Shining the Light on Cleaner Air

Due to its relatively low and stable costs, coal has dominated the electric generation market. In fact, coal-fired generation is responsible for a majority of the electricity produced in the United States. Unlike gas-fired generation, coal-fired electric generation emits significantly higher volumes of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants. This is mainly due to its use of coal, which produces coal dust. Coal dust, a fine powdered form of coal, is hazardous by nature, and has been identified as a major source of fires and explosions. Over the last few years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has placed more stringent regulations on coal combustion, including the regulation of water usage, water disposal, and emissions of coal-fired power under the Clean Air Act. In addition to environmental hazards, coal dust poses several health risks to those who work in the industry. The particulates generated in coal dust contain heavy metals that are considered extremely toxic, even at low concentrations. These metals include lead, mercury, nickel, and arsenic. The customer was looking for a way to reduce basic maintenance issues associated with certain classes of collectors and operational challenges for the plant managers, while meeting the EPA’s stringent regulations.

Challenge

A central coal-fired electric utility company contacted AAF in need of a solution to a number of challenges they were facing related to the conversion to Powder River Basin (PBR) coal. The baghouses that were currently being used were encountering many operational problems, mainly due to the new type of coal and its specific characteristics. The customer was concerned about meeting NFPA regulations, eliminating fire hazards, and also maintaining its current status as a reliable and cost effective producer of electricity for their customers.

Solution

AAF provided a number of RotoClone® W wet collectors as the primary solution to replace the baghouses and competitor wet collectors on the systems designated by the customer. This collector was a perfect replacement and provided a compact, efficient, and reliable operating package for the needs of the customer, while mitigating the fire and explosion hazards with the PRB coal. Additionally, the customer needed a functional solution for the collection of dust in the pug mill area. AAF provided several Kinpactor wet scrubbers to handle the wet, sticky, and abrasive material for their material handling needs.

Benefits

The utility company now has an safe and efficient dust collection system that keeps workers safe, maintains good housekeeping, and complies with OSHA, NFPA, and EPA regulations. Additionally, maintenance has been reduced and reliability has increased due to the RotoClone® W and the Kinpactor units installed. The customer can now focus on the business of generating electricity.