MEGA Symposium 2016, 16-18 August, Baltimore, USA

The Power Plant Pollutant Control and Carbon Management ‘MEGA’ Symposium 2016 was held on 16- 18 August in Baltimore, MD, USA. The symposium showcased the latest developments and operational experience with pollution controls for coal-fired power plants in the light of the challenges US MATS (Mercury and Air Toxics Standard) has brought to the coal industry. This symposium was organised and supported by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA).

MATS compliance was the focus on the first day. The implications of MATS brought mercury control to the front and centre of the conference agenda. Several sessions were held dealing with technology and research that are underway to develop mercury control systems in preparation for compliance with MATS. Presentations covered mercury capture, oxidation, testing methods, and data analysis reporting.  One such test is on mercury mitigation and was conducted by Novinda Cooperation. SCR (selective catalytic reduction) mercury oxidation research is carried out by US EPRI and STEAG Energy Services GmbH, Germany. Wet FGD (flue gas desulphurisation) solution was tested by AECOM, EPRI, General Electric and American Electric Power.

On the second day, the conference split into two parallel tracks: MATS, and CO2 and SO2 reduction technologies. The MATS session touched mercury capture by sorption processes, including testing methods and pilot demonstrations. One of the demonstrations is being conducted by United Conveyor Co. LLC and GE Power at a lignite-fired unit. The Carbon reduction session included topics on heat recovery and pilot demonstrations. EPRI and AECOM are active in this area.  SO2 capture processes were presented in the afternoon sessions. Wet FGD and ESP (electrostatic precipitators) are still the technologies used. Sorbents, such as hydrated lime, sodium and calcium reagents, were compared for SO2 removal with dry sorbent injection.

Waste water and ash management/treatment, NOx and particulate controls, and flexible operations were discussed on the third day. Mitsubishi, Babcock & Wilcox, Duke Energy and AECOM are all working on waste water treatment at the moment. My presentation was the only one that covered PM2.5 control. During the networking session, I asked around whether PM2.5 emission is still an issue. The President of ENTECH Engineering Inc. confirmed that the USA is working hard on the control of PM2.5 and the focus is on developing sampling and measuring methods.

The overall conclusions from this symposium are that the technologies for MATS pollutants species control are mature. But some advanced developments have been made. Early experiences and lessons were learned from these developments.