Greener Energy Solutions

In German, “grün” means green, leafy, or verdant. As an energy company, Grünergy Tech seeks to promote and profit from green Technologies by incorporating them in to current power generation models. Grünergy Tech is a holding company based in Frankfurt, Germany. All of its operations are performed by wholly owned subsidiaries Grünergy Technologies USA, Inc., and Grünergy Technologies Canada, Inc.

Grünergy Tech’s main focus is on the capture of mercury emissions in electricity producing plants. They claim to be able to far exceed the efficiency of PAC and BAC capture systems by introducing their technologies into current systems, and to be able to do so with great cost savings to the producer. This is accomplished by the use of an integrated SEATM system combined with secret sorbent technologies.

The new approach seems to work consistently well for coal-burning plants. The current methods of mercury removal are always out-paced in every plant in which the Grünergy technologies have been installed. This is true no matter what type of coal the plant is burning, or even what type of air pollution control equipment is currently used by a given plant. The reduction rate claimed by Grünergy (and presumably backed up by test results) is a staggering %95 in many cases.

Grünergy calls this a Total Mercury Control system. It is made up of a suite of components with current and pending worldwide patents. Their stated goal is to enable electrical utilities to meet both current and forthcoming environmental regulations regarding mercury emissions.

The technology was developed initially by the University of North Dakota EERC (Energy and Environmental Research Center). The EERC has tasked itself over the last decade and more to reduce mercury emissions in utility plants. They have cooperated with the federal government, engineering companies, public utilities and commercial interests in exploring the complexities of mercury control in these facilities.

Activated carbon has been the old stand-by scrubbing material for everything from chemical warfare equipment to industrial waste neutralization for decades. The EERC’s early tests established that activated carbon was somewhat effective, but that its usefulness in meeting environmental regulations both current and future is limited. Clearly, some thinking needed to be done outside the normal paradigm to open the way to acceptable mercury control technologies. Through continued R&D, the EERC came up with an additive for enhancing sorbents, currently coined Sorbent Enhancement Additive or SEATM, which in combination with some further specially formulated sorbents greatly increases the amount of mercury scrubbed form plant emissions.

The EERC subsequently licensed the technology for commercialization to Grünergy exclusively on a worldwide basis. This led to field testing on a large scale throughout North America, in cooperation with the EERC and the United States Department of Energy. The results were uniformly superior to current systems, achieving the highest removal rates of mercury, and doing so at much lower cost than existing technologies in coal-burning power plants.

One of the difficulties associated with replacing coal boilers to meet demanding regulations from state governments, however, is the high cost. Simply replacing existing coal boilers with new ones is expensive, meaning that companies have an incentive to find other ways to decrease mercury emissions. In addition, with the average age of boiler systems in the United States around forty years, many have plenty years of useful life ahead, thus increasing the incentive for utilities to implement the most cost-effective technology to control and capture mercury emissions.

Which Technologies Work Best

A number of technologies have been developed and tested for controlling mercury emissions. For example, the EPA has recommended using an activated carbon injection process that has been used to burn municipal solid waste for the past ten years. Another recommendation the EPA has suggested is for utilities to replace the actual type of coal that it burns.

The Grunergy Technology Difference

One technology that has been industry-identified as perhaps the most consistent, mature and cost-effective solutions for controlling mercury emissions is a sorbent-based technology. Injecting a sorbent into flue gas is not only an established solution, but also represents an option that is most appealing to utility companies in many cases as it is simple and requires less capital expenditure.

Grunergy Technology, located in Grand Forks, North Dakota, operates one of the largest operations as well as research and development efforts in the United States. This company provides the best available mercury-control technology for utilities–such as the sorbent-based technology method. They also continually work on new ways to improve the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of systems for mercury emissions control.

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