Resource Data International (RDI), the Boulder, Colorado-based energy consulting and information firm, singled out KFx’s K-Fuel in a new report on mercury emissions from coal-burning utilities.
RDI reports there are currently no mercury removal technologies operating commercially on coal-fired powerplants in the United States, but identifies activated carbon injection and carbon bed technologies as likely, but high-cost remedies. Other mercury reduction techniques, depending on the regulatory framework, include coal switching and the use of low- or zero-mercury fuels, such as K-Fuel, a beneficiated Powder River Basin coal product.
"Processed K-Fuel offers utilities many environmental benefits," says KFx. "While being a high-BTU, premium product, K-Fuel also has the lowest SO2, NOx, mercury and chlorine content of any solid fuel now available," they said. "K-Fuel has commercially demonstrated its economic and environmental benefits and is prepared to meet the stricter environmental regulations now being implemented."
First-half-1999 preliminary data collected by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirms that Western coal is generally lower in mercury content than Eastern coal, although Eastern coal variations are much wider. The data also reveal that the mercury content of waste coal burned by independent power projects is significantly higher than that found in regular coal, according to the new report released by RDI.
RDI’s Project Mercury report benchmarks the mercury content of coal by state and county of origin, as well as by plant. In cases where data could be isolated, the report also benchmarks mercury content by mine. The EPA is not expected to release its own analysis of the data until spring 2000. Thus the RDI report provides the first glimpse into which plants and mines could be more vulnerable to mercury control regulation than others. The EPA submitted a report to Congress in February 1998 that found mercury emissions from coal-fired powerplants to be the utility hazardous air pollutant of greatest concern.
The EPA will refine its estimates of powerplant mercury emissions, which will likely be released to the public during late spring or early summer 2000. The EPA has until the end of 2000 to decide whether it will pursue mercury emission control regulations.