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  • Monday, March 23, 2015
  • Coal and Biomass Co-firing at Aurora Power

Co-firing biomass with coal is being researched as a way to reduce pollutants discharged to the atmosphere without requiring significant overhaul of an existing coal-fired power plant. Additional benefits include creating a market for Alaskan scrap wood that would otherwise be disposed of, and reducing carbon footprint.

ACEP's Daisy Huang has teamed with Dave Nicholls of the USDA Forest Service in Sitka to test fire small amounts of biomass at the Aurora Energy coal-fired power plant in Fairbanks last week. Five to fifteen percent aspen wood chips were added to a single burner's combustion stream. Among the parameters monitored were efficiency, firing rates, excess oxygen, NOx emissions, CO emissions, and smokestack opacity.

Also participating in the project are mechanical engineering masters student Zack Wright, Steve Ferree, Marc Brazeau and Dave Fish at Aurora Power, and Chad Schumacher of Superior Pellet Fuels, who supplied the biomass for the effort. ACEP would like to thank Aurora Energy for being especially accommodating during this study.

Daisy Huang, Zack Wright, and Dave Nicholls speak with Steve Ferree at Aurora Energy. Photo credit A. Byrd, ACEP/UAF.