Bicarb Cleans Up Stack Gas Emissions

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)

Distrib Cogen Envir Projects Development

The following is a portion of a recent press release describing a new project development initiative that has attracted a lot of high level attention and is quickly expanding nationally and internationally. The main feature of these projects is that they use gas turbines as cogenerators in applications where electricity, heat or steam are used to solve an environmental or process need.

The principals of Powercell On-Site Energy inform me that since this press release, they’ve raised $3 million and are moving forward rapidly to establish additional alliances with other companies in other regions of the country, and to proceed with the first of several major projects.

There are ample opportunities for investment and participation in a variety of ways. Contact J.R. Forbes, Powercell On-Site Energy Systems, Modesto CA, phone/fax 209-5458858

Energy Company Alliance Targets Distributed Power
–Sept. 17, 1998–

Five energy industry companies today announced the formation of “The Monterey Bay Alliance” to jointly offer a “total solution” package of cost- effective, environmentally-sound products and services that meet the power needs of customers in a wide range of industries.

The alliance is already pursuing several projects and has identified a number of other strong opportunities.

The Companies forming the Alliance are Catalytica Combustion Systems, Inc., Mountain View, CA; Enron Energy Services, Inc., Houston, TX; Harding Lawson Associates Inc., Novato, CA; POWERCELL On-site Energy Systems Inc., Modesto, CA.; and Pratt & Whitney Canada, Longueuil, Canada.

Focused on distributed generation, the Alliance solutions will feature Pratt & Whitney Canada industrial gas turbines, linked to one or more process systems, and Catalytica’s XONON(TM) air emission-control technology. “The Alliance will be able to provide innovative, low emissions energy solutions to end-users in the light manufacturing, commercial, and institutional sectors,” said Thomas E. White, Vice Chairman of Enron Energy Services, Inc., an Alliance company. “There is a clear need for distributed power systems that provide multiple energy products, incorporating breakthrough emission controls, at a competitive total cost.”

Applications may include wastewater treatment plants, food processing facilities, desalinization installations, new commercial and industrial land developments, hospitals, cold storage warehousing, office buildings, and educational institutions. For example, a power user might recognize the need for a more reliable supply of electric power, but see significant economic and environmental challenges to acquiring an on-site power generation capability. The Alliance plans to solve these problems by using advanced gas turbines in cogeneration or trigeneration cycles to significantly reduce total energy costs, while applying Catalytica’s XONON(TM) combustion technology to limit emissions of NOx, a primary air pollutant, to less than 3 parts per million. The Alliance can tailor its services to customer needs, ranging from supplying a basic cogen set, to a total energy system financed, constructed, owned, operated, and maintained by Alliance companies.

POWERCELL will serve as the prime developer for the Alliance, and Harding Lawson will provide system design, engineering and construction services. Pratt & Whitney Canada will supply the gas turbines. Catalytica will supply its XONON(TM) system for ultra-low NOx air emissions. Enron Energy Services Inc. will supply the natural gas for the gas turbines, sell and distribute any excess electricity and make financing available to selected projects.

Ions Increase Fuel Efficiency

Ionic Fuel Technology is a small public U.S. company (NASDAQ-IFTI) with a device that substantially increases the efficiency of any hydrocarbon fueled burner. This is proven, operational, commercial technology that can be used/retrofit with any boiler technology, regardless of/in addition to other (emissions control) equipment. To date, operations and sales have been almost entirely in the UK and Europe.

Payback is invariably less than 24 months, and sometimes as little as 6 months. In the case of rental, the customer sees a positive cash flow immediately.

They have not yet done a large utility boiler, although PowerGen is about to undertake a field test on a 250 tons (steam)/hr boiler. The only activity in the U.S. was an experiment with AES on a fluid bed pulverized coal (PC) plant which was not successful. In fact, PC remains a challenge for the company–they suspect the injected charge might be canceled by the intense electrostatic activity of the powdered coal.

The company originally applied the device on diesel engines, and was able to demonstrate 10% fuel savings. They weren’t able, however, to interest the diesel engine makers. The opportunity remains, and could be particularly useful for gen sets and locomotives. The company has a small unit that would be directly applicable.

After seeing a Sept. 2 press release, UFTO contacted the company’s chairman, Mr. Doug Johnston (New Canaan CT, 203-966-6004), and learned that IFT wants to identify a joint venture partner for the U.S.

The company does not have a website, but SEC filings are available on line, and the company can send an extensive information package. Current market capitalization is just over $5 Million, with the stock price under $1 from a high last year over $5.


The company announced on September 1 that Texaco successfully completed a long-term (2 year) evaluation of the system. The previously purchased unit was installed on one of seven boilers located at Texaco’s 180,000 barrel per day Pembroke Refinery in South West Wales. The Foster Wheeler boiler is rated at 175,000 pounds of steam per hour burning heavy fuel and refinery gas. The IFT system increased the boiler’s thermal efficiency by 4.5 percent resulting in fuel savings of the same magnitude. Additionally, annual emission of greenhouse gas (CO2) was reduced by 2,700 tons and nitrogen oxide (NOx) by over 6 tons. The reduction in “greenhouse gas” and NOx emissions contributes toward Texaco’s objective of progressively improving the refinery’s environmental performance.

IFT and BP Energy have signed a Business Alliance after successful tests at a BP Chemicals 250 tons/hr boiler in the UK. BP Energy has ordered a unit on behalf of a Scottish paper mill. The company also has agreements with a service and marketing firm in Belgium, a long term rental agreement with a brewer in Germany, and has received orders from BMW and a UK brewer. A large pharmaceutical company in the UK has been using an IFT system for more than a year.

The system does not involve water or steam injection, chemical injection or additive, or an electric or magnetic field.

—- (From the company’s 10-K) —-

The IFT System, which is attached to a customer’s heating or power generation equipment, produces negatively charged ions (“Ions”) by passing an air flow over a body of vibrating liquid and into the combustion chamber or air intake of the customer’s machinery. The ionized air supply accelerates the normal combustion process. As a result of the improved combustion, the amount of air and fuel supplied to the burner can be reduced while still maintaining a constant measure of power output. This reduction of air and fuel decreases fuel consumption as well as the production of NOX CO and CO2 and when burning fuel oil, fireside coking and particulate emissions are also reduced.

The IFT System is self contained in a cube-shaped metal cabinet. The System’s interior mechanism vibrates the surface of a liquid contained inside the cabinet. The vibrating liquid releases negatively charged Ions that are then delivered to the customer’s equipment through a connection placed either adjacent to the boiler’s combustion chamber or to the boiler’s air intake mechanism.

The System is available in eight sizes ranging from 15″ x 12″ x 16″ to 43″ x 3 1-5″ x 35″. Such sizes are suitable for boilers generating from approximately 1,000 lbs. of steam per hour to approximately 96,000 lbs. of steam per hour. Multiple Systems are used when either the boiler has more than one burner or the boiler’s power generating capacity exceeds the capacity of the largest IFT System. The System generally requires only a routine servicing every six months and may be leased or purchased.

Typical performance results of the System reveal a reduction in NOx. emissions [up to 6%], a reduction in CO emissions ranging from 6% to 80%, a reduction in CO2 emissions ranging from 2 1/2% to 7%, a reduction in particulate emissions ranging from 6% to 40% and a reduction in fuel consumption ranging from 2 1/2% to 7%. The exact performance of the System depends upon the customer’s existing equipment and desired objectives; customers may achieve less favorable results or no improvement if their equipment requires repair or if fuel and air flows cannot be closely controlled. If NOx and CO emissions have been reduced by the use of other equipment, the System may be used to reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. CO2 emission reduction correlates directly with the fuel savings which the IFT System provides.

Flue gas heat recovery and air pollution control

Simple in concept, FLU-ACE has accomplished something that many others have tried unsuccessfully to do for a long time, and they have plants that have been operating for over 10 years. Their condensing heat exchanger system replaces the stack in combustion systems, recovering almost all of the waste heat, and removing most of the emissions. With modifications, it even can remove up to 50% of the CO2.

It can be thought of as pollution control that pays for itself in fuel savings–or visa versa. Water is sprayed into the hot flue gas, both cooling and cleaning it. The water is then collected, passed through a heat exchanger to recover the heat, and treated to neutralize the acidity and remove contaminants.

Condensing heat exchangers aren’t new, but they normally can be used only when the hot gas is reasonably clean. FLU-ACE can handle any kind of gas, even if it contains particulates, acids and unburned hydrocarbons. Conventional wisdom holds that corrosion, plugging and clogging should defeat this approach, but FLU-ACE has overcome problems with its patented design. Systems show no degradation after years of operation. It has even been qualified for use with biomedical incinerator exhaust.

Industrial boilers and cogeneration plants are ideal applications. The installed base includes district heating systems, sewage treatment plants, hospitals, pulp and paper mills, and university campuses. Heat recovery is even greater when the exhaust gas is high in moisture content, e.g. in paper mills and sewage treatment. The largest system to date is 15 MW thermal, but there is no limit on the size.

A fossil power plant could use about 15% of the recovered heat for makeup water heating, so the economics are better when there are nearby uses for the heat. The company really wants to do a coal burning power plant–a slipstream demo could be the first step.

The company is a small publicly traded Canadian firm (symbol TMG – Alberta Stock Exchange). They have a dormant U.S. subsidiary, and are seeking U.S. partners, joint ventures and alliances for market expansion.

For further information:
Gustav Pliva, Exec. Vice President
Thermal Energy International Inc.
Neapean (Ottawa), Ontario, Canada
613-723-6776 Fax: 613-723-7286 E-mail:
Web Site –

(UFTO first reported on FLU ACE in October ’95)
The following materials are excerpted from the company’s website:

The unique FLU-ACE technology is a combined heat recovery and air pollution control system, which recovers up to 90% of the heat normally wasted in hot chimney flue gases. FLU-ACE substantially reduces the emission of “Greenhouse Gases” (including C02), “Acid Gases” (including SOx), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), unburned hydrocarbons (such as THC and VOCs), and particulates (such as soot and fly ash). It eliminates the need for a conventional tall smoke stack or chimney.

Thermal Energy International Inc. has built eleven FLU-ACE Air Pollution Control and Heat Recovery Systems in Canada. All of Thermal’s FLU-ACE installations in Ontario have been approved by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Energy. The life expectancy of the FLU-ACE system is at least thirty-five to forty years. In December 1997, the company received patent protection in 42 countries; the US patent is expected early in 1998.

Low NOx FLU-ACE provides a payback on investment and is self financing from the savings that it generates for the industry user. The company is able to provide “Off-Balance” Sheet financing or 3rd party financing options for acquisition of its FLU-ACE technology by industrial and institutional buyers.

Using a direct-contact gas-to-liquid mass transfer and heat exchange concept, the system is designed to process flue gas from combustion of fossil fuels, waste derived fuels, waste, biomass, etc. The FLU-ACE System is configured as a corrosion resistant alloy steel tower at a fraction of the size of any conventional stack. All of the hot flue gas from one source or multiple sources (including co-gen and boilers) are redirected into the FLU-ACE tower, where it is cooled to within one to two degrees of the primary water return temperature, which enters the tower typically at between 16°C (60°F) and 32°C (90°F) depending on the season and outside air temperature. The heat (both latent and sensible) from the flue gas is transferred to the primary water which then reaches up to 63°C (145°F) and with special design up to 85°C (185°F), and circulated to various heat users.

FLU-ACE most sophisticated version (HP) reduces air pollutant emissions by over 99% including particulate down to 0.3 micrometers in size, and simultaneously recovers 80-90% of the heat in the flue gas normally exhausted into the atmosphere. This results in a reduction of fuel consumption by the facility up to 50%.

DOE Carbon Reduction Study

The note quoted below just arrived today via the AESP an online link to the just released DOE report.

Energy Folks-

After a pretty extensive search, I have managed to track down the DOE study released last week that you have probably heard about, “Scenarios of U. S. Carbon Reductions Potential Impacts of Energy-Efficient and Low-Carbon Technologies by 2010 and Beyond”

Find a link to it on Sustainable Minnesota’s Climate Change Resources Page at:


Here is some from the Executive summary:

The study documents in detail how four key sectors of the economy – buildings, transportation, industry, and electric utilities – could respond to directed programs and policies to expand adoption of energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies, an increase in the relative price of carbon-based fuels by $25 or $50/tonne (e.g., as a result of a cap on domestic carbon emissions and a market for carbon “permits”), and an aggressive program of targeted research and development. Current projections suggest that a carbon emissions reduction of 390 million metric tons per year (MtC year) is required to stabilize U.S. emissions in 2010 at 1990 levels.

John Bailey, Research Associate
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
1313 Fifth Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Tel: 612-379-3815 Fax: 612-379-3920

New DOE study on Green House Gases

New DOE study on Green House Gases

DOE is expected to release a new study on greenhouse gases next week. It outlines a scenario for major reductions in CO2 emissions over the mid to long term that may have overall net costs that are at or below zero. The study recognizes that the transition won’t be easy and will require a vigorous national commitment, but indicates that it is feasible and holds many important opportunities for the nation.

Five major national laboratories have been working for over a year to identify and evaluate demand and supply side technologies that are available now or will be in the next decade, and to analyze prospects for their implementation. These technologies taken together with a carbon trading system (at significantly lower prices than earlier analyses have suggested) make a workable combination involving end use and supply-side efficiency improvements, some conversion of coal fired power plants to natural gas, and renewable sources.

(This advance notice is off the record. Please don’t contact DOE until the report is released.)

Electrotechnology Conference

TO: UFTO Members..
FROM: Ed Beardsworth
I’ll be out of town Dec 2-8, visiting Brookhaven, Savannah River, and several utilities. Meanwhile, the conference organizers need our input by Dec 8. I won’t be available to pass your ideas along, so go directly to them by fax or phone (and please send me a cc).
The conference that UFTO is cosponsoring is called:
April 24-26, 1996
TECO’s Elec Technology Resource Center TAMPA FL
and the Holiday Inn Tampa Busch Gardens
Utility Sponsors (to date)
Basin Electric, FP&L, KCP&L, SCE, TECO, Utilicorp, and Virginia Power
Federal Lab Sponsors:
Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest, Sandia and Savannah River
Other Sponsors:
Elec. Council for the Economy, Electrotechnology Report,
Cambridge Reports, CHI Research, McGraw Hill Electrical World,
NTH Power, S East Resources Alliance, NIST-MEP, and UFTO (!!)
MARK MILLS 301-718-9600
Ads will appear in Electrical World in January, highlighting
WANTED: Session moderators. Must be generally knowledgeable about
****** the technology and able to summarize technologies covered and
coordinate discussion….
Topic areas (not session titles) include:
– Air Emission Technologies
– Entrepreneur’s Perspective -case studies and lessons learned
– Environmental Remediation Technologies
– Food Processing Technol
– Residential Technol
– Manufacturing Technol
– Medical Sector Technol
– Non-Road Transportation Technol.
– Process Industry Technol
– Water Related Technol
WANTED #2 Ideas and leads for products, technologies or companies that
********* should be invited to to participate. Display space will be
ACTION: Fax suggestions to Byrne Burns, 301-718-7806 or call him at 718-9600.