Washington, DC - Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the offer of a $245 million conditional loan guarantee to Red River Environmental Products, LLC to build an activated carbon (AC) manufacturing facility near Coushatta, Red River Parish, Louisiana. The company expects to create 500 jobs during construction and 70 jobs once the plant is fully operational.
Activated carbon is the leading technology for reducing mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants and has been adopted by virtually all coal-fired boilers required to reduce mercury emissions. AC can reduce a coal-fired power plant's mercury emissions by up to 90 percent by absorbing vaporized mercury contained in the flue gas and collecting it in the plant's particulate collection device.
"By reducing pollution from power plants, we can create good new jobs and clean up the air we breathe and water we drink," said Secretary Chu. "We are at the beginning of a new Industrial Revolution in energy technologies, and America must seize this opportunity to lead the world in making these important advances."
Added Senator Mary Landrieu: "The Department of Energy recognizing Red River Environmental Products is a testament to the cutting-edge technology being pioneered by Louisiana innovators. The activated carbon manufactured at this plant will improve our environment and help to reduce the levels of mercury in seafood by cleaning emissions from coal power plants -- a known source of these contaminants. This company is making a vital product needed throughout the country, and they're doing it more efficiently than virtually anyone else."
Demand for activated carbon for mercury emissions control has grown significantly in the past two years and is expected to continue to outstrip available supplies due to regulatory initiatives. Nearly 20 states have issued mercury emissions regulations.
At full capacity, the plant will produce 150 million pounds per year of powdered AC which will remove 30,000 pounds of mercury from the flue gas of approximately 160 coal-fired power plants. Coal-fired power plants generate about one-half of the electricity in the U.S. and emit a substantial proportion of industrial mercury emissions.
The plant will use state-of-the-art air pollution control equipment to reduce its own emissions of volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide and will also use AC to sequester 80 percent of the plant's mercury emissions. The plant's design will also save 26 million gallons of water per year compared to conventional AC plant designs. Waste heat will generate the plant's electrical power and the excess electricity will be sold to the local utility-enough to power 13,000 homes.
This is the fourth conditional commitment for loan guarantees made by the Obama Administration. The first recipient of a loan guarantee for an innovative technology energy project was Solyndra, Inc., a manufacturer of cylindrical solar photovoltaic panels. Two other conditional commitments have been made to Nordic Windpower, USA, a maker of two-blade, one megawatt wind turbines, and Beacon Power, an energy storage company.
Red River Environmental Products applied under the 2008 Loan Guarantee Program solicitation for "Projects that Employ Innovative Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, and Advanced Transmission and Distributed Technologies." For more information on this program, please visit the Loan Guarantee Program Office.