LEWISBURG, WV - Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham today commissioned a new $215 million West Virginia clean coal project based on new technology that over the next 60 months will deliver environmental improvements, economic benefits and thousands of new jobs. The project is part of President Bush's Clean Coal Power Initiative, a key component of the National Energy Policy that competitively selects commercial-scale technology demonstrations to continue and expand the use of coal as a fuel source.
Development of the new technology, termed atmospheric-pressure circulating fluidized-bed combustion, is a joint-venture between the Department of Energy (DOE) and Western Greenbrier Co-Generation LLC. It will use nearby waste-coal to generate electric power with ultra-low emissions of pollutants while concurrently producing combustion ash byproducts and heat to support industrial activities. The power plant will serve as the anchor tenant for a new "Eco-Park" site in Rainelle, W. Va.
"The Greenbrier plant is a prime example of President Bush's commitment to coal," Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said. "Greenbrier will clean an existing environmental waste site, reduce emissions, deliver needed electric power at affordable rates, and produce new economic activity. It marks another step toward achieving a zero-emissions power plant and will help us meet a primary goal of the National Energy Policy — to make maximum use of our domestic energy resources while elevating environmental and economic security."
The plant will create on the order of 6,000 direct, indirect and induced new jobs near the communities of Rainelle, Rupert, and Quinwood in western Greenbrier County, W.Va., and will generate enough electricity to power 85,000 homes.
Construction of the Western Greenbrier power plant is expected to begin in early 2006. The project will be administered by DOE's Office of Fossil Energy and managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory. It is one of eight projects selected last year from among 36 proposals. The Energy Department's share of the project is $107 million.
Western Greenbrier, a limited liability public corporation, will team with Parsons Corporation, Reading, Penn.; ALSTOM Power Inc., Windsor, Conn.; and Hazen Research Inc., Golden, Colo., to build the demonstration facility, which will co-produce electricity, steam, and structural brick.
Using a novel ALSTOM inverted-cyclone separator for the capture and recirculation of solids, the design has the potential to reduce boiler construction time by up to 10 percent and the boiler footprint by up to 40 percent. It should also reduce construction costs compared to existing circulating fluidized-bed systems.
When operational, the power plant will produce 85 to 90 megawatts of electricity, up to 30,000 pounds of steam per hour, and about 400 million Btu per hour of low-temperature waste heat.
The Greenbrier project will consume nearby waste-coal refuse, effectively reducing the total estimate of nearly 400 million tons located in several hundred Southern West Virginia sites. The refuse carries an estimated cleanup cost of $2 billion to $3 billion, which State Department of Environmental Protection officials characterize as West Virginia's premier environmental hazard. The commercialization plan for the Greenbrier Co-Production Demonstration Project envisions a network of larger facilities that could ultimately eliminate most of the coal-waste in the eastern coal region of the United States.
The plant will also return fly ash to the Anjean waste-coal pile to neutralize acid runoff, enhancing land restoration for productive use. Other pluses from the project include consumption of wood waste from local forestry operations, which will be combined with coal combustion ash for co-production of up to 10,000 bricks per day. The bricks — called "Woodbrik™" —are a new material that can be used in the building industry. Midway Environmental Associates, Inc., patent holder for the Woodbrik™ process, has granted a license to Western Greenbrier for production of the structural brick. The project will also provide support for an "eco-park" that will use waste heat from the power-plant steam cycle to help produce economically valuable crops, including Talapia, a marketable fish.