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Lakeland Electric saves US$12 million with GE’s coal treatment technology

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World Coal,

A typical coal-fired power plant will spend approximately 70% of its operating budget on fuel. With coal prices rising in recent years, in order to stay competitive, Lakeland Electric began looking to fuel its power plant with different types of less expensive, lower-grade opportunity coal. However, such lower-grade coal also is more difficult to burn, and using it may cause plants to experience an increase in ash slag deposits on the boiler walls, super heater and reheater tubes. These deposits reduce efficiency and increase operating costs due to tube failures, decreased heat transfer and increased maintenance costs.

To overcome this deposit problem, increase efficiency and reduce costs at its McIntosh station, Lakeland Electric, the third largest public power utility in Florida, US, enlisted GE’s FuelSolv fuel treatment programme for deposit control. The chemical additives reduce slagging, which in turn allows the plant to operate at maximum loads while minimising the need to shut down for cleaning. Deposits that do form in the combustion zone are generally much easier to remove, reducing the downtime required for mechanical cleaning.

GE’s FuelSolv coal treatment technology has helped the power utility save US$12 million and improve the efficiency of its McIntosh power generating plant unit #3 in the fiscal year 2015.

FuelSolv is a portfolio of specialty chemical additives that minimise combustion challenges and enables utilities, such as Lakeland’s plant, to burn lower-grade, lower-cost coal without putting boiler efficiency at risk.

The saving of $12 million is the equivalent to 15 – 20% of the power utility’s annual coal supply costs.

Lakeland also saved an additional US$500 000 in the unit’s operating costs from 2010 to 2014.

“Using GE’s FuelSolv application has allowed our McIntosh station to burn the lower-cost opportunity coal without the problems of slagging or de-rating in our boilers, which ultimately is saving our plant and the city of Lakeland a lot of money in operational costs and coal supply costs,” commented Ken Riddle, Ssupervisor of Chemical Processes for Lakeland Electric. “We have been increasing the percentage of opportunity coal used in our boilers for quite some time and were able to reach the point where 100% of fuel burned in Unit #3 is opportunity coal.”

“With electric utilities in Florida dealing with a range of challenges, Lakeland Electric’s use of GE’s FuelSolv fuel treatment programme is a great showcase for other utilities looking to increase the fuel flexibility, efficiency and competitiveness of their existing coal-fired generating units,” stated Amy Ericson, Chemical and Monitoring solutions global leader — water and process technologies for GE Power.

GE awarded Lakeland Electric’s McIntosh Power Generating Station with a Proof Not Promises award, which recognises customers for significantly improving industrial operational performance, for its successful move to 100% opportunity coal for the period of May 2013 to March 2014. Unit #3 was offline for standard mechanical cleaning from March to October 2014, but the unit has stayed online in 2015 and has continued to burn up to 100% opportunity coal for continued fuel savings and efficient production.

“GE is always paying attention to operator needs, and we recognise those requirements fluctuate due to evolving industry regulations and environmental factors,” explained Ericson. “Lakeland Electric made the right decision to use our FuelSolv additive to enhance the operations of the McIntosh facility and, in turn, benefit the city of Lakeland as savings in fuel costs can be passed on to customers.”

Edited from press release by Harleigh Hobbs

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