Mississippi Power and Gulf Power of Florida are partnering to fund the Plant Victor Daniel Scrubber Project, a $660 million environmental effort that is required to comply with impending federal regulations.
The scrubber removes approximately 95 percent of sulfur dioxides and other substances from power plant emissions.
The scrubber basically serves as a giant washing machine that processes these emissions through a water and limestone shower. A byproduct of this process is gypsum. Gypsum is a reusable product that can be used in wallboard, cement and as a soil amendment.
The project is expected to increase temporary employment at the plant by approximately 600 workers during peak construction and be completed by April 2016.
Looming federal regulations require further restrictions on power plant emissions. These laws, primarily driven by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are designed to address visibility and hazardous air substances. Mississippi Power presently meets or exceeds all emissions requirements. New laws, however, stand to make existing regulations more stringent.
Burning coal to make electricity produces sulfur dioxide, an emission component being targeted by new federal and state regulations. In this scrubber system, a simple chemical reaction removes most of the sulfur dioxide (SO2) and reduces other emissions from the power generation process.
Flue gas is piped through a swirling limestone bath. The sulfur dioxide reacts with the limestone and is neutralized, forming gypsum - a calcium sulfate product. Gypsum is then piped to a dewatering facility.
Gypsum, or calcium sulfate, is a naturally occurring product that is commonly used in making wallboard. Once completed, the scrubber project will generate "agricultural gypsum" that can be sold for other uses (farming, gypsum board construction, concrete mix, etc.) as these markets allow. Affiliated operating companies in Georgia and Alabama consistently sell gypsum for these purposes. Any material not sold will be stored on Mississippi Power property in accordance with EPA guidelines.
The additional water needed for this process is well within the limits of the existing surface water withdrawal permit. There will be no measurable impact to the river as a result of the withdrawal.
Non-hazardous waste water will be deep well injected into a natural underground enclosure about 2 miles below the surface of the plant site. Ground water sources will be isolated from this natural storage area by several layers of impermeable cap rock.