Empire District wrapping up air emissions project at Asbury coal plant

A new air quality control system (AQCS) for the coal-fired Asbury power plant was completed in December, with remaining work related to various follow-up, punchlist items, said an Empire District Electric official in Feb. 23 rate testimony filed at the Arkansas Public Service Commission.

Construction of the scrubber and baghouse began in May 2013. Commissioning of the Asbury AQCS systems began in January 2014, and the Asbury unit came offline for tie-in of the AQCS on Sept. 11, 2014. Asbury returned to service on Nov. 5, and initial scrubber tuning began on Nov. 8. Performance testing was completed on Feb. 5 of this year. The project contractor continues to work on punchlist and warranty items and states that it will meet the contractual schedule. Empire declared the Asbury AQCS in-service on Dec. 15, 2014 upon validation of the test results.

Current project costs are in-line with the final project cost estimates. Actual expenditures as of the end of 2014 plus projected expenditures through the completion of the Asbury AQCS total $112,160,784. The Asbury AQCS final project cost estimates were projected to come in between $112 and 130 million.

Shaen T. Rooney, employed by Empire as the Manager of Strategic Projects, supplied the Feb. 23 testimony on the Asbury AQCS.

Asbury is a 195-MW coal-fired facility in northern Jasper County, Missouri, near the Missouri–Kansas state line. It commenced commercial operations in 1970. The Babcock & Wilcox cyclone boiler was designed to be fueled by bituminous coal from a Pittsburg & Midway mine, which was adjacent to the plant. In the early 1990s, clean-air needs required Empire to reduce SO2 emissions and led to a fuel switch from the local bituminous coal to lower sulfur sub-bituminous coal from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. Superheated steam from the boiler drives a Westinghouse turbine generator set to generate electrical energy.

In 2008, in anticipation of nitrogen oxides emissions reductions to be required by the Clean Air Interstate Rule, Empire installed a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system at Asbury.

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.