National mercury research center set to open
Wednesday, November 30, 2005, The nation’s first real-world “test bed” to discover new ways to reduce mercury emissions will go online in December at Gulf Power’s Plant Crist. Dedication ceremonies will be at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 5.
The Gulf Power Mercury Research Center, the only facility of its kind in the world, will be the site of unique testing capabilities not only for Gulf Power and other Southern Company affiliates, but also for other companies, environmental research organizations and government scientists.
“Gulf Power and Southern Company are proven leaders in research,” said Jim Vick, Gulf Power’s manager of Environmental Affairs.
“This unique facility is just the latest in a long history of proactively seeking science-based solutions to providing environmentally responsible energy.”
Although power plants emit only 1 percent of global mercury emissions, the Mercury Research Center is especially timely as electric utilities search for technologies to reliably reduce mercury emissions to meet expected new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
Mercury emissions from power plants amount to the equivalent of about five grains of sugar for every ton of coal used. Because of these tiny amounts, there are no known technologies to accomplish the difficult task of finding and capturing the mercury in power plant emissions.
“We are establishing something here that does not exist anywhere else in the world and we believe we will make great strides in discovering how mercury can be controlled,” Vick explained. “The Mercury Research Center will be available to other utilities and other industries so that knowledge about mercury and the results of testing can be used around the globe.”
The first phase of testing at the center will evaluate five different advanced control technologies using a portion of the plant’s emissions for the research.
Technologies scheduled for initial testing are estimated to cost $5 million and will include a selective catalytic reduction unit, a rotary air pre-heater, a baghouse, an elector-static precipitator and a wet limestone scrubber.
As the research continues other methods may be discovered and added to further research.
Southern Research Institute will operate the Mercury Research Center. The facility at Plant Crist expands Southern Company’s ongoing mercury control research.
MEDIA NOTE: Please join us on Monday, Dec. 5, at 1 p.m. at Plant Crist for briefings on mercury and control technologies by nationally recognized experts who also will be available for interviews. At 2:30 p.m., the Mercury Research Center will be dedicated. Still photos, diagrams, B-roll video and summaries of technologies are available.
Please call John Hutchinson (850-444-6750) or Lynn Erickson (850-444-6249) to attend the briefings or dedication, or to request background materials.
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