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Advisory Committee Chair

Peter M Walsh

Advisory Committee Members

Ramsay Chang

Melinda M Lalor

Larry S Monroe

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2012

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Public Health

Abstract

The Environmental Protection Agency promulgated the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule, which requires that existing power plants reduce mercury emissions to meet an emission rate of 1.2 lb/TBtu on a 30-day rolling average and that new plants meet a 0.0002 lb/GWHr emission rate. This translates to mercury removals greater than 90% for existing units and greater than 99% for new units. Current state-of-the-art technology for the control of mercury emissions uses activated carbon injected upstream of a fabric filter, a costly proposition. For example, a fabric filter, if not already available, would require a $200M capital investment for a 700 MW size unit. A lower-cost option involves the injection of activated carbon into an existing cold-side electrostatic precipitator. Both options would incur the cost of activated carbon, upwards of $3M per year. The combination of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) reactors and wet flue gas desulphurization (wet FGD) systems have demonstrated the ability to substantially reduce mercury emissions, especially at units that burn coals containing sufficient halogens. Halogens are necessary for transforming elemental mercury to oxidized mercury, which is water-soluble. Plants burning halogen-deficient coals such as Power River Basin (PRB) coals currently have no alternative but to install activated carbon-based approaches to control mercury emissions. This research consisted of investigating calcium bromide addition onto PRB coal as a method of increasing flue gas halogen concentration. The treated coal was combusted in a 700 MW boiler and the subsequent treated flue gas was introduced into a wet FGD. Short-term parametric and an 83-day longer-term tests were completed to determine the ability of calcium bromine to oxidize mercury and to study the removal of the mercury in a wet FGD. The research goal was to show that calcium bromine addition to PRB coal was a viable approach for meeting the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule for existing boilers. The use of calcium bromide injection as an alternative to activated carbon approaches could save millions of dollars. The technology application described herein has the potential to reduce compliance cost by $200M for a 700 MW facility burning PRB coal.

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