ThermoEnergy Corp. (OTCBB: TMEN.OB – News) has announced the formation of Unity Power Alliance.
The mission of Unity Power Alliance is to work with partners and stakeholders to develop, promote, demonstrate and commercialize “pressurized oxy-combustion” as a new, preferred clean combustion platform for repowering existing coal-fired power plants in the USA, and building new clean power plants around the world.
Unity Power Alliance will serve as the company’s vehicle to develop and commercialize its emissions-free, clean-combustion technologies, and will seek the involvement of other major firms and organizations with an interest in promoting the technology. ThermoEnergy holds several promising patents in high-pressure oxy-combustion technology.
“Our strategy is to ally with key industry partners to deploy pressurized oxy-combustion power plants where coal and infrastructure is readily available and conventional coal plants cannot economically meet environmental demands,” stated Mr. Cary Bullock, CEO of ThermoEnergy Corp. “These repowered plants would produce clean electricity at lower cost than alternatives like wind or solar. Repowering decommissioned coal-fired power plants will provide Unity Power Alliance with a substantial near-term opportunity to commercialize pressurized oxy-combustion technology and participate in revenues from power production. It is our intent to make additional announcements in the near future concerning our new partnerships and agreements.”
The basic underlying technology that Unity Power Alliance will support is called “pressurized oxy-combustion.” Today’s typical coal-fired power plants burn coal in air at normal atmospheric pressure. Pressurized oxy-combustion replaces that air with highly purified oxygen at high pressures—creating significant improvements in both environmental and economic performance over competing technologies.
The advantages of the overall approach have been well described in recent papers by Ahmed F. Ghoniem, distinguished professor of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and an adviser to ThermoEnergy (http://web.mit.edu/mitei/docs/reports/hong-analysis.pdf).
Coal burns more cleanly and efficiently in high pressure oxygen than in normal air. In addition, the high pressure makes it possible to condense—or turn into liquid—the gasses that are normally emitted through the smokestack into the air. As a result, nearly 100% of the conventional pollutants like NO(x), SO(2), SO(3) and mercury can be captured, eliminating pollution from the smokestack. Virtually all of the carbon dioxide can be captured as well. The CO(2) could then be pumped underground, or sequestered. Since CO(2) is a so-called greenhouse gas and the major contributor to climate change, this approach offers a cost-effective way to reduce global warming.
Power companies around the world are facing new or expected regulations that would put limits on the emissions of both conventional pollutants and CO(2). As a result, many utilities in the United States are shutting down old, dirty coal plants. Indeed, new EPA air emissions standards will likely result in the decommissioning of about 70 gigawatts of conventional coal-fired power capacity over the next 2-8 years, representing $40 billion in annual power contracts. But retrofitting those plants with pressurized oxy-combustion technology could allow those plants and others to be transformed into clean, efficient electricity generators, taking advantage of existing coal supplies and other infrastructure. The technology would also allow the creation of new clean coal plants that are able to use the world’s abundant supplies of cheap coal.
Mr. Bullock continued, “In the longer-term, we see a huge global market for pressurized oxy-combustion in rapidly developing nations such as China where coal is cheap and abundant, and where the government aggressively supports the development of clean power technologies. In the near term we expect to have many promising updates on the progress of Unity Power Alliance. As this new enterprise achieves key milestones, we look forward to communicating these accomplishments with our shareholders.”