New coal dryer technology is a success

New coal dryer technology is a success

The U.S. Department of Energy said a prototype coal dryer project at an Underwood, N.D., power plant is so successful it’s being expanded.

Department officials said the technology at the Great River Energy Co.’s Coal Creek Station has proven so successful the power company intends not only to install full-size dryers on the station’s Unit 2 as part of the second phase of its cost-shared federal project but will also install the award-winning technology on the 546-megawatt Unit 1 at its own expense.

The project uses waste heat from the power plant to reduce moisture content in lignite coal. That, said Energy Department officials, makes it possible to extract more energy from the coal and reduce emissions of mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

Lignite coal has a high moisture content, containing up to 40 percent water measured by weight, scientists said, lowering the power efficiency and resulting in higher emissions than drier coal.

By reducing the moisture content, less coal is required to generate the same amount of electricity, which means fewer emissions and lower emission-control costs.

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