Potential Source of Limestone for Desulfurization Scrubbers Will Be Studied

Abbot Power Plant in Champaign, IllinoisThe Illinois Clean Coal Institute has accepted the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) proposal entitled "Limestone Fines—An Economically Viable Source of Sorbents for Desulfurization? The project will characterize limestone fines in Illinois quarries, especially those located near existing and future coal-fired power plants, for potential use in flue-gas desulfurization scrubbers. To be economically viable, the scrubbers need local, low-cost sources of high-quality limestone. An abundant but largely unused source of limestone for scrubbers may be the by-product fines produced by the stone-crushing equipment at all limestone quarries. Utilization of quarry fines as a scrubbing agent could provide two major cost-savings: (1) because the material has already been crushed down to the appropriate size needed for sulfur scrubbing, no additional energy cost is associated with grinding, and (2) because the fines are considered waste material, they are widely available at quarries at a very low cost. Quarry fines have not been fully characterized to date, and their chemical, mineralogical, and physical properties and their reactivities with respect to sulfur oxide capture are not known. To determine the quality and suitability of these potentially effective and low-cost sources for scrubbing agents, ISGS scientists will analyze the fines from a representative selection of quarries, focusing on those near existing and potential coal-fired power plants. Results from this project will be useful in selecting the best product at an affordable cost for each power plant with specific sorbent needs.