The same baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) sold in grocery stores and used for a 101 things around the home is also one of the best solutions to scrub emissions from coal-fired power plants. Purification of flue gas emissions using sodium bicarbonate has always been recognized as a highly effective process for removing SO2, SO3, NOx and heavy metal compounds from flue gas. However, sodium bicarbonate scrubbing has 3 serious drawbacks:
1. The cost of sodium bicarbonate is excessive;
2. The resulting byproduct of the sodium bicarbonate SOx reaction (sodium sulfate) has limited economic value;
3. Sodium sulfate disposal is expensive and poses a significant environmental problem.
Despite its recognition as a superior scrubbing technology, these prohibitive operating issues have kept flue gas scrubbing with sodium bicarbonate from realizing any significant market share.
Airborne Pollution Control Inc., a Calgary based company, has developed a solution to the challenges of sodium scrubbing. The Airborne process begins with the injection of bicarbonate into the flue, where it reacts with and captures the pollutants. The key to Airborne’s patented process is its ability to regenerate the “residue” (it is converted back into sodium bicarbonate that can be reused for flue gas scrubbing), and at the same time, to make a high-grade fertilizer byproduct.
The Airborne process eliminates the disposal problem, improves the economics and most importantly it does a superior job of addressing the multiple pollutants inherent in flue gas emissions. Additionally, Airborne has a proprietary process to granulate their fertilizer. Airborne’s thin-film pan granulation technology makes the fertilizer more stable, shippable, blendable, customizable and ultimately more valuable.
Together with the Babcock & Wilcox, US Filter HPD Systems, and Icon Construction, Airborne is operating an integrated 5 MW demonstration facility to showcase the Airborne Process. The plant is located in Kentucky at LG&E Energy Corp’s Ghent generating facility.
Last year DOE received 36 proposals for projects valued at more than US$5 billion in the first round of President Bush’s Clean Coal Power Initiative. The Airborne Process was 1 of only 8 successful proposals, and was selected for US$31 million in funding for the implementation of Airborne’s multi-pollutant control process.
| Clean Coal Power Initiative Round One
| “Commercial Demonstration of the Airborne Process” [PDF-495KB] __
In short, this means that high sulfur coal can be burned in an environmentally friendly and economically efficient manner. The Airborne process removes multiple pollutants and it meets or exceeds all current and pending environmental requirements for SO2, SO3, NOx and mercury. For the first time pollution abatement becomes an economically rewarding investment for the power producer.
Over the next 5 years, Airborne has conservatively targeted the application of its technology to 10 new and existing coal-fired electrical generation plants. This conservative target represents less than 1% of the global available market and translates to a total installed capacity of approximately 7500 Megawatts (MW) out of approximately 800,000 MW of coal-fired power generated world-wide.
One concern with the production of fertilizer byproducts is maintaining a balance between the supply and demand for sulfur based fertilizers, a demand which is predicted to grow as sulfur emissions are reduced at the source. Airborne has a worldwide agreement with the Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. (PCS), the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of fertilizer products. Airborne has a worldwide marketing agreement with PCS whereby PCS will market the various fertilizer outputs, providing Airborne with access to worldwide markets and providing PCS with a unique addition to their portfolio of fertilizer products.
Airborne has made a major investment in the development and demonstration of this patented process and is seeking equity investment partners to take it to the next level.
Contact: Leonard Seidman
T: 403.253.7887 Ext: 310
“Multi Pollutant Control with the Airborne Process” [ 1.1 MB PDF] (… details the experimental and analytical results of a lab and pilot scale 0.3 MW coal fired combustion test facility and the progression to an integrated 5 MW facility)