Mercury

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

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.

“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% 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.

SEA and sorbents provided by ME2C, both activated carbon and non-carbon-based, are claimed to more effective than back-end injection-only systems. 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.