With Americans citing cleaner air and water as among their highest priorities,
the U.S. Department of Energy plans to bolster its power plant environmental
control research program with seven new projects.
The seven projects will become part of the department's Fossil Energy
research and development program. Each is intended to help power plants
comply with the current, new, or pending clean air regulations.
These seven projects number among the 43 new research efforts the Energy
Department expects to select this month - chosen from a broad agency request
that touched every aspect of the agency's fossil energy technology program.
Pending the final details of ongoing contract negotiations, the Energy
Department will award more than $2 million Federal dollars to these projects
over the next three years. The selected organizations will contribute
an additional $1.2 million more. The projects are:
Research and Development, Pittsburgh, PA, (2 projects):
(1) to determine whether mercury (a trace impurity in coal which has
been classified as a hazardous air pollutant) re-enters the environment
- and if it does, to what degree - when fly ash and scrubber sludge
from power plants are placed into landfills or storage ponds or recycled
into commercial products; and (2) to study the durability of manufactured
stone aggregates made from a variety of coal combustion byproducts.
Providence, RI, to develop strategies and technologies
that make high-carbon fly ash left as a residue of coal combustion
easier to re-use as a cement replacement.
Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, KY, to develop
a better understanding of the behavior of ammonia-laden ash in certain
cement-based products, and to develop sound, practical guidelines
for use of the fly ash.
Ohio State University
Research Foundation, Columbus, OH, to educate potential
coal combustion byproduct users and regulators about alternative uses
and to reduce the amount of byproducts that are placed in Ohio landfills.
University, Pittsburgh, PA, to conduct air quality samples
in and around the Pittsburgh area for 18 months and test airborne
particulate matter to help target an emissions-control strategy.
Energy and Environmental
Research Corporation, Irvine, CA, to develop an innovative
method for reducing the release of smog-forming nitrogen oxide pollutants
from power plants by combusting a portion of the coal fuel in a "reburning"
zone that breaks down the pollutants into a harmless form.
The projects will be managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory,
which implements and oversees DOE's fossil energy programs, the main goal
of which is to develop effective ways of reducing emissions while using
fossil fuels as a primary source of electricity and power generation.
Technology development is the key to DOE's efforts to protect our environment
and keep fossil fuels viable.
Additional detail on each project follows.
- CONSOL, Inc., Research & Development, Pittsburgh, PA,
Characterization of Coal Combustion By-Products for the
Re-Evolution of Mercury into Ecosystems - to determine how much,
if any, mercury re-enters the environment when fly ash and flue gas
desulfurization sludge are placed into landfills, storage ponds or commercial
products like concrete and wallboard. CONSOL recently completed a study,
co-funded by DOE and the Ohio Coal Development Office, which showed
that the mercury disposed with fixated solid waste products from flue
gas desulfurization systems (i.e., scrubbers) was stable. CONSOL proposes
to expand this research to include ash from coal-fired boilers or filtering
systems along with scrubber products that encompass the entire coal-fired
Proposed DOE share: $136,535
Participant share: $ 34,135
Project duration: 18 months
Company contact: M.S. DeVito, (412) 854-6679.
- CONSOL, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, Durability Evaluation
and Production of Manufactured Aggregate from Coal Combustion By-Products
- to conduct a long-term study of the durability of manufactured stone
aggregates made from a wide variety of coal combustion byproduct feedstocks.
The production of manufactured aggregates provides a significant opportunity
to use coal combustion byproducts in the construction industry. It is
also a cost-effective way for preventing or reducing the ash use problems
associated with nitrogen oxide(NOx) reduction technologies. Installing
low-NOx burners for NOx> control can decrease fly ash
and make it unsuitable for the cement and concrete markets. As a partial
replacement of natural aggregate, the consumption of manufactured aggregate
made from coal combustion byproducts is not limited by market volume;
seasonal demands; and problems in handling, transportation, and storage.
In the last 10 years, CONSOL has developed a process to produce manufactured
aggregates from the byproducts of various technologies designed to
reduce sulfur and nitrogen oxide emissions from coal-fired boilers.
In 1999, CONSOL constructed and operated a 500 lb/hr integrated continuous
pilot plant for process demonstration. The pilot plant demonstrated
successful continuous, fully integrated, long-term process operation
for aggregate production and the process flexibility to produce a
variety of aggregates. The pilot plant was constructed with substantial
funding support from DOE.
This project builds on CONSOL's earlier work with DOE to develop
a pilot-scale process for manufacturing aggregates from coal combustion
Proposed DOE share: $150,000
Participant share: $ 37,500
Project duration: 33 months
Company contact: M.S. DeVito, (412) 854-6679
- Brown University, Providence, RI, Strategies
and Technology for Managing High-Carbon Ash - to develop strategies
and technologies that manage high-carbon fly ash and make it easier
to re-use as a cement replacement. Brown will conduct research on three
- targeted fuel selection (including cofiring and coal switching)
- modifications to combustion conditions or ash storage conditions
- reactive modification of carbon surface chemistry
Research will be conducted on each of these strategies, and the most
promising options made available to U.S. industry. The effect on ash
quality of coal selection and low-NOx firing conditions will be systematically
investigated through pilot-scale combustion studies at the University
of Utah and state-of-the-art ash characterization at Brown. Southern
Company will contribute samples from full-scale firing under both
steady and upset conditions for further analysis.
Finally, the reactive modification of carbon surfaces represents
a fundamentally new concept for beneficiation of fly ash. Unlike all
other developmental beneficiation processes, it leaves the carbon
in place but alters its surface chemistry. Laboratory data at Brown
has established the viability of this technique and has led to a recent
patent application. Several leading utility companies have expressed
interest in larger-scale demonstrations of this reactive treatment
The present proposal describes critical further research needed to
provide the scientific and engineering data needed for intelligent
scale-up and optimization of the reactive treatment process. Benefits
include longer landfill lifespans because less fly ash is landfilled,
reduced greenhouse gas emissions because of reduced cement production,
and cost savings to utilities and concrete manufacturers. The University
of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, and The Southern Company, Birmingham,
AL, will collaborate with Brown University.
Proposed DOE share: $313,636
Participant share: $ 84,492
Project duration: 36 months
University contact: Robert Hunt, (401) 863-2685.
- University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, KY,
A Study of the Effects of Post-Combustion Ammonia Injection on Fly
Ash Quality - The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 require large
reductions in emissions of nitrogen oxide(NOx) from coal-fired electric
utility boilers. This will necessitate the use of ammonia injection
in many systems resulting in some ammonia deposition on the fly ash.
The presence of ammonia, and associated concerns about its odor and
toxic affects, could create a major barrier to its use. According to
the University of Kentucky, prior European experience and considerations
of the fundamental chemistry and physics of ammonia desorption suggest
that ammoniated fly ash can be safely used; but practical guidelines
and methodologies for handling ammoniated fly ash need to be developed
in advance of the installation of many more systems.
The single largest use of fly ash is in concrete and other cement-based
products. Fly ash both provides a relatively inexpensive cement "extender"
and it is an essential component of High Performance Concrete. Ammonia
present on the fly ash could potentially hinder its use in cement
and concrete because of odor problems. Although there have been several
limited studies of fly ash ammonia release from concrete, little is
known about the quantity of ammonia emitted during mixing and curing,
and the kinetics of ammonia release.
This is manifested in the widely varying opinions within the concrete
and ash marketing industry regarding maximum acceptable levels of
ammonia in fly ash; that is, the levels above which the ammonia emissions
from concrete become unacceptable. The goal of this project will be
to develop a better understanding of the behavior of ammonia-laden
ash in certain cement-based products, and to develop sound, practical
guidelines for use of the fly ash. The technical approach will be
to prepare various mixtures of mortar and concrete and measure the
release of ammonia from these materials over time.
The work will initially focus on bench-scale (laboratory) experiments
to develop fundamental data of ammonia desorption characteristics.
Larger experiments will include batch tests which will study the emission
of ammonia over longer periods of time. The emission of ammonia from
Ready-Mix trucks as well as the mass pours will be monitored over
time to obtain kinetic data. Project team members are: Boral Material
Technologies, Inc., San Antonio, TX; Mineral Solutions, Minneapolis,
MN; Southern Company Services, Atlanta, GA; ISG Resources, Inc., Salt
Lake City, UT; and University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy
Research, Lexington, KY.
Proposed DOE share: $149,815
Participant share: $150,511
Project duration: 18 months
University contact: Jonathon Compton, (606) 257-9424.
- Ohio State University Research Foundation, Columbus, OH,
Coal Combustion Products Extension Program - Ohio generates
approximately 10 million tons of Coal Combustion Products annually,
and uses about 20% of them in various application technologies. The
remaining 80% are typically disposed in non-productive landfills or
surface impoundments. This project will focus on research and technology
transfer of potential beneficial uses of Coal Combustion Products. Research
conducted at Ohio State University for the last decade has shown that,
if used properly, these products can be cost-effective substitutes for
conventional raw materials, including highway and related civil engineering
applications, mine reclamation, agricultural, and manufacturing uses.
Current disposal costs amount to $40 million/year.
Proposed DOE share: $55,647
Participant share: $17,567
Project duration: 36 months
University contact: Richard Fortner, (614) 292-4903.
- Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, The
Pittsburgh Particulate Matter Supersite Program: A Multi-Disciplinary
Consortium for Atmospheric Aerosol Research - Airborne particulate
matter continues to pose serious health risks for susceptible members
of the U.S. population and for sensitive ecosystems. Design of cost-effective
particulate matter control strategies is limited by the lack of understanding
of the particulate matter health effects links which, Carnegie Mellon
argues, is exacerbated by a paucity of physiological data, the difficulty
of establishing particulate matter source-receptor relationships, and
finally the limitations of existing instrumentation for particulate
matter measurements. A comprehensive multidisciplinary study is proposed
for the Pittsburgh region, which will address all of the above issues.
The proposed hypothesis-driven program will have six components:
- Ambient monitoring in a central supersite and a set of satellite
sites in the Pittsburgh region.
- An epidemiological study.
- An indoor monitoring study.
- An instrument development and evaluation study.
- A comprehensive modeling component.
- A data analysis and synthesis component.
Carnegie Mellon University will conduct air quality samples in and
around the Pittsburgh area for 18 months and test the characteristics
of airborne particulate matter against various health hypotheses to
help target an emissions-control strategy focusing on specific components
of particulate matter instead of the total mass of particulate matter.
This could lead to developing and evaluating the next generation of
air emissions-control technologies and a more effective emissions-control
strategy that lowers costs of regulatory plans by hundreds of millions
of dollars a year.
Proposed DOE share: $1 million
Participant share: $301,287
Project duration: 36 months
University contact: Allen Robinson, (412) 268-3657.
- Energy and Environmental Research Corporation, Irvine, CA,
Minimization of Carbon Loss in Coal Reburning - to develop
a fuel-flexible reburning technology to minimize carbon loss in coal
reburning. In conventional reburning, a portion of the total fuel is
diverted from the main burners to a downstream location, thereby establishing
a fuel-rich zone in which nitrogen oxide emissions are reduced. Overfire
air is then added to burn out remaining combustible material. From an
economic standpoint, it is ideal to use an inexpensive material such
as coal as the reburn fuel. However, due to limitations in reburn zone
gas temperatures and residence times, combustion of the reburn coal
is typically incomplete. This can lead to excessive carbon-in-ash, turning
the ash from a saleable commodity into a waste product. The fuel-flexible
reburning concept solves this problem. The technology increases the
efficiency of nitrogen oxide reduction in coal reburning and decreases
carbon-in-ash. The technology would transform fly ash into a saleable
byproduct and lower nitrogen oxide emissions, which would help to defray
Proposed DOE share: $200,000
Participant share: $ 50,000
Project duration: 24 months
Company contact: Vladimir Zamansky, (949) 859-8851.