Power Plant Scrubber Project Planned at Yates

24 11 2008

By Sarah Fay Campbell | The Times-Herald

When it comes to sulfur dioxide pollution, Plant Yates and Plant Wansley are two of the worst.

Both ranked among the top 50 SO2 emitting power plants in the country. Sulfur dioxide is the major pollutant from the burning of coal. It can cause respiratory problems, and can combine with other compounds in the air to make fine particle pollution, as well as acid rain.

The 2007 report by the Environmental Integrity Project listed Plant Yates as number 37 in the country for sulfur dioxide emissions per megawatt, and 42 for total tons of SO2 in 2005. Wansley didn’t make the list for the highest rate of SO2 emissions, but was number 17 in the country for total tons of SO2 in 2005.  The two coal-fired powered plants are only about 10 miles apart, as the crow flies. Considered together, the yearly SO2 emissions from the two plants would rank as number three in the country.

But those emissions are going down tremendously as Georgia Power works to comply with the Georgia Multipollutant Rule and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Interstate Rule.

Plant Wansley’s emissions were nearly cut in half when a desulfurization “scrubber” went online last month. A second scrubber will go online in the summer.

Plant Yates will be getting a few scrubbers, as well. But not for a few more years. The timeline for the installation of scrubbers on units six and seven at Yates is 2010 to 2014. Scrubber construction is a pretty slow process. Work on Wansley’s began in January of 2006.

Yates’ unit one already has a scrubber. In fact, the scrubber on unit one was installed in the 1990s as a prototype experiment. The other four units aren’t scheduled to receive the scrubbers.

Yates will also be getting selective catalytic reduction devices on the two units. SCRs reduce the emissions of nitrogen oxides. Nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide together create smog.

The upgrades to Plant Yates should reduce SO2 emissions of those two units from 45,000 tons per year to approximately 2,200 tons per year, said Georgia Power spokesman Jeffrey Wilson. The selective catalytic reduction units should reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from 5,800 tons per year to approximately 1,280 tons.

Together, the scrubbers and SCR units also reduce mercury emissions.

Wansley already has the SCR units.

Read on here.

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