Leading lignite innovation

Minnkota using new clean coal technology at Young Station

Cuts in emission levels. Big gains in power plant efficiency. The newest ingredient at the Milton R. Young Station is turning North Dakota lignite coal into a cleaner, more dynamic fuel source.

Minnkota Power Cooperative, our wholesale power provider, is seeing results through the use of CyClean, a combustion additive technology that reduces mercury and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions and improves operations in the plant’s cyclone boilers.

Minnkota’s Young Station, located near Center, N.D., is the first lignite-based, cyclone boiler power plant in the country to use CyClean technology.

“We are pleased that we have found a cost-effective technology that can help us meet current and future regulatory requirements and further reduce our power plant emissions,” said Mac McLennan, Minnkota president & CEO.

Following a successful testing period, the Young Station began using CyClean technology in its boilers in 2011. Minnkota is working on the project with Clean Coal Solutions (CCS), a Colorado-based power plant technology and research firm.

The greatest feature of CyClean is its ability to reduce the Young Station’s emission levels and provide cost-effective options to meeting future regulatory requirements. The technology has demonstrated the ability to reduce mercury emissions by 40 percent and NOX by an additional 20 percent from previous levels.

The CyClean system requires no large machinery or major modifications to the plant. A small building was constructed near the coal supply belt as it enters either of the plant’s two generating units. CyClean is applied — in both a granular and liquid form — directly onto the coal as it enters the facility on a conveyor belt.

Low initial installation costs and potential operational advantages made CyClean an appealing technology in comparison to other types of emission control equipment. Early results show that CyClean has the potential added benefit of reducing several of the plant’s operating costs.

Minnkota and CCS joined North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple and U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., at the Young Station on Oct. 15 to unveil the project. Dalrymple said he was impressed during his first trip to the plant and emphasized the importance of the lignite industry in the state.

“Minnkota’s clean coal project supports our commitment to further reduce emissions even though North Dakota is already among the states with the nation’s cleanest air,” Dalrymple said.
Sen. Hoeven cited the project as another excellent example of the state’s utilities being proactive in testing and implementing new technology.

“North Dakota is a powerhouse for the country. And we’re not just driving energy development in this country, we’re driving the technology development,”Hoeven said. “Efforts like this clearly underscore the fact that a true all-of-the-above strategy for American energy independence must include lignite coal if we want to make our nation truly secure and economically vibrant.”

The successful implementation of CyClean at the Young Station could pave the way for other coal plants in the state and across the country to adopt the technology.

“We have to find solutions like this to be able to continue to use this great resource effectively, cleanly and more efficiently,” McLennan said.

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