According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal will account for 85% of U.S. electric generating capacity retirements in 2022. But as the Global Energy Monitor reported, “the world still has more than 2,400 coal-fired power plants operating in 79 countries, for a total of nearly 2,100 GW of capacity. An additional 176 GW of coal capacity is under construction at more than 189 plants, and 280 GW is in pre-construction at 296 plants. In 2021, the operating coal fleet grew by a net 18.2 GW, a post-Covid rebound in a year that saw a slowdown in coal plant retirements.”
As a result of these factors, globally, the coal-fired power plant faces the increasing demands of cost saving, process optimization, and cleaner gas emission. The good news is that there is already technology that can help optimize raw material handling, analyze coal quality, monitor emissions and air quality, and assess the structural integrity of pipelines.
To provide easy access to resources for technologies and solutions to improve coal-fired power generation, we’ve updated our website to give visitors easier access to the information they need to help reduce costs and optimize their plants. Here’s a summary of technologies and solutions available to coal-fired power generation plants.
Solutions Used in Coal-Fired Power Generation Plants
- Raw Material Handling: There is raw material handling equipment for each stage of the process, including belt scale systems to monitor the weight of goods received, tramp metal detectors to protect the crusher and other expensive equipment, and conveyor protection switches to stop the conveyor if any unexpected accident happens. There are also specialty process control instruments to ensure precise feeding of process materials, control inventory, and maintain product quality. Learn more about raw material handling equipment.
- Online Coal Quality Analysis: Online elemental coal analyzers and blending software measure the composition of coal in real-time and proactively address process variations to ensure more consistent coal blends. The latest analyzers use either Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation (PGNAA) or Pulsed Fast Thermal Neutron Activation (PFTNA) technology to help provide coal producers with accurate, reliable data to control coal blends and ensure on-spec batches. Learn more about online coal quality analysis products.
- Positive Material Identification: The structural integrity of pipelines and plant assets is key for safety. Material mix-ups in metal production can have profound effects on the final product, so today’s best practice is to analyze 100% of critical materials. Using handheld XRF and LIBS analyzers, operators can perform positive material identification (PMI) to analyze piping material and get results in minutes to ensure that no incorrect or out of specification metal alloys enter the manufacturing process. Learn more about handheld instruments for PMI.
- Environmental Monitoring Systems: There are a variety of products help customers with regulatory compliance and process control. Some specialty Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS) include Particulate Matter (PM) CEMS and Mercury (Hg) CEMS. These probes are installed in stack and transfer gas to PM and Hg analyzers in the shelter, helping customers to comply with local PM and Hg emission regulation and optimal process performance. Learn more about Environmental Monitoring Systems.
- Health and Safety Systems: Air quality monitoring systems measure air quality, low and high levels of criteria pollutants, as well as other gases and toxins. These instruments help ensure ambient air quality complies with local environmental regulations (SOx, NOx, CO, Ozone, PM 2.5/ PM10). In additional personal dust monitoring equipment and radiation detectors also keep worker health at the forefront. Learn more about health and safety air quality systems.
Technologies Used in Coal-Fired Power Generation Plants
- Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation Analysis/Pulsed Fast Thermal Neutron Activation (PGNAA/PFTNA) – Noncontact, non-destructive analytical techniques used in online analysis systems to determine the elemental composition of coal.
- Coal Blend Optimization System (COBOS) – Software that controls sorting and blending equipment and helps enable the blending of up to six coal sources to make a “recipe” consisting of up to five quality parameters, such as ash, sulfur, moisture or even ash oxides or ratios of ash oxides.
- Belt scales and conveyor feed systems – Specialty handling and control instruments used throughout the process for precise feeding of materials, inventory and quality management, and to help ensure ideal composition.
- X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) – a non-destructive analytical technique used to determine the elemental composition of materials.
- Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) – an analytical technique utilizing lasers to determine the elemental composition of materials.
- Radiation detection – instruments to detect various types of radiation throughout the process, which is paramount to worker safety and quality control.
- Emissions and air quality monitoring – technologies used for monitoring real-time coal dust exposure, site remediation, exposure modeling, alarm conditions, asthma studies, fugitive dust monitoring, perimeter monitoring, and area monitoring.
As you can see, there are plenty of resources to help your coal-fired power generation plant operate more efficiently, safely, and more profitably. Visit our website and access Technologies and Solutions to Improve Coal-Fired Power Generation.
Editor's Note: This is an update to a previously published article