Great River Energy deserves high five
The development of the cutting-edge, coal-drying technology at Coal Creek Station -- Serial No. 1 -- took more than 13 years and $280 million. It represents a huge commitment by Great River Energy aimed at making the burning of lignite coal more ...
The development of the cutting-edge, coal-drying technology at Coal Creek Station -- Serial No. 1 -- took more than 13 years and $280 million. It represents a huge commitment by Great River Energy aimed at making the burning of lignite coal more efficient and cleaner. The resulting DryFining process makes lignite more economically viable in a world determined to reduce carbon emissions. It's good for North Dakota.
Lignite is wet. It's as much as 40 percent water. By drying it, lignite burns 4 percent more efficiently and emissions are reduced by 4 percent.
The numbers might sound small, but given that Great River Energy expects to dry 8 million tons of lignite a year at Coal Creek, the end result represents a substantial effort to increase efficiency and reduce emissions.
The coal-drying operation at Coal Creek uses heat -- 300 degrees -- from the existing process of generating electricity. It takes place in a huge building, nine-stories high, 600 feet long and is "grafted" onto the power plant. The dryers themselves are two stories high. The coal is run through a dryer and then moved into the power plant by a conveyer, where it is burned to make steam that drives the turbines and creates electricity.
Great River Energy will sell the "DryFining" process to other companies. Not only will North Dakota feel the benefits of cleaner burning lignite, but globally the opportunities are there to reduce emissions from use of wet coals to generate electricity. This needs to happen to keep lignite in the game as the world addresses the demand to generate power at the same time it reduces emissions.
The lignite coal industry has been a stalwart in anchoring North Dakota's economic foundation for the past 40 years. Clearly, Serial No. 1 and other improvements by the industry are intent upon maintaining its central role in the state's future by investing in that future.
These are the commitments to the economy and environment that deserve consideration as Congress considers energy policies.
North Dakota appreciates Great River Energy's commitment to the future.