Washington, DC — A project selected in 2003 under the initial round of the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI) has drawn to a successful close, having met all of its performance and cost goals. The optimization software development and demonstration project reduced emissions, increased efficiency, lowered costs, and improved reliability at an 1,800-megawatt coal-fired power plant. The project's success will help maintain America's plentiful coal resources as a cornerstone of the country's energy portfolio.
"The successful conclusion of this CCPI project is a milestone on the road to cleaner power systems using coal," said acting Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Jim Slutz. "It illustrates anew that this abundant resource can be used to secure a reliable supply of electricity without sacrificing the Nation's economy or environment."
NeuCo Inc. (Boston, Mass.) and Dynegy Inc. (Houston, Texas) conducted the 4-year project, which was sponsored by the Office of Fossil Energy and managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory.
During the first phase of the project, NeuCo developed a suite of integrated online optimization systems that were then installed and integrated with plant operations at Dynegy Midwest Generation's Baldwin Energy Complex, a series of three 600-megawatt coal-fired units located in Baldwin, Ill. The software products were developed to optimize the combustion and soot blowing processes, reduce the ammonia consumed by selective catalytic reduction systems, and improve unit thermal performance and plant-wide availability.
The second phase of the project focused on improving the products and quantifying the benefits of the integrated system. The results:
- Nitrogen oxide emissions dropped by 12–14 percent.
- Fuel efficiency improved 0.7 percent.
- Available megawatt hours increased by 1.5 percent.
- Ammonia consumption was reduced by 15–20 percent.
- Reductions in greenhouse gases, mercury, and particulates—as well as lower costs, improved reliability, and greater commercial availability—also resulted.
The project has yielded a cost-effective tool to improve the environmental footprint of coal-based power generation and will help to ensure that the United States has clean, reliable, and affordable electricity well into the future. According to the project's final report, "The suite of four integrated optimizers commercialized as part of this project is expected to yield well under a one-year payback for average-sized units across all unit types and fuel categories comprising the U.S. fossil power industry."
The products that were installed, refined, and demonstrated during the project are expected to provide annual savings to the Baldwin Energy Complex ranging from $7.2 million to $8.1 million dollars plant-wide. The benefits available to the industry are estimated at $2.3 to $2.6 billion dollars per year.