FirstEnergy Corp. recently announced its plans to install an Electro-Catalytic Oxidation (ECO) system on units 4 and 5 of its R. E. Burger Plant in Shadyside, Ohio. Combined, the units produce 312 megawatts (MW) of electricity, or enough to serve approximately 190,000 homes.
ECO is a multipollutant control technology for coal-based electric generating plants that was developed by Powerspan Corp., a New Hampshire-based clean energy technology company in which FirstEnergy has a minority ownership interest. The Burger Plant ECO scrubber system will reduce sulfur dioxide, mercury, other gases resulting from combustion, and fine particulates. The ECO process also will produce a highly marketable ammonium sulfate fertilizer co-product that will be sold in the fertilizer market.
Since early 2004, an ECO commercial demonstration unit has been operating successfully at the Burger Plant. It continues to operate and collect data regarding the ECO process. The Ohio Coal Development Office, a program of the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority, has been a major supporter of the ECO demonstration, contributing more than $5.5 million to the project.
In 2005, FirstEnergy announced plans to install ECO on its 215-MW Unit 4 of the Bay Shore Plant in Oregon, Ohio. The decision to install ECO at the Burger Plant instead will result in additional scrubbed megawatts and better fits the coal-purchasing strategy for both plants.
Design engineering for the new Burger Plant ECO system will begin in 2007 with an anticipated start-up during the first quarter of 2011. The estimated cost of the system is approximately $168 million.
Because FirstEnergy is planning to install Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction technology at the Burger Plant to remove nitrogen oxides (NOX), the ECO unit will not be equipped with NOX controls. However, due to ECO's unique design capabilities, the NOX controls could be added later.
Powerspan also is developing a carbon-capture process -- known as ECO2 -- that has demonstrated the capability to capture significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) in a laboratory environment. Pilot scale testing of this new technology is expected to begin at the Burger Plant in early 2008. The goal of this test project is to capture power plant CO2, transport it to an 8,000-foot test well that was drilled at the Burger Plant earlier this year, and then sequester it underground. It could be the first such program to demonstrate both CO2 capture and sequestration at a conventional coal-fired power plant.
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