Eco Power Solutions said Jan. 19 that its multi-pollutant control technology, COMPLY 2000, delivers the quickest, most cost-effective solution for power generators to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s final Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule issued in December 2011.
This technology is included in a list of innovative technologies eligible for Commercial Demonstration Permits included in the MATS ruling, Eco Power noted. MATS is also known as the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule.
Within three years, by 2015, MATS requires that power plants reduce emissions of heavy metals, including mercury, arsenic, chromium and nickel; and acid gases, including hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids. COMPLY 2000 provides an all-in-one solution to reduce emissions of such pollutants by more than 95%. Eco Power’s technology center in Louisville, Ky., has documented that the COMPLY 2000 reduces NOx and SOx emissions by 98%. The center has been operating an integrated COMPLY 2000 system since June 2010.
The modular design of the COMPLY 2000 systems means it can be installed in less time than traditional emissions control technologies at a cost of 25% less than competing technologies, Eco Power said.
“Eco Power Solutions understands that utilities need to comply with the recently announced EPA standards in a way that doesn’t impact their ability to deliver cost-competitive, reliable electricity to their customers,” said Tom Bartolomei, CEO of Eco Power. “Based on the operating data from our Technology Center, we know that the COMPLY 2000 can deliver what utilities need in a proven, cost effective, all-in-one solution and on a very appealing schedule.”
To achieve the announced multi-pollutant removal levels, the COMPLY 2000 uses an ozone injection process for NOx conversion. A fogging spray is mixed with a hydrogen peroxide solution for SOx conversion that is condensed concurrently with other pollutants to remove all combustion emissions from the exhaust gas stream. NOx and SOx are converted to nitric and sulfuric acid in the wastewater stream collected at the bottom of the unit. Simultaneously, unburned hydrocarbons and remaining particulate matter are removed during the condensation phase along with carbonic acid resulting from dissolved CO2. This wastewater can then be treated and recycled.
EPA outlines technology options for MATS
In issuing MATS in December, EPA identified several technologies that can help with compliance, including selective catalytic reduction with flue gas desulfurization (FGD), activated carbon injection (ACI), ACI with fabric filter (FF) or electrostatic precipitators (ESP), and dry sorbent injection (DSI).
MATS sets standards for all Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) emitted by coal- and oil-fired electricity generating units with a capacity of 25 MW or greater. These are called national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP), also known as MACT standards. Coal- and/or oil-fired electric utilities emit many of the 187 hazardous air pollutants listed in the Clean Air Act.
Existing sources generally will have up to four years if they need it to comply with MATS. This includes the three years provided to all sources by the Clean Air Act. “EPA’s analysis continues to demonstrate that this will be sufficient time for most, if not all, sources to comply,” EPA said. Under the Clean Air Act, state permitting authorities can also grant an additional year as needed for technology installation. EPA said it expects this option to be broadly available.
There are about 1,400 coal- and oil-fired electric generating units at 600 power plants covered by these standards, EPA has said. Power plants are currently the dominant emitters of mercury (50%), acid gases (over 75%) and many toxic metals (20%-60%) in the U.S.
EPA projects that the annual incremental compliance cost of MATS is $9.4bn in 2015 (in 2007 dollars). EPA said that projection should be put into context, since the power sector is expected in the base case to expend over $320bn in 2015 to generate, transmit, and distribute electricity to end-use consumers. Therefore, the projected costs of compliance with MATS amount to less than a 3% increase in the cost to meet electricity demand, the agency said.
An EPA analysis projects that by 2015, the final rule will drive the installation of an additional 20 GW of dry FGD, 44 GW of DSI, 99 GW of additional ACI, 102 GW of additional fabric filters, 63 GW of scrubber upgrades and 34 GW of ESP upgrades. Furthermore, the final rule results in a 3 GW decrease in retrofit wet FGD capacity relative to the base, where the SO2 allowance price under CSAPR provides an incentive for the additional SO2 reductions achieved by a wet scrubber relative to a dry scrubber.
Relative to the base case, EPA said that about 4.7 GW (less than 2%) of coal-fired capacity is projected to be uneconomic to maintain by 2015 due to this rule. This projection considers various regional factors (e.g., other available capacity and fuel prices) and unit attributes (e.g., efficiency and age). These projected “uneconomic” units, for the most part, are older, smaller, and less frequently used generating units that are dispersed throughout the country.