Power Air Quality Insights  
No. 147   March 6, 2014





The following insights can be sent to you every week. This alert contains the details on the upcoming hot topic hour, breaking news, and the headlines for the Utility E Alert for the previous week. This is one of a number of free services. You can sign up for any of these newsletters and of course request to be removed from the mailing list at any time. See registration following the newsletter.


·        U.S. Coal Upgrades Will Improve European Energy Security and Reduce Equivalent CO2 by Five Billion Tons/Yr

·        China Will Spend $34 Billion/Yr for Air Pollution Control

·        Renewable Energy Briefs     

·        Headlines for the February 28, 2014 - Utility E-Alert

·        McIlvaine Hot Topic Hour Registration



U.S. Coal Upgrades Will Improve European Energy Security and Reduce Equivalent CO2 by Five Billion Tons/Yr

A new concern is that Ukraine will be dominated by Russia in part due to lack of EU intervention due to gas supply threats.  Thirty percent of European gas is supplied by Russia at an attractive $9.8/MMBtu.  The alternative is to pay $17/MMBtu from other sources as do Japan and Korea. 

There is a way for the U.S. to provide more of this gas while boosting the economy and best of all greatly reducing environmental emissions. By upgrading existing coal-fired power plants from subcritical to supercritical efficiency, the U.S. would increase electricity production by 40,000 MW while reducing equivalent tons of CO2 by over five billion tons/year.

The U.S. can supply more of the world’s energy needs over the next several decades.  Liquid fuels and LNG can be shipped to Europe and elsewhere. The price of natural gas in the U.S. is presently half that of that paid by the EU and one-third of that paid by Asian nations. The modest cost to convert gas-to-LNG or liquid fuels and ship it to Europe makes this option economically viable at current price differentials.  So, the question becomes: Could the U.S. meet its own gas needs and some of Europe’s?  U.S. shale gas is a very big resource, but it has limits. Therefore, EIA forecasts that coal use in the U.S. will remain at 2013 levels through 2040.  The present plan is to continue to operate the old power plants and not build any new power plants.

There is a novel approach which will meet the planned environmental goals in the U.S. while still helping to provide energy security to Europe. The approach is to upgrade the old inefficient coal-fired power plants to supercritical efficiency.  It would be possible to keep CO2 emissions at the same level as under the present plan but to reduce total environmental emissions.  At the same time, there would be a huge stimulus to the U.S. economy.  Investment in the upgrades will have a good financial return for utilities since coal consumption per kW will be reduced by up to 30 percent.

The air pollution impact of upgrading the old fleet to supercritical efficiency would be a reduction equivalent to 2.4 billion tons of CO2. The validity of this calculation is easily determined by using the EPA cost justification values.  CO2, various air toxics and each criteria pollutant is assigned a monetary value, so this creates a common metric.  There are other environmental benefits.  The upgraded coal-fired power plants would not generate the water and solid waste caused by the old power plants. So total environmental impact would be the equivalent of 5 billion tons of CO2


Many existing coal-fired power plants are so situated as to challenge the designer of the upgrade.  However, there are many new developments which will make upgrades relatively easy and very beneficial.  They include:

·         Use of vertical space.  The average power plant already has stacks many hundreds of feet high. Kiewit has an innovative use of the grain tower design to build 80 foot diameter modules which are 400 feet high. So innovations such as this will result in cost effective upgrades.

·         Upgrades are more efficient and, therefore, produce more electricity for a given footprint.

·         Use of new technology such as catalytic filters.  This filter combines particulate filtration and NOx reduction in one unit greatly reducing space requirements and retrofit costs.

·         Use of treated municipal wastewater for cooling and other purposes.  Nearly all existing power plants are within 70 miles of enough treated municipal wastewater to supply their water needs.

·         Zero liquid discharge systems.  Upgraded power plants will not have water discharges.

·         Co-generation and reduction of emissions from other sources.  Great Rivers Energy has Blue Flint ethanol plant on site. The ethanol plant has no boiler and no emissions since it uses waste heat from the power plant.

·         Supplementing coal with other fuels for optimum cost and environmental improvements. Gasified municipal waste and biomass can be used as re-burn fuels and reduce  NOx

The job stimulus to upgrade the old coal-fired power plants would be substantial.  Therefore, the upgrade program has political, economic and environmental benefits.

For more information on Fossil and Nuclear Power Generation: World Analysis and Forecast, click on: http://home.mcilvainecompany.com/index.php/markets/2-uncategorised/113-n043


China Will Spend $34 Billion/Yr for Air Pollution Control

Over the next decade, China will spend $34 billion/yr. for new air pollution control equipment and systems. This is the conclusion reached by the McIlvaine Company in Air Pollution Management and several more specific market reports.  (www.mcilvainecompany.com)


Particulate control will require an annual investment of $11 billion.  The biggest single purchasing segment will be coal-fired power plant operators.  There are tough new particulate regulations which existing precipitators cannot meet.  Cement plants, steel mills and the chemical industry will also be big purchasers of fabric filters and precipitators.

The DeNOx market will be greater than $10 billion/yr in the first five years and lower in the subsequent five years.  In the current five year plan, selective catalytic reduction (SCR) will be added to 450,000 MW of existing power plants and 250,000 MW of new power plants. There will be FGD systems on each new power plant plus 100,000 MW of upgrades in just the next five years.

Acid gases from waste-to-energy plants, smelters, refineries and the chemical industry will be addressed primarily with scrubbers and adsorbers.  Oil and gas extraction is another big market for acid gas removal.

China has not kept up with more developed countries in the removal of organics. These compounds are partially responsible for the substantial smog problems in Beijing and other areas.  Catalytic and regenerative thermal incineration will be widely applied in the coming decade.  Odor control at sewage treatment and food plants will be increasingly applied due to citizen complaints.

For more information on:

Air Pollution Management, click on: http://home.mcilvainecompany.com/index.php/markets/2-uncategorised/100-5ab

World Fabric Filter and Element Market, click on: http://home.mcilvainecompany.com/index.php/markets/2-uncategorised/110-n021

Scrubber/Adsorber/Biofilter World Markets, click on: http://home.mcilvainecompany.com/index.php/services-drop-down

Electrostatic Precipitator World Market, click on:  http://home.mcilvainecompany.com/index.php/markets/2-uncategorised/111-n018

FGD Markets and Strategies, click on:  http://home.mcilvainecompany.com/index.php/markets/2-uncategorised/107-n027

NOx Control World Markets, click on: http://home.mcilvainecompany.com/index.php/markets/2-uncategorised/104-n035

Chinese Utility Plans, click on:  http://home.mcilvainecompany.com/index.php/databases/2-uncategorised/88-42eic



Renewable Energy Briefs

Minnesota Power Chooses Siemens for 205 MW Bison 4 Wind Power Project in the U.S.

Siemens Energy has been awarded a major order by Minnesota Power for 64 units of the company’s latest 3-MW D3 platform wind turbines to be installed at the Bison Wind Energy Center near New Salem, North Dakota. The innovative wind turbines feature a 113-meter rotor and 92.5-meter hub height. Installation of the turbines is scheduled to begin in mid-June 2014, and commercial operation is slated for December 2014. The scope of supply includes transportation, installation and commissioning, as well as a three-year service and maintenance agreement.

The blades will be manufactured at Siemens’ facility in Fort Madison, Iowa. Additionally, the D3 nacelle component will be assembled in Hutchinson, Kansas. Assembly of this specific major component was recently moved from the company’s nacelle facility in Brande, Denmark, to Hutchinson, Kansas, which further demonstrates the company’s commitment to the U.S. wind industry.

Trina Solar Awarded EPC Contract for Jordan’s Largest Solar Power Project

Trina Solar Limited, a global leader in photovoltaic modules, solutions and services, announced that it has signed an EPC contract with Fresh Fruits Company, a food storage and logistics company in Amman, Jordan, for a 2 MW rooftop solar power plant on the company's stores and warehouses. Under the contract, Trina Solar is responsible for the engineering, procurement, and construction of the project. The project will use Trina Solar TSM-PC05A Honey 260 Wp, high efficiency modules that adapt well to dry and high temperature conditions prevalent in the Middle East.

This will be the first mega-scale rooftop solar power project in Jordan. The construction is scheduled to start in March this year and is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2014. The 2 MW rooftop solar power project is estimated to produce 3,200 MWh every year.

Army Awards Twenty Additional Contracts to Renewable Energy Companies

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, working with the Army Energy Initiatives Task Force (EITF), awarded 20 base contracts to companies in three of the four energy-related technologies that are part of the $7 billion capacity, large-scale renewable and alternative energy power production Multiple Award Task Order Contract (MATOC).

The 20 contracts are for the following technologies: solar (15) wind (3) and biomass (2).  No additional contracts were awarded at this time for geothermal, the fourth MATOC energy technology.

Mitsubishi Electric Develops Enhanced Battery Control Technology for Expanded Use of Renewable Energy in Power Systems

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation  announced new advanced battery-control technology that estimates fluctuations in renewable power sources, such as photovoltaic and wind-turbine generation, and controls battery charge/discharge to minimize power frequency deviation, thereby ensuring high-quality power systems that make extensive use of renewable energy.

Conventional battery control technology for micro-grids is based on the frequency feedback method. This method controls battery charge/discharge only after frequency deviation is detected, so the level of frequency-control performance is relatively low. Another method maintains constant tie-line power flow at the renewable energy site, but has the drawback of requiring equipment to be installed at every site.

Mitsubishi Electric's new technology, which estimates total fluctuation based on information about the local power system, controls battery charge/discharge to compensate for fluctuations before frequency deviation occurs. The technology already has been deployed by Kyushu Electric Power Company on a demonstration basis using wind turbines and lithium-ion batteries in Iki, Nagasaki Prefecture.

Cool Planet Starts Construction on First Commercial Facility

Cool Planet Energy Systems, a technology company producing green fuels and biochar products, broke ground in February on the company’s first commercial facility in Alexandria, Louisiana, dubbed Project Genesis. Permits have been received to begin earthwork and grading, with construction to immediately follow. The facility is designed to produce 10 million gallons per year of high-octane, renewable gasoline blendstocks, as well as biochar, all made from sustainable wood residues.

The facility will be located at the Port of Alexandria, on the Red River Waterway in Central Louisiana. The site was chosen because of its excellent wood biomass availability, interstate and rail access, and direct barge access to more than nine refineries. The facility is expected to produce at least 24 direct jobs and bring at least $56 million in economic investment into the state. Estimates are that an additional 150 indirect jobs will result because of this facility, and 350 construction jobs will be utilized.

For more information on Renewable Energy Projects and Update please visit



Headlines for the February 28, 2014 – Utility E-Alert      


#1164 – February 28, 2014


Table of Contents




§  A New Set of Regulations for existing Power Plants will be “Flexible”

§  138 MW Coal-fired Hoot Lake (MN) Power Plant to be Phased Out by 2020

§  NRG Energy plans Natural Gas Pipeline to convert its Coal-burning Avon Lake Power Plant







§  Brigham City, Utah will build Gas-fired Power Plant

§  NTE Energy to Develop 480 MW Gas-fired Combined Cycle Facility in North Carolina

§  Two Natural Gas-fired Power Plants to break Ground in Porter Township, PA this Spring
















§  “NOx Catalyst Performance on Mercury and SO3” is very Complex - Hot Topic Hour Conclusion on February 27, 2014

§  Webinars to take Power Plant Knowledge to the Next Level

§  Upcoming Hot Topic Hours


For more information on the Utility Tracking System, click on:



McIlvaine Hot Topic Hour Registration

On Thursday at 10 a.m. Central time, McIlvaine hosts a 90 minute web meeting on important energy and pollution control subjects. Power webinars are free for subscribers to either Power Plant Air Quality Decisions or Utility Tracking System. The cost is $300.00 for non-subscribers..

See below for information on upcoming Hot Topic Hours. We welcome your input relative to suggested additions.





March 20, 2014

China Air Pollution Control

World’s Largest Market

March 27, 2014

Analysis Of Dry Scrubber Options

Top notch third party expert panelists and lots of background info

April 10, 2014

Mercury Chemicals In Fuel, Flue Gas and Scrubbing Liquor

Important alternative to sorbents

April 17, 2014

Measurement Of Gas Turbine Emissions Including NH3

Six different options

May 1, 2014

850oF  Particulate Removal With Ceramic Filter Media

Could change the whole back end

May 8, 2014

Sorbent Traps vs. Mercury CEMS

Sorbent traps are competitive

May 15, 2014

Gas Intake Filters: HEPA or Medium Efficiency

More           information

May 29, 2014

Stellite Delamination in Power Plant Steam Valves

More           information

June 5, 2014

Dry vs. Wet Cooling

Surprising number of ACC’S. Why?

June 12, 2014

HRSG Issues (Fast Start, Tube Failures)

Lots of challenges to cycle 200 X/yr

June 26, 2014


$ billions  Needed

July/August 2014

Boiler Feedwater Treatment

 Condensate Polishing for Peaking Turbines

316 B Water Issues

Gas Turbine Permitting Issues

Give us your opinion about topics we should consider 



To register for the “Hot Topic Hour”, click on: http://home.mcilvainecompany.com/index.php/component/content/article?id=675



You can register for our free McIlvaine Newsletters at: http://home.mcilvainecompany.com/index.php?option=com_rsform&formId=5


Bob McIlvaine
847 784 0012 ext 112




191 Waukegan Road Suite 208 | Northfield | IL 60093

Ph: 847-784-0012 | Fax; 847-784-0061