August 30, 2010
American Electric Power is seeking quotes for biodiesel to be supplied to one or more of it's coal fired power plants. According to Biodiesel Magazine, this is being done to comply with Ohio law that requires 25 percent of electricity sold within the state to be generated from alternative energy, but I thought it was interesting how biodiesel was helping to displace petroleum in coal fired power generation.
The biodiesel-blended fuel oil would replace petroleum fuel oil used for flame start-up and flame stabilization. Pulverized coal plants have large boilers, which AEP spokeswoman Melissa McHenry said are essentially large boxes with flame in them that are lined with tubes containing water. The water is flashed to steam, which then fuels the generator. “If a plant shuts down and you need to restart it, you have to start that process flame with fuel oil,” McHenry said. “Then you blow in pulverized coal to keep the flame burning. They also sometimes use fuel oil in the process to maintain the flame to ensure that you are getting the most efficient flame, so you are getting the most efficient transfer of water into steam.”
AEP is interested in using three different blends of biodiesel at is facilities. According to McHenry, B99.9 can be used from April 15 to Oct. 14. A blend of B50 can be used in the facilities from Oct. 15 through Dec. 14, while a B30 blend can be used from Dec. 15 to April 14. AEP is seeking bids for three Ohio-based coal fired power plants; the Conessville, Ohio-based Conesville plant, the Beverly, Ohio-based Muskingum River plant, and the Lockbourne, Ohio-based Picway plant. For the Conesville plant, McHenry said AEP is looking to potentially replace 1.4 million gallons of fuel oil. Approximately 1 million gallons could be replaced at the Muskingum plant, with an additional 50,000 gallons being replaced at the Picway plant.