'Clean coal' test facility planned for Wyoming
- Clean Coal Technologies Inc. expects to begin operating a test plant in northeast Wyoming by summer 2018, Associated Press reports.
- The New York-based company has developed a process that converts "raw" coal into a cleaner burning fuel. CCT boasts its "clean coal" technology may reduce 90% of chemical pollutants from coal, including sulfur and mercury, "thereby resolving emissions issues affecting coal-fired power plants."
- "Clean coal" has remained largely elusive, despite technologies which are known to work. Earlier this year Southern Co. canceled its Kemper integrated gasification combined cycle project in Mississippi after costs quadrupled.
In September, CCT announced it had has received a deposit from Wyoming New Energy to build a 2 million-ton that will utilize the company's "Pristine M" process.
"This revenue validates our patented Pristine M technology," CCT President and CEO Robin Eves, said in a statement. The facilities produce "a cleaner, more efficient and cost effective fuel."
The Associated Press reported over the weekend that the testing facility is being moved from Tulsa, Okla., to a site in northeast Wyoming, and that a commercial facility was anticipated at the same site. The company's web site says it can process 30 tons of coal per hour to generate 160,000 tons of "dry coal" each year. By removing moisture from coal, CCT says it can make the fuel much cleaner.
"Clean coal" has often been discussed as a possible solution to coal's struggles in the electric generation sector, but the high cost and difficulty in finetuning the process have left it with few successes.
Southern Co.'s gasfication project aimed to turn coal from an adjacent lignite mine into gas to fuel a 582 MW power plant. The process was expected to capture up to 65% of the carbon dioxide that the plant would have emitted.
Southern subsidiary Mississippi Power runs the plant, which operates now as a standalone natural gas power plant. Shareholders lost about $3.1 billion on the plant and the utility could be on the hook for more. In July, the New York Times published a story including allegations that Mississippi Power concealed cost overruns from regulators, and had poor project management on top of unreasonable schedules.
Last year the U.S. Department of Energy nixed a Texas "clean coal" project, withdrawing $240 million in funding following years of delay and concerns over the project's inability to secure commercial debt and equity project financing.
However, NRG Texas completed a retrofit of a coal plant by its deadline earlier this year, marking the only successful "clean coal" facility to date.
- San Francisco Chronicle Clean coal plant in Wyoming slated for operation by summer
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