particle form but also has the hydrochloric acid for the leaching process.

The operation of FGD systems is expensive. They are high maintenance processes and require lots of chemicals. IIoT and Remote O&M can be very cost effective in reducing these costs. This effort can be based in the U.S. and help boost the economy.

Details on the these opportunities are found in N031 Industrial IOT and Remote O&M and N027 FGD Market and Strategies