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By Staff on Mar 15, 2010 with 3 responses

Innovative Coal Drying Technology Extracts More Energy at Less Cost

DOE’s CCPI Helps Commercialize Process That Also Reduces Costs and Potentially Harmful Emissions

Washington, D.C. — An innovative coal-drying technology that will extract more energy from high moisture coal at less cost and simultaneously reduce potentially harmful emissions is ready for commercial use after successful testing at a Minnesota electric utility. The DryFining™ technology was developed with funding from the first round of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI).

The United States has about 280 power stations burning high-moisture coal, generating more than 100 gigawatts of electricity, which equates to about one-third of the electric power generated by coal in the country.

Great River Energy of Maple Grove, Minn., has selected the WorleyParsons Group to exclusively distribute licenses for the technology, which essentially uses waste heat from a power plant to reduce moisture content in lignite coal. Great American Energy, a 50-50 joint venture of Great River Energy and the North American Coal Corporation, will also market the technology, whose first user will be the utility’s Spiritwood Station under construction near Jamestown, N.D.

In addition to using power plant waste heat to reduce moisture, DryFining also segregates particles by density. This means a significant amount of higher density compounds containing sulfur and mercury can be sorted out and returned to the mine rather than oxidized in the boiler. The end result is more energy can be extracted from the coal while simultaneously reducing emissions of mercury, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides, major potential pollutants that result from coal-based combustion.

As part its CCPI-funded project, Great River Energy tested a 115-ton prototype dryer in the company’s 546-megawatt Coal Creek Station Unit 2 in Underwood N.D. Following a successful increase in boiler efficiency and reduction of emissions, Great River Energy expanded the project by building full-scale dryer modules for the entire Coal Creek Station. The Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory manages the CCPI program.

Lignite is one of four major coal types produced in the United States, accounting for about 7 percent of annual production, and is an important energy source for electricity generation. In general, lignite has a higher moisture and ash content, resulting in a lower power efficiency and higher rate of emissions than coals with less moisture. Great River Energy’s innovative technology reduces the cost of drying coal by using the waste heat and segregating particles by density, thereby generating energy with less coal while reducing emissions and emission-control costs.

At the Coal Creek Station, the technology increased the energy content of the lignite from 6,200 to 7,100 Btus per pound, thereby reducing fuel input into the boilers by 14 percent. At the same time, sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions were reduced by more than 40 percent, nitrogen oxide by more than 20 percent, and carbon dioxide by 4 percent.

These results are important to energy consumers because the United States has about 280 power stations burning high-moisture coal, generating more than 100 gigawatts of electricity, which equates to about one-third of the electric power generated by coal in the country.

Release: National Energy Technology Laboratory

  1. By coalmarketnews on July 30, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    The investment into alternative power generating technologies such as nuclear energy may need to be measured against the potential cost when things turn against you as unfortunately happened this year  in Japan. The use of thermal coal (steam coal) that is mostly burnt for power generation may be valid for other countries who may not be able to allocate resources and funds to alternative and more greener sources of power.  Coal  newsletters and coal statistics show developing economies are more likely to increase their investment into & their use of thermal coal & metallurgical coal in coming years because of coal’s affordability and ability to quickly meet increasing demands for electricity and steel.  Ian http://www.coalportal.com

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  2. By Kit P on July 31, 2011 at 10:34 am

    I get irate when when my fellow nukes use junk science to discredit the coal industry which at least in the US has come a long way to reduce the environmental impact of producing and using coal.

     

    “as nuclear energy may need to be measured against the potential cost when things turn against you as unfortunately happened this year  in Japan. ”

     

    Having said that, nuclear power’s worse days in Japan are better than the best days of coal. When nuke plants release radioactive material, it is because there was am accident. At coal plants, releasing radioactive material is normal operations.

     

    “show developing economies are more likely to increase their investment into & their use of thermal coal & metallurgical coal in coming years ”

     

    While I agree this is true, I would suggest that developing counties without coal resources would benefit more by developing a nuclear industry.

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  3. By CEA on March 16, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    The U.S. has the world’s largest supply of coal and currently harbors one quarter of the world’s coal reserves, which contain enough energy to surpass that of the world’s known retrievable oil. At the nation’s current level of use, the U.S. has enough coal to last more than two hundred years. We as a country need to find solutions to balance the needs of the environment with those that provide energy security for America. Want to learn more about balanced energy for America? Visit http://www.consumerenergyalliance.org to get involved, discover CEA’s mission and sign up for our informative newsletter.

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