The research institute of the electric industry—Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) --- recently honored Beardstown, Ill., resident Steve Long --- an employee of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation’s merchant generating subsidiary Ameren Energy Generating Company.
Steve Long received an EPRI Technology Transfer Award, given annually to EPRI members who have led technology transfer efforts on behalf of their companies and the industry at large. The awards were presented during meetings of EPRI’s advisors in Orlando, Fla., during the week of March 8.
Long, a native of Beardstown, Ill., who works now for Ameren Energy Generating Company’s Coffeen Plant in Coffeen, Ill., joined the utility business more than 25 years ago working for Central Illinois Public Service Company, now part of Ameren Corporation. Long is now maintenance supervisor at the plant.
Long, with help from EPRI’s Ramsey Chang and Apogee Scientific, created a portable kiln-like device to reduce mercury emissions at Ameren Energy Generating’s Meredosia Plant near Jacksonville, Ill. The kiln burned on-site coal to create an activated carbon, which is used to absorb mercury from the flue gas. Long said his goal was to make carbon that was equivalent in its adsorption rate but much less expensive than the higher-priced, commercially available carbon.
“We did much of this project in November, December and January—throughout the winter,” Long recalled. “If you can imagine trying to heat up a kiln when it is zero degrees outside and also trying to extract a flue gas sample to do precise mercury analysis when that equipment is exposed to the outside elements—it was tough.”
But toughness paid off. By designing and creating the kiln, this process could save Meredosia Plant from purchasing nearly $1.5 million in commercially available carbon.
Manager of Coffeen Plant Jeff Coyle was impressed. “I’ve known Steve for many years and have always been struck by his questioning attitude and drive to dig into situations to find better ways of accomplishing work,” Coyle said. “It’s great to see this industry recognition of his abilities that I’ve witnessed first-hand over the past 25 years. I’m counting on Steve to bring about many more good results at Coffeen plant in the years to come.”
Power plants face compliance with stringent mercury emissions regulations as new reductions requirements are imposed. Activated carbon (AC) injection into the plant’s flue gas stream is considered the most promising technology for mercury emissions control, but the costs are high. If AC could be produced on-site, the cost savings for the power generation industry as a whole could exceed $500 million per year.
Long led an Ameren team that enabled the evaluation of the Sorbent Activation Process (SAP), an EPRI-University of Illinois developed and patented concept that can produce activated carbon using coal that is available on site. A prototype field SAP unit was built and tested at Meredosia Power Plant.
“The Ameren team’s vision, hard work and leadership in the first-ever demonstration of the sorbent activation process has provided valuable information to the electric power industry,” said Carolyn Shockley, Vice President of Generation at EPRI. “The commitment and collaboration demonstrated by this team is a great example of the work that enables the industry to drive continuous performance improvement.”
Ameren’s non-rate-regulated operations include AER’s Ameren Energy Generating Company’s and Ameren Energy Resources Generating Company’s six coal-fired plants plus multiple natural gas-fired units. In addition, AER includes Ameren Energy Medina Valley Cogen L.L.C., which operates a natural gas-fired facility in Mossville, Ill., and Ameren Energy Marketing Company (AEM). AEM is responsible for the marketing and trading portfolios of 11 generating facilities in Illinois and Missouri. AEM serves the power needs of utilities, municipalities, electric cooperatives, energy aggregators, business customers and financial institutions.
The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI, www.epri.com) conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. An independent, nonprofit organization, EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, health, safety and the environment. EPRI's members represent more than 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States, and international participation extends to 40 countries. EPRI's principal offices and laboratories are located in Palo Alto, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Lenox, Mass.
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Contact: Brianne Lindemann 314-554-2738, Susan Rodgers 704-595-2072