Cleaner Air, Cleaner Water
Gulf Power's most significant environmental project, its new "scrubber" system at Plant Crist near Pensacola has begun operation.
The state of the art Flue Gas Desulfurization system is designed to reduce regulated emissions from the coal-fired power plant by up to 95 percent.
Launching the Scrubber
Plant Crist Scrubber FAQ
Information to know about the Plant Crist scrubber project.
What will the scrubber do and how does it work?
Burning coal to produce electricity produces sulfur dioxide, an emission component that, along with mercury, is being targeted by new stringent federal and state regulations. In this wet scrubber system, a simple chemical reaction removes sulfur dioxide (SO2) from emissions, and other emissions are captured in the process.
The scrubber is designed to remove:
- 95% sulfur dioxide emissions
- 70% particulate emissions
- 80% oxidized mercury
- 95% chlorides
How it works:
Flue gas is piped through a swirling limestone bath. The sulfur dioxide reacts with the limestone and is neutralized, forming gypsum - a calcium sulfate compound. Gypsum is then piped to a de-watering facility, where it will be processed into market-quality gypsum, which can be used to make wallboard, added to cement or used for agricultural applications.
Why can I see a water vapor plume from the stack?
Water is injected into the scrubber process, causing steam to be released through the stack. The steam dissipates shortly after leaving the stack. When you see the steam, the scrubber is scrubbing.
Why build a scrubber?
Gulf Power provides reliable electricity that is environmentally responsible. Thus, Gulf Power meets or surpasses federal and state standards and regulations on emissions from our generating facilities. Gulf Power uses low-sulfur coals and has installed environmental controls and other processes reducing total emissions more than 70 percent since 1992. But further reductions of sulfur dioxide emissions are needed to meet new regulations. The scrubber will help Gulf Power meet upcoming regulations such as the Clean Air Interstate Rule and Clean Air Visibility Rule.
Why is Gulf Power using ECUA reclaimed water?
The scrubber system needs a consistent high-quality water supply which led to a partnership between Gulf Power and ECUA to use reclaimed water from ECUA's new wastewater treatment plant.
Plant Crist will receive 17 to 20 million gallons per day of treated wastewater which will be used as process water for the scrubber. Almost 15 million gallons a day of that water will be evaporated through the associated processes.
Then about 2.5 million gallons a day returns to ECUA to be dispersed over spray fields or heads to the new plant for re-treatment.
- Consistent water quality for the scrubber vessel and the cooling towers.
- Potential for less chemical use.
- Reclaimed water available for other plant uses.
- Establishes the ECUA plant as a zero-discharge facility and by enabling the ECUA plant relocation, removes millions of gallons a day of effluent discharged into Pensacola Bay from the Main Street facility.
How much does the scrubber system cost?
The total cost of the scrubber project was more than $600 million. Because federal regulations required environmental controls, the cost can be recovered through a filing with the Florida Public Service Commission.
What is gypsum?
Gypsum, or calcium sulfate, is a naturally occurring chalky compound that is commonly used in making wallboard. It can also be used in making cement or in agriculture. Gypsum is extracted from mines from areas such as Nevada and Canada. It also is formed from the chemical reaction in the scrubber system, in which sulfur dioxide reacts with limestone.