GE claims new technology offers mercury emissions breakthrough for coal-fired boilers

Source: GE

As regulators in the United States debate plans to significantly reduce mercury emissions, GE (NYSE: GE) has announced the ThermoPleat™ Pleated Filter Element (PFE) has completed testing and will potentially empower plant owners and operators to meet these forthcoming standards.

With the threat of having to close existing plant facilities looming, tests conducted by PCT at the Mercury Research Center (MRC) show the new technology will potentially reduce emissions by more than 90 percent. Until now, coal-fired boiler air pollution control operators have been unable to achieve these high levels of mercury scrubbing without costly powdered activated carbon injection.

"Against an uncertain regulatory backdrop, this technology could be a game-changer for plant, environmental and maintenance managers who are looking for smarter, cost-effective upgrades to reduce emissions,” said PCT Technical Advisor Ralph Altman. “The filters performed very well and are so compact that they open up a whole new range of casing designs for both new and retrofit applications.”

The tests by PCT and GE allowed researchers to use the facilities’ unique full-scale testing capabilities to determine the best method for reducing mercury emissions: 

• By using ThermoPleat elements, GE found that some coal-fired boiler air pollution control operators may be able to capture up to 98 percent of mercury. The results can occur when the plant lowers the flue gas temperatures, allowing a more efficient utilization of the capture capacity of the unburnt carbon in fly ash. 

• At other flue gas temperatures, ThermoPleat elements may help some coal-fired boiler air pollution control operators capture around 75 to 80 percent of its mercury by inherent loss-on-ignition (LOI) of fly ash. The operator may be able to increase the capture percentage by using powdered activated carbon but at a much lower injection rate than typically used today with standard filter bags—which also can help substantially reduce the yearly operational costs. 

GE’s ThermoPleat Pleated Filter Technology has earned ecomagination approval following research and verification. Ecomagination is GE’s clean energy business strategy to drive growth and solve the world’s energy challenges. It brings technology, innovation, investment and partnership to deliver a sustainable future for generations to come.

"Our customers expect us to bring innovative solutions to the table that solves their current and potential business challenges,” said GE’s Bryan Yetter, product manager at GE Energy Services. “With powdered activation carbon injection a costly measure, the results from this test show ThermoPleat Pleated Filter Technology to be highly efficient, reliable and cost-effective alternative. With the results in mind, this technology is clearly a smart alternative should future regulations concerning mercury come to pass.”

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