Archive for November, 2010

Sailing on the Delaware

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Dr. Jim Smith of US EPA

I recently had a chance to see the MgO flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems at Exelon’s Eddystone generating station once again – but from a completely different angle!

Exelon’s Eddystone plant

My good friend Dr. Jim Smith of US EPA invited me to go sailing, and so we headed out on a spectacular late October afternoon to take advantage of the weather before he stored his boat for the winter. You might recall Jim from an April 2008 posting, when he lectured about greenhouse gas emissions for my class. Jim and I both worked on SO2 control in the early 1980s, and so it was interesting to pass on the river side of Eddystone. That plant was the very first in the country to use the regenerative magnesium oxide FGD approach (which eliminated scrubber waste and produced an industrial grade sulfuric acid instead), and the company was very kind to allow me to visit every year with my students. At one point Eddystone was the most efficient generating station in the world – but not too long ago the company announced that they will be shutting down those coal-fired units next year. [Note: Now extended to 2012, because of PJM transmission constraints.] Such transformations are inevitable, and a very good thing….. but that doesn’t mean that two long-time environmental engineers couldn’t display just a bit of nostalgia as they leisurely sailed on by!