WPL to add calcium bromide to coal at Columbia power plant

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources sent a May 14 letter to Wisconsin Power and Light saying no new air construction permit is needed to add calcium bromide to the coal at a unit of the Columbia power plant to help control mercury emissions.

In November 2011, the DNR issued an air construction permit to the company to construct and initially operate a spray dryer absorber and a baghouse for each of Boiler B21 (Unit 1) and Boiler B22 (Unit 2), and two lime silos, and to expand the existing activated carbon injection (ACI) system installed in 2008 on Unit 2 to serve both Units 1 and 2. The ACI system controls mercury emissions. Each of the Columbia coal units has a capacity of about 500 MW.

On Feb. 27 of this year, the company requested the department to allow the addition of calcium bromide to the coal prior to being fed to the Unit 1 boiler, similar to what is being down now at Unit 2. During combustion, calcium bromide will react and enhance the effectiveness of mercury removal.

The May 14 letter said the DNR has decided that that calcium bromide addition to the coal is considered part of the original project approved in 2011 and thus doesn’t need its own air construction permit.

WPL is a unit of Alliant Energy (NYSE: LNT), and it co-owns the Columbia plant with Madison Gas and Electric and Wisconsin Public Service.

Said the Alliant website about emissions controls at Columbia: “Construction continues to move along at the Columbia Energy Center, near Portage, Wisconsin, where [WPL] is installing baghouse/carbon injection and scrubber systems on Units 1 and 2. The baghouse/carbon injection and scrubber system will reduce mercury (Hg) emissions for compliance with Wisconsin’s mercury rule and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions to comply with state and federal SO2 reductions. They will also provide the additional benefits of capturing fine particulate matter and reducing sulfuric acid mist. Construction on this approximately $630 million project began in early spring of 2012. WPL continues to anticipate commercial operation of the controls in 2014.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.