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Lignite-fired power plant uses activated carbon to capture mercury

By Gerald Parkinson |

What is said to be the first grassroots lignite-fueled power plant to use powdered activated carbon (PAC) for mercury capture has been started up near Franklin, Tex., by Luminant (Dallas, Tex.). In its initial operation the 800-MWe supercritical plant has achieved better than 90% Hg removal, says James Brown, director of engineering for Fluor Corp. (Irving, Tex.; www.fluor.com), which built the plant. This meets the limit of 9.2 lb per trillion Btu for Hg determined in the permitting process. A second 800-MWe unit is scheduled to start up around mid-year. Mercury from lignite and sub-bituminous coals is generally in the elemental form and hence more difficult to capture than the oxidized Hg from bituminous coals. Lignite and sub-bituminous coals lack the halogen compounds that promote oxidation, says Brown. This problem may be overcome by using more PAC or by using a brominated PAC (Br-PAC) to capture the Hg. The latter is more expensive, but the amount of brominated activated carbon required is only 20–50% as much as standard PAC. The Luminant plant uses conventional PAC, with technology supplied by Babcock Power Environmental Inc. (Worcester, Mass.). PAC is injected into the fluegas at a rate of up to 10 lb/million acf of gas…
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