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Prestigious Coal-Fired Project of the Year Award Goes to Plant Demonstrating Innovative DOE-Funded Technology

December 16, 2010 - 12:00pm


Washington, DC - An innovative project demonstrating DryFining™ technology, a more cost-effective way to control coal-based power plant emissions while improving fuel quality, has been named the 2010 Coal-Fired Project of the Year by the editors of Power Engineering magazine.

The project, managed by the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, was developed with funding from the Department of Energy’s Clean Coal Power Initiative and was originally implemented at Great River Energy's Coal Creek Station in Underwood, ND, in 2009. The prestigious Power Engineering industry award honors technologies that "ushered in breakthrough solutions" in coal-fired, gas-fired, nuclear, and renewable sustainable energy categories.

DryFining™ is a more affordable way to control emissions while improving fuel quality by simultaneously drying and refining coal and reducing potentially harmful emissions. The process not only uses power plant waste heat to reduce moisture, but also generates more energy from less coal.

Because DryFining™ segregates particles by density, a significant amount of higher density compounds containing pollutants can be removed rather than oxidized in the boiler. This results in reduction of emissions of mercury and sulfur dioxide by 40 percent, nitrogen oxides by 20 percent, and carbon dioxide by 4 percent--all major potential pollutants that result from coal-based combustion--while maintaining low emission-control costs. Removal of water vapor prior to combustion decreases the volume of flue gas by 17 percent and improves the efficiency of fans, motors, and existing emissions control equipment.

The project was originally tested in Great River Energy’s 546-megawatt Coal Creek Station Unit 2. Following a successful increase in boiler efficiency and reduction of emissions, Great River Energy expanded the project by building full-scale dryer modules for the entire Coal Creek Station.

Nearly one-third of the electric power generated by coal in the country comes from plants that burn high-moisture coal, making this technology an important development for efficiently powering the Nation. Great River Energy noted that DryFining™ has a lower initial cost of installation and reduces expenses by more than $20 million annually. The financial and operational advantages to the Coal Creek Station, in comparison to alternative emissions control equipment, could eventually be seen in similar plants with the addition of the DryFining™ system.

Other team members on the DryFining™ project were Lehigh University, WorleyParsons, Heyl & Patterson, and EPRI.