Processes that uses an amonia based solutions to capture SOx, NOx,CO2, Hg and particulates from power plant flue gas have or will be demonstrated at FirstEnergy's R.E. Burger Plant in Shadyside, Ohio. The ECO technology produces a commercially salable, ammonium sulfate nitrate fertilizer co-product, reducing operating costs and avoiding landfill disposal of waste. The CO2 is to be recovered and prepared for sequestration in another process. After regeneration the ammonia solution from the CO2 capture will be recycled. FirstEnergy Corp. and Powerspan Corp., a clean energy technology company, announced plans to pilot test the CO2 removal technology beginning in late 2006. The pilot test will follow successful demonstration of Powerspan's patented Electro-Catalytic Oxidation (ECO(R)) multi-pollutant control technology that converts pollutants into fertilizer. The CO2 capture process is expected to be readily integrated with the ECO technology, which uses aqueous ammonia to absorb high levels of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury.
Powerspan has conducted initial laboratory testing of the CO2 absorption process, which demonstrated 90 percent CO2 removal under conditions comparable to a commercial-scale absorber. These test results confirm those previously obtained by the Department of Energy under similar condition. Initial cost estimates developed by the DOE indicate that the ammonia-based process could cost less than half of the next lowest-cost CO2 capture technology currently under investigation.
In May 2004, Powerspan and the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory announced a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) to develop a cost effective CO2 removal process for coal- based power plants. The scope of the three-year CRADA includes laboratory testing, pilot testing and detailed studies of the CO2 capture process economics. The results of the pilot test at the Burger Plant will be used to confirm process design and cost estimates.
In the previously demonstrated ECO technology first, high-voltage electrodes create substances from water and air that oxidize the pollutants, creating water-soluble gas and vaporized liquid compounds. The mixture is then swirled into a vapor of inexpensive aqueous ammonia inside a 100-foot cylindrical scrubber. The mixing further changes the nitrogen and sulfur compounds into the basic components of fertilizer.
Next, the remaining vapor is pushed through a second high-voltage system that collects and removes particulates, acidic gases and oxidized mercury and washes them into the soupy fertilizer mixture. That broth is filtered and then sold as a feedstock to the Andersons Agriculture Group LLP, a Maumee-based fertilizer company.
ECO technology equipment routinely removed more than 98% of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions, 90% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, 80-90% of mercury (Hg) emissions, and 95% of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions at the R.E. Burger Plant. Powerspan Corp., a clean-energy technology company based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is engaged in the development and commercialization of proprietary multi-pollutant control technology for the electric power industry.
This technology achieves pollution control that approaches that of IGCC power plants, but can be applied to conventional power plants. This is an interesting technology that needs monitoring to see if it lives up to its potential. As is obvious the costs of the process are key to its adaptation.
"First Energy and Powerspan Announce Plans to Test Promising CO2 Removal Technology for Power Plants", Energy Central, 9/28/05
"Ohio Power Plant Turns Smoke into Fertilizer", The Plain Dealer, 9/17/05
Powerspan, New Durham, N.H.