Power Plant Research Program

Annapolis, MD, United States

Power Plant Research Program

Annapolis, MD, United States
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Mountain P.D.,Annapolis flyer cab | Sherwell J.,Power Plant Research Program | Walters G.,Annapolis flyer cab
Air and Waste Management Association - Power Plant Air Pollutant Control "MEGA" Symposium 2012 | Year: 2012

In response to Maryland's 2006 Healthy Air Act (HAA) legislation, Constellation Energy modified its Brandon Shores power plant to incorporate flue gas desulfurization (FGD). The HAA requires substantial reductions in emissions of NOx, SO2, and mercury from coal-fired generating units in Maryland. The Power Plant Research Program (PPRP) within Maryland Department of Natural Resources is charged with coordinating the State's environmental review of proposed new power plants or plant modifications. Wet FGD systems require large quantities of water to operate. Over the past 20 years, PPRP has evaluated the use of treated wastewater to provide water for several proposed power plant projects. For Brandon Shores, PPRP worked with Constellation and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to develop license conditions to allow for safe use of this water in the FGD system. This paper will discuss the technical requirements and some of the operating experience of treated wastewater reuse in Maryland.


Castro M.S.,University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science | Moore C.,Desert Research Institute | Sherwell J.,Power Plant Research Program | Brooks S.B.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2012

The purpose of this study was to directly measure the dry deposition of gaseous oxidized mercury (GOM) in western Maryland. Annual estimates were made using passive ion-exchange surrogate surfaces and a resistance model. Surrogate surfaces were deployed for seventeen weekly sampling periods between September 2009 and October 2010. Dry deposition rates from surrogate surfaces ranged from 80 to 1512pgm -2h -1. GOM dry deposition rates were strongly correlated (r 2=0.75) with the weekly average atmospheric GOM concentrations, which ranged from 2.3 to 34.1pgm -3. Dry deposition of GOM could be predicted from the ambient air concentrations of GOM using this equation: GOM dry deposition (pgm -2h -1)=43.2×GOM concentration-80.3. Dry deposition velocities computed using GOM concentrations and surrogate surface GOM dry deposition rates, ranged from 0.2 to 1.7cms -1. Modeled dry deposition rates were highly correlated (r 2=0.80) with surrogate surface dry deposition rates. Using the overall weekly average surrogate surface dry deposition rate (369±340pgm -2h -1), we estimated an annual GOM dry deposition rate of 3.2μgm -2year -1. Using the resistance model, we estimated an annual GOM dry deposition rate of 3.5μgm -2year -1. Our annual GOM dry deposition rates were similar to the dry deposition (3.3μgm -2h -1) of gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) at our site. In addition, annual GOM dry deposition was approximately 1/2 of the average annual wet deposition of total mercury (7.7±1.9μgm -2year -1) at our site. Total annual mercury deposition from dry deposition of GOM and GEM and wet deposition was approximately 14.4μgm -2year -1, which was similar to the average annual litterfall deposition (15±2.1μgm -2year -1) of mercury, which was also measured at our site. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Sjollema A.L.,Stantec Inc. | Gates J.E.,University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science | Hilderbrand R.H.,University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science | Sherwell J.,Power Plant Research Program
Northeastern Naturalist | Year: 2014

Bat mortality caused by terrestrial wind-power plants has been documented and offshore wind-power developments may have similar effects. Determining which bat species occur offshore, how far they range from shore, and predictors of high activity may be helpful to developers and wildlife managers. We studied bat activity off the mid-Atlantic coast, using ultrasonic detectors mounted on ships in spring and fall 2009 and 2010. We investigated the association between nightly bat activity and weather variables, including wind speed, air temperature, and barometric pressure. Echolocation passes of bats totaled 166; maximum detection distance from shore was 21.9 km, and mean distance was 8.4 km. Most passes were identified as Lasiurnis borealis (Eastern Red Bats), representing 78% of bats identified to species or species group. Bat activity decreased as wind speed increased, but activity did not differ with distance from shore. Offshore wind projects proposed for locations beyond the maximum detection distances noted in our study would likely have few impacts on seasonal movements; however, depending on their location and operating protocols, projects closer to shore could result in fatalities similar to those reported at onshore wind facilities. © AlphaMed Press 2014.


Redling K.,University of Pittsburgh | Elliott E.,University of Pittsburgh | Bain D.,University of Pittsburgh | Sherwell J.,Power Plant Research Program
Biogeochemistry | Year: 2013

While epidemiologists have long acknowledged that automobile emissions create corridors of increased NOx concentrations near highways, the influence of these emissions on dry nitrogen (N) deposition and effects on surrounding ecosystems are not well-characterized. This study used stable isotopes in plant tissue and dry N deposition to examine the extent of N deposition from automobile emissions along a roadside transect spanning 400 m perpendicular to a moderately trafficked highway (33,000 vehicles per day). Passive samplers were deployed monthly for four months at six stations to collect dry deposition of nitric acid (HNO3) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), analyzed for concentration and natural abundance isotopic composition (δ15N). Agrostis perennans (bentgrass) and Panicum virgatum (switchgrass) were deployed as biomonitors to examine relative sources of N to plant tissue. Both NO2 flux and δ15N-NO2 values were significantly higher close to the road indicating a high proportion of automobile-sourced N is deposited near-road. Further, this near-road deposition occurred primarily as NO2 prior to oxidation to HNO3, as HNO3 fluxes were an order of magnitude lower than NO2 fluxes and were highest midway through the transect. Plant tissue δ15N values were higher near the road, signifying the influence of automobile emissions on plant tissue composition. Importantly, N flux near the road was four times higher than background N flux measured at the nearest regional dry deposition monitoring locations. We extrapolated these results to demonstrate that the observed spatial patterns of concentrated N deposition impact our understanding of regional N deposition to watersheds when applied to a metropolitan area. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


DiPrinzio M.,Environmental Resources Management Inc. | Sherwell J.,Power Plant Research Program
Air and Waste Management Association - Power Plant Air Pollutant Control "MEGA" Symposium 2012 | Year: 2012

Under the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) latest regulatory action related to climate change, certain new and modified sources will be subject to stringent regulations focused on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). The regulation requires each source to conduct an evaluation to determine the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for GHGs. Currently, very few permits have been issued that address BACT for GHGs. PPRP and ERM present a technical evaluation focused on the potential results of a conceptual top-down BACT analysis conducted to identify possible control options for combustion turbines and coal-fired boilers, including efficiency related techniques as well as post combustion control equipment. While BACT determinations are unit-specific, this evaluation provides a generic analysis for large, utility-scale, electric generating units. A goal of the presentation is to provide a further understanding of the technologies available for review when a new or modified power plant conducts a GHG BACT assessment.


Faustini C.J.,Environmental Resources Management Inc. | Keating R.L.,Environmental Resources Management Inc. | Gray S.T.,Power Plant Research Program
Air and Waste Management Association - Power Plant Air Pollutant Control "MEGA" Symposium 2012 | Year: 2012

In response to Maryland's 2006 Healthy Air Act (HAA) legislation, Mirant Mid-Atlantic (now GenOn Energy) modified its Morgantown Generating Station to incorporate flue gas desulfurization (FGD). The HAA, a multi-pollutant air pollution control program, requires substantial reductions in emissions of NOx, SO2, and mercury from coal-fired generating units at power plants in Maryland. The Power Plant Research Program (PPRP) within Maryland DNR is charged with coordinating the State's environmental review of proposed new power plants or plant modifications. Wet FGD systems require large quantities of water to operate. PPRP conducted a thorough alternatives analysis of potential water sources (including ground water, surface water from the tidal portion of the Potomac River, which would require desalination technology, and reclaimed wastewater) to meet the project needs in a way that conserves water resources in accordance with State policy. This paper will describe PPRP's alternatives analysis and Mirant's selected approach.


Stern A.H.,Chester Engineers | Khosah R.P.,Chester Engineers | Sherwell J.,Power Plant Research Program | Sawyer R.,Environmental Resources Management Inc.
Air and Waste Management Association - Climate Change Conference 2013: Impacts, Policy and Regulation | Year: 2014

The potential volume of fugitive losses of methane and CO2-equivalent emissions, based on a 100,000 ton/month coal quantity basis, ranged from 1 to 227 ft3/ton. This equates to 14 to 5,675 tons/year of fugitive methane emissions. Assuming a global warming potential of 25, the fugitive emissions of methane expressed as a C02.equivalent within the limits of the plant property ranged from 331 to 141,863 tons/year. Currently, there is no applicable regulatory requirement for reporting pre-combustion fugitive methane emissions at power plants. Airborne reporting requirements for fugitive losses are essentially confined to those involving particulate material losses. Stack reporting (post-combustion) guidelines require estimates for methane (in the exhaust discharges) and typically utilize a post-combustion emission factor which when applied to a "typical" Maryland power plant (e.g., 0.24 ft2/ton and 100,000 ton/month quantity basis), equates to 6 tons/year of methane (or 150 tons/year as a CO2-equivalent). The findings of this report indicate that six of the 15 scenarios tested resulted in the potential of generating high (above 25,000 tons/year- CO2-equivalent) fugitive methane losses within the fenceline of the facility; nine of the 15 scenarios tested resulted in the potential for generating low (below 25,000 tons/year CCVequivalent) methane emissions. Should restrictive regulatory requirements ultimately be imposed it would be distinctly advantageous for a power plant to be able to empirically demonstrate that its contributory impact is below any action threshold. Furthermore, should any potential emissions factors prescribed by EPA prove to be conservative, providing substantive evidence that the actual emissions are lower than as estimated by EPA methods would be beneficial during any comment period of new regulations.


Castro M.S.,University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science | Sherwell J.,Power Plant Research Program
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2015

Coal-fired power plants in the United States are required to reduce their emissions of mercury (Hg) into the atmosphere to lower the exposure of Hg to humans. The effectiveness of power-plant emission controls on the atmospheric concentrations of Hg in the United States is largely unknown because there are few long-term high-quality atmospheric Hg data sets. Here, we present the atmospheric concentrations of Hg and sulfur dioxide (SO2) measured from 2006 to 2015 at a relatively pristine location in western Maryland that is several (>50 km) kilometers downwind of power plants in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Annual average atmospheric concentrations of gaseous oxidized mercury (GOM), SO2, fine particulate mercury (PBM2.5), and gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) declined by 75%, 75%, 43%, and 13%, respectively, and were strongly correlated with power-plant Hg emissions from the upwind states. These results provide compelling evidence that reductions in Hg emissions from power plants in the United States had their intended impact to reduce regional Hg pollution. © 2015 American Chemical Society.


Sherwell J.,Power Plant Research Program
Proceedings of the Air and Waste Management Association's Annual Conference and Exhibition, AWMA | Year: 2014

Studies by the DOE have shown that the US offshore wind resource is very large with a potential of 900,000 Mw and that its utilization could contribute significantly to electricity supply while reducing reliance on fossil fuels. As with all emerging technologies, offshore wind power will need policy consistency at the federal level. There is a lot of technical and permitting support offered by the federal government but financial incentives seem to be lacking, especially in the light of current climate change mitigation proposals. The current business climate has not been conducive to development in the offshore realm but policies at both the state and federal level are being crafted to enable projects, but challenges remain. Offshore windpower enablement and the challenging issues to the offshore wind power industry are discussed. This is an abstract of a paper presented at the AWMA's 107th Annual Conference & Exhibition (Long Beach, CA 6/24-27/2014).


PubMed | University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Power Plant Research Program
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Environmental science & technology | Year: 2015

Coal-fired power plants in the United States are required to reduce their emissions of mercury (Hg) into the atmosphere to lower the exposure of Hg to humans. The effectiveness of power-plant emission controls on the atmospheric concentrations of Hg in the United States is largely unknown because there are few long-term high-quality atmospheric Hg data sets. Here, we present the atmospheric concentrations of Hg and sulfur dioxide (SO2) measured from 2006 to 2015 at a relatively pristine location in western Maryland that is several (>50 km) kilometers downwind of power plants in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Annual average atmospheric concentrations of gaseous oxidized mercury (GOM), SO2, fine particulate mercury (PBM2.5), and gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) declined by 75%, 75%, 43%, and 13%, respectively, and were strongly correlated with power-plant Hg emissions from the upwind states. These results provide compelling evidence that reductions in Hg emissions from power plants in the United States had their intended impact to reduce regional Hg pollution.

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