NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                                JULY 2012

New developments in Power Plant Air Pollution Control Are Keeping Pace with Regulatory Changes and Health Determinations

The newly proposed changes to reduce ambient fine particulate and findings about the harm from specific particles depending on chemical composition are challenging the air pollution control industry to develop new technology.  Fortunately, this technology can be available as it is needed.  It includes halogen compounds to react with mercury, particle counters to measure 20 nanometer particles, chemicals and ozone to reduce NOx, and new ways to condense and capture aerosols. It also includes systems which can remove both NOx and particulate at temperatures above 800⁰F.

On Thursday, July 12 at 10 a.m., Bob McIlvaine will lead a discussion on new technologies which could more cost effectively address the power plant needs to meet the new regulations. The discussion will also cover technology which promises to change the regulatory strategy and timeline as well as just meet it.

The proposed new ambient particulate standards are an example of a looming regulatory strategy which will be shaped by technology availability. McIlvaine contends that it is the ambient particulate, NOx, ozone and SO2 standards which will eventually set the bar for efficiency requirements. Therefore, it will be the States and not the Federal government who will be technology forcing.

We are going to have Los Angeles (South Coast Air Quality Management District) type decisions all over the country. Do we increase power plant removal efficiency by one or two percent, or do we ban barbecue grills and gasoline powered lawn mowers? The State regulatory framework to improve ambient air quality will be determined by new technology which will most cost effectively move the bar to lower levels than are achieved by previous regulations.

New technology developments will also shape regulatory strategy to meet new perspectives on harm from air pollutants.   The newest studies show that the harm caused by small particles is greater than previously indicated. Furthermore the chemical composition of those small particles is important. So new devices which measure each metal individually will be increasingly attractive. New studies also show that particles as small as 20 nanometers can be harmful. This finding challenges the whole way we measure emissions. They are determined by weight using a HEPA filter. The efficiency of HEPA filters on 20 nanometer particles is well below 100 percent. So we are entering an area with no reliable data. We will have to turn to the cleanroom industry which uses condensation nuclei particle counters to measure these small particles.

We can discuss new technology introduced by participants. McIlvaine will ask for comments and briefly summarize:

  • Developments using bromine and other halogens to capture mercury
  • Fine mesh and condensation phenomena to capture sub micron aerosols
  • Measurement of individual metals
  • Measurement of 20 nanometer particles
  • New approaches to SO2 capture including co-production of hydrochloric acid
  • Ozone and hydrogen peroxide for improving SCR/scrubber NOx efficiency

There will also be a discussion of processes and technologies to change the whole power plant structure. The most significant would be a way to capture the particulate at temperatures conducive to selective catalytic reduction. This opens the door for higher heat exchanger efficiency which results in more low pressure steam which in turn results in more cogeneration opportunities.

We have been reporting on ceramic fiber (as distinct from block) filters which can not only capture the particulate, but with a catalyst coating on the fibers, can also remove the NOx. This device can be followed by corrosion resistant heat exchangers which would bring the temperatures down to well below saturation. B&W has shown that the condensing heat exchanger is a very efficient way to remove particles as well as recover heat.

The newly available low pressure steam can be used for many purposes. Co-location of municipal sewage treatment plants is just one. With sewer mining the power plant is producing, drying and burning sludge and is using the treated wastewater for cooling.

The session will be in a discussion format. Bob McIlvaine will be introducing the subjects and encourage comments from the participants.

To sign up for this free webinar on July 12, 2012 at 10 a.m. (Central time) click on: