The Florida Department of Environmental Protection on Feb. 12 issued a final air construction permit that authorizes the construction and compliance testing of a new 60,000 ton per day gypsum pelletizing operation at the coal-fired Big Bend Generating Station of Tampa Electric.
Gypsum is a by-product created during the Flue-Gas Desulfurization process used to “scrub” SOX from coal emissions. Big Bend Station, which has FGD on all units, currently markets its gypsum for the production of wall board as well as agricultural applications. At this time, a much larger percentage of the gypsum sold goes towards wall board production than agriculture.
By pelletizing gypsum, Big Bend will see an increased marketability for the synthesized gypsum as fertilizer for agricultural applications, as well as multiple other new possibilities. The pelletizing process will be able to utilize all grades of onsite gypsum production to create a high quality, transportable product. The project will consist of a new building which will house a gypsum dumping area, a gypsum and clay binder mixing area, a pelletizer production line (pellet dryer, cooler and bagging operations), and storage areas for both bagged and bulk pellets. The project will include several baghouses for collecting gypsum dust from the various activities related to the pelletizing process primarily for recovering sellable product, but also for reducing potential emissions of particulate matter as a secondary benefit.
The permittee is authorized under the Feb. 12 permit to process 68,600 tons per year of wet gypsum and clay binder material in order to produce 47,800 tons per year of dried gypsum pellets.
Big Bend Units 1 through 3 each have a design capacity of 445 MW. Unit 4 has a design capacity of 486 MW. The fuel fired in all four units consists of coal, or a coal/petroleum coke blend containing a maximum of 20% petroleum coke by weight, or coal blended with coal residual generated from the Polk Power Station, or a coal/petroleum coke blend further blended with coal residual generated from the Polk Power Station, and on-site generated fly ash.