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process design for clean-coal technology

process design for clean-coal technology
Great River Energy
North Dakota

coal-drying technology reduces emissions and cost of energy production

To improve coal-based energy production at its power plant in Underwood, North Dakota, Great River Energy partnered with Barr and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Lehigh University, the Electrical Power Research Institute, and the Falkirk Mining Company to develop a cleaner-burning technology.

This took years to design, develop, and test as GRE moved from a pilot-test unit to a prototype to a commercial unit. Barr assisted with process development, process evaluation, process and equipment selection, technology development, project management and scheduling, preliminary design, and a DOE grant application.

When the innovative technology was ready for full-scale deployment, GRE faced one more challenge—how to fit it all into Coal Creek Station. We worked with GRE on a final design that entailed adding a nine-story structure to the plant and interweaving new coal-drying equipment, conveyors, pipes, and ductwork throughout the existing generating units.

We provided electrical design for a new motor control center and control rooms, power supply to all of the new equipment, dampers, gates and valves, and a 3,500-point distributed control system. Our detailed mechanical design encompassed utility services, piping, ductwork, and chutes. We provided detailed structural design of building foundations, equipment and pipe supports, pipeline piers, conveyors, and utility bridges and galleries. Barr also assisted GRE with onsite contractor support, field engineering, construction management, and construction conflict mitigation. 

The operation has been up and running successfully since 2009. The new technology uses low-value waste heat from existing processes to reduce the moisture in lignite coal before it’s burned. The drier coal can be burned at a lower temperature, enabling the generating equipment to run better and last longer. In addition, pollutant emissions have been reduced and overall efficiency has improved.

  For more on GRE’s dry-fining technology, click here for a DOE video.