US power giant invests $700 million to fight smog

Cinergy Corporation has announced investment totalling $700 million to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions at eight of its coal-fired power plants.

Cincinnati-based Cinergy revealed its plan to install selective catalytic reduction units, or SCRs at eight of ten Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co. and PSI Energy plants, Cinergy’s utility units. This will allow Cinergy to meet new regulatory requirements that begin in 2003 by reducing smog-producing NOx emissions by 85 to 90%, the group announced on 25 September.

Cinergy also plans to install other pollution control technologies, make combustion improvements, and utilize market opportunities as part of its overall plan to reduce NOx emissions under Clean Air Act programmes which require coal-fired generating stations to reduce NOx emissions.

SCRs are the most effective technology currently available for reducing NOx emissions produced in coal-fired generating stations and must be installed at the top of each boiler in front of the stack, requiring structures of up to 20 stories high.

“The construction will be an engineering challenge and one of the biggest projects in the history of the company,” William F. Tyndall, vice president of environmental affairs at Cinergy, said. “We expect to have NOx reduction projects at nearly every coal- fired generating station in the Cinergy system.”

While the SCRs will provide most of the NOx reductions, Cinergy will also install other types of controls including new computer software, known as ‘boiler optimisation,’ at all generating stations. This software is similar to that used in cars to increase engine economy and efficiency, constantly making adjustments to the engine depending on conditions.

The SCR projects also will have economic benefits for the region with an estimated 2,000 construction jobs created. Most of those jobs are expected to come from the communities near the plant locations.

Since 1990, Cinergy says it has invested approximately $650 million in pollution control and voluntarily installed the first selective non-catalytic reduction unit (SNCR) in its operating region three years ago at its Miami Fort Generating Station at North Bend in Ohio.

The group says that since the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments became effective, it has already lowered its NOx emissions by more than 40% through installing low-NOx burners.

In addition, the company has invested more than $260 million in the past several years on projects including wind, hydro and biomass generation as well as fuel cell and microturbine research and cogeneration projects, where waste heat from the electrical generating process is efficiently used for manufacturing, heating and cooling.

Cinergy owns or operates more than 16,500 megawatts of electrical and combined heat plant generation that is either operational or under development. Its largest operating companies, The Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company and PSI Energy Inc., serve more than 1.4 million electric customers and 478,000 gas customers in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie