Modern Coal Related Technology
Clean Coal










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Clean Coal Related Technologies

Clean coal technology seeks to reduce harsh environmental effects by using multiple technologies to clean coal and contain its emissions.

Hitachi Inspire the NextThe MidAmerican Energy Company's Council Bluffs Energy Unit 4 will be the country's first power plant company to have mercury limits specifically noted in its air emissions permit; this signifies a resurgence to coal-fueled technology. See how clean coal works in this video from Hitachi True Stories.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

An approach to mitigating global warming by capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from large point sources such as power plants and subsequently storing it instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.

Coal washing

Coal washing involves grinding the coal into smaller pieces and passing it through a process called gravity separation. One technique involves feeding the coal into barrels containing a fluid that has a density which causes the coal to float, while unwanted material sinks and is removed from the fuel mix. The coal is then pulverized and prepared for burning.

Removing Pollutants

Burning coal produces a range of pollutants that harm the environment: Sulphur dioxide (acid rain); nitrogen oxides (ground-level ozone) and particulates (affects people's respiratory systems).

There are a number of options to reduce these emissions:

Sulphur dioxide (SO2)
Flue gas desulphursation (FGD) systems are used to remove sulphur dioxide.  "Wet scrubbers" are the most widespread method and can be up to 99% effective.  A mixture of limestone and water is sprayed over the flue gas and this mixture reacts with the SO2 to form gypsum (a calcium sulphate), which is removed and used in the construction industry.

A venturi scrubber is designed to effectively use the energy from the inlet gas stream to atomize the liquid being used to scrub the gas stream. This type of technology is a part of the group of air pollution controls collectively referred to as wet scrubbers.

A venturi scrubber consists of three sections: a converging section, a throat section, and a diverging section. The inlet gas stream enters the converging section and, as the area decreases, gas velocity increases (in accordance with the Bernoulli equation). Liquid is introduced either at the throat or at the entrance to the converging section. The inlet gas, forced to move at extremely high velocities in the small throat section, shears the liquid from its walls, producing an enormous number of very tiny droplets. Particle and gas removal occur in the throat section as the inlet gas stream mixes with the fog of tiny liquid droplets. The inlet stream then exits through the diverging section, where it is forced to slow down. Venturis can be used to collect both particulate and gaseous pollutants, but they are more effective in removing particles than gaseous pollutants.

 Venturi scrubber Wetted throat venturi scrubber Non-wetted throat venturi scrubber Venturi scrubber with mist eliminator

Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
NOx reduction methods include the use of "low NOx burners". These specially designed burners restrict the amount of oxygen available in the hottest part of the combustion chamber where the coal is burned. This minimizes the formation of the gas and requires less post-combustion treatment.

Fabric Filter Systems
Two emission control devices for flyash are the traditional fabric filters and the more recent electrostatic precipitators. The fabric filters are large baghouse filters having a high maintenance cost (the cloth bags have a life of 18 to 36 months, butcan be temporarily cleaned by shaking or backflushing with air). These fabric filters are inherently large structures resulting in a large pressure drop, which reduces the plant efficiency. Electrostatic precipitators have collection efficiency of 99%, but do not work well for flyash with a high electrical resistivity (as commonly results from combustion of low-sulfur coal).

Electrostatic Precipitators
Electrostatic precipitators can remove more than 99% of particulates from the flue gas. The system works by creating an electrical field to create a charge on particles which are then attracted by collection plates. Other removal methods include fabric filters and wet particulate scrubbers. 







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