Coal convert to natural gas plant projects in utility industry

There is a growing trend in the utility industry to convert existing coal-fired power plants to burn other fuel types, such as biomass and natural gas, though whether such conversions are environmentally beneficial remains controversial. This trend is driven by a number of factors, including state-level renewable portfolio standards; federal incentives and looming environmental regulations; consumer demand and environmental awareness; and an economic climate that is making coal less attractive. Although conversion costs can be expensive, utilities already have the facilities sited and water supply and transmission lines established. Converting existing facilities can often cost less than installing the emissions control systems required to keep an antiquated coal plant running.S9HHorizontal boiler

coal fired power plant boilerS9HHorizontal boiler

Coal plant  for power stationS9HHorizontal boiler

Natural gas conversions on power plant boilers

Although some coal-fired power plants are reported to have been converted from coal boiler to natural gas boiler in power station, a 2010 study by the Aspen Environmental Group for the American Public Power Association reports that such "conversions," when examined, are replacements rather than retrofits:S9HHorizontal boiler
The electricity industry can theoretically switch to natural gas either by retrofitting existing coal-fired units to burn natural gas or by closing the coal plants and building new gas-fired plants. Aspen’s research uncovers no instances of coal plant retrofits to natural gas and, in fact, virtually all of the public references to conversion of coal to natural gas or re-powering turn out instead to be replacements. The reason is economics. Even the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), when it looked at this issue switching the Capitol Building power plant to natural gas, noted that not only was switching all U.S. coal-fired generation in-feasible due the gas supply and infrastructure required, but that it would be more cost-effective to construct new gas-fired units than to retrofit existing coal-fired units to burn natural gas. Combined-cycle gas-fired generation costs roughly $1 million per MW, installed.S9HHorizontal boiler
The environmental impacts of natural gas are better understood than those of biomass. Natural gas combustion produces almost 45 percent fewer carbon dioxide emissions than coal, emits lower levels of nitrogen oxides and particulates, and produces virtually no sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions. The lower levels of these emissions mean that the use of natural gas does not contribute significantly to smog or acid rain formation. In addition, because natural gas boilers do not need the scrubbers required by coal-fired power plants to reduce SO2 emissions, natural gas plants create much less toxic sludge. S9HHorizontal boiler

natural gas plant for power station.jpgS9HHorizontal boiler

Natural gas plant for power stationS9HHorizontal boiler

However, natural gas is still a fossil fuel. Although its carbon content is lower than that of coal, it nonetheless releases harmful CO2 into the atmosphere when burned. Its extraction from shale, the most significant new source of natural gas, can have harmful impacts on water, land use, and wildlife, if the process is not managed properly. As with bio-fuels, many environmentalist do not see natural gas as a long term solution for the nation's fuel needs. In July 2009, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. published a column acknowledging the "environmental caveats" that come with converting coal plants to natural gas. He and other environmental advocates, however, do support natural gas as a short-term solution to reduce the environmental burden of coal until renewable solar, wind, and geothermal technologies can be implemented to their full potential.S9HHorizontal boiler
Although natural gas combustion produces lower greenhouse gas emissions than coal, leakage of natural gas during production and transport may have significant greenhouse gas effects. Natural gas is composed mainly of methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide when released into the atmosphere. Methane in the atmosphere is eventually oxidized, producing carbon dioxide and water. In the atmosphere methane has a half life of seven years (if no methane was added, then every seven years, the amount of methane would halve). The radiative forcing of methane is 72 times that of carbon dioxide (averaged over 20 years) or 25 times that of carbon dioxide (averaged over 100 years). Carbon dioxide receives the lion's share of attention over greenhouse gases because it is released in much larger amounts. Still, it is inevitable in using natural gas on a large scale that some of it will leak into the atmosphere. Current USEPA estimates place global leakage of methane at 3 trillion cubic feet annually, or 3.2% of global production. Direct emissions of methane represented 14.3% of all global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in 2004 .S9HHorizontal boiler
It was reported in July 2012 that for the first time ever natural gas power generation in the United States matched the power generated by coal. Coal and natural gas generation by both provided approximately 32% of total monthly generation for the U.S, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration.S9HHorizontal boiler

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