Midwest Energy, EERC launch commercial application of new mercury control technology

Source: Energy & Environmental Research Center

The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota announced that a major corporate partner, Midwest Energy Emissions Corporation (ME2C), a research-oriented mercury emission capture company based in Grand Forks, North Dakota, is launching a new mercury control system. The sorbent enhancement additive (SEATM) injection technology originally developed by the EERC is being installed at a major power utility on the West Coast and will be commissioned this fall. 

“Our mission is to deliver leading-edge, cost-effective solutions for mercury emission control in utility boilers around the world,” said John F. Norris, Jr., ME2C CEO, who recently visited ME2C’s research facilities at the EERC to review performance data developed for the initial West Coast utility client. “We are extremely pleased to have a proven mercury control technology that effectively reduces mercury emissions over a broad range of plant configurations and coal types,” said Norris. 

ME2C is licensing an EERC-developed technology through the EERC Foundation, a separate, nonprofit corporation that provides the EERC with a dedicated infrastructure to support its commercialization activities. The EERC will provide installation and technical support throughout the commissioning and start-up of the technology, with ongoing assistance as needed to ensure optimal performance. 

“We are extremely pleased to be working with Midwest Energy Emissions Corporation to provide our implementation and optimization expertise for commercial deployment of this technology,” said EERC Director Gerald Groenewold. “Since the early 1990s, the EERC has been successfully developing, testing, and demonstrating a number of mercury control technologies in partnership with federal agencies, utilities, and coal companies throughout the United States and Canada. This technology is offered as a turnkey solution by ME2C to provide a simple, consistent, and economical solution for mercury removal to the coal-fired utility industry and other industrial units.” 

“Currently, more than 1100 coal-fired power plants operate in North America, along with many more large industrial units,” said John Pavlish, EERC Senior Research Advisor and an inventor of the technology. “Numerous mercury regulations are driving the demand for new mercury control systems,” Pavlish said. 

In the United States, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to put new mercury regulations in place in November of this year. In Canada, many provinces are requiring more than 70 percent mercury reductions. The high cost of replacing or enhancing coal-fired boilers has created strong incentives for utilities to maximize their useful life and identify technologies that will satisfy these regulations without large capital expenditures. 

“Uniquely formulated SEATM and sorbents provided by ME2C, both activated carbon and non-carbon-based, are proven to be more effective than back-end injection-only systems,” Norris said. “The system is also a drop-in replacement for existing activated carbon systems, which means the technology can utilize existing sorbent injection equipment with minimal or no modification, greatly improving mercury removal at significantly lower cost.” 

Installation of the ME2C-supplied equipment for the first client is under way, with full commissioning taking place this October. The technology will be up and running by January 1, 2012.

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