Clean Coal Power Initiative: Round 1

News Release

Release Date: April 21, 2004


President's Initiative to Seek 90 Percent Mercury Removal
We Energies to Test TOXECON™ Process in Michigan Coal-fired Power Plant

WASHINGTON, DC - The Department of Energy (DOE) and We Energies today initiated a joint venture to demonstrate technology that will remove an unprecedented 90 percent of mercury emissions from coal-based power plants.

Presque Isle Power Plant

We Energies' Presque Isle Power Plant located on the shores of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

As part of the President's Clean Coal Power Initiative of technology development and demonstration, the new project supports current proposals to reduce mercury emissions in the range of 70 percent through a proposed regulation pending before the Environmental Protection Agency or, in the alternative, passage of the President's Clear Skies Initiative by Congress.

Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham hailed the agreement and the technology, called TOXECON™, as "a milestone that meets the goals of the President's National Energy Policy that would make better use of coal. It shows we can use our most abundant fossil fuel while protecting the environment and elevating our level of energy and economic security."

Under the agreement signed today, We Energies of Milwaukee, WI, will design, install, operate and evaluate the TOXECON™ process as an integrated system to control emissions of mercury, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides during the operations of its Presque Isle plant at Marquette, Mich.

The $52.9 million TOXECON™ project will create an estimated 1,500 jobs. To be managed by DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory, it is the second of eight projects selected last year for inclusion in Round 1 of the Clean Coal Power Initiative. DOE's share of the cost of the five-year project is $24.8 million, and We Energies' share is $28.1 million.

In the TOXECON™ process, sorbents are injected into a power plant's exhaust stream to soak up the pollutants so they can be captured and prevented from being released to the atmosphere.

When completed in 2009, the project is expected to reduce mercury emissions at the plant by 90 percent; it will capture about 80 pounds per year of mercury. It also will eliminate 1,145 tons per year of sulfur dioxide (SO2)and 428 tons per year of nitrogen oxides (NOx)reductions of 30 percent and 70 percent respectively above and beyond what Presque Isle currently removes.

If successful, TOXECON™ may be the primary mercury control choice for users of western coals, and the only choice for units burning any coal type with hot-side electrostatic precipitators - markets totaling 68 gigawatts of electric power production, which is approximately 22 percent of the nation's coal-based generation.

TOXECON™ is a patented method resulting from research by DOE, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and nine other project partners. It received a 2003 R&D 100 Award for its approach to achieve timely compliance with future mercury regulations.

The project's key objectives include: achieving very high levels of mercury removal, increasing the collection efficiency of particulate matter, and determining the viability of sorbent injection for SO2 and NOx control, all while maximizing the use of coal combustion byproducts. An additional feature allows the system configuration to keep the activated carbon sorbent separate from the captured fly ash, which can be sold for reuse in concrete applications.

We Energies is the trade name of Wisconsin Electric Power Co. and Wisconsin Gas Co., the principal utility subsidiaries of Wisconsin Energy Corporation. They provide service to more than one million electric customers and nearly one million natural gas customers in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

We Energies will be assisted by team members ADA-ES, who will provide program management support and design and specifications for mercury control and monitoring; Cummins & Barnard, who will provide architectural and engineering services and construction management; and EPRI, who will be a technical advisor to the project.