Lakeland Electric Projected to Save Significantly on Coal Supply Costs

With GE’s Chemical Treatment Technologies, Lakeland Electric is expected to save 15 to 20 percent on annual coal purchases.

The City of Lakeland, Fla., and its McIntosh Power Plant Unit #3, will save between 15 and 20 percent of coal supply costs per year by using GE’s FuelSolv coal treatment technology. FuelSolv is a portfolio of specialty chemical additives that minimize combustion challenges in the utility’s coal-burning generator. The McIntosh Power Plant is part of the city’s public power utility, Lakeland Electric, which is the third largest public power utility in Florida with a total generation capacity of nearly 1,100 megawatts.

With the price of coal continually on the rise, many power plants are looking to fuel their plants with lower cost and subsequently more difficult to burn coals in order to stay competitive. These changes in fuel and boiler operation may cause plants to experience an increase in ash slag deposits on the boiler walls, superheater and reheater tubes in their boilers, which reduces efficiency and increases operating costs due to tube failures, decreased heat transfer and increased maintenance costs. GE’s FuelSolv is a fuel treatment program for deposit control that increases efficiency and reduces costs.

“As we see prices for bituminous coal increasing and natural gas prices decreasing, lower quality and lower priced ‘harder-to-burn’ coals make sense from a fuel cost perspective, but they present unique operational challenges for a power utility. GE offered a solution that allowed us to purchase less expensive coal, but burn it nearly as efficiently as our historical operations,” said Ken Riddle, supervisor of chemical processes, Lakeland Electric.

Results from a pilot project estimate significant fuel cost savings. Depending on the mix of coals used, projected savings may be between 15 and 20 percent of coal supply costs per year for a 50 percent central Appalachian/50 percent opportunity fuel blend (these estimates are dependent upon current coal rates and whether the selected opportunity coal is northern Appalachian or Illinois basin bituminous coal).

“As the demand for alternative fuel choices continues to increase, GE is committed to innovating solutions like FuelSolv and Zonal combustion monitoring for the power generation industry. This combination of products offers our customers flexibility and their fuel cost savings can ultimately be passed on to their customers,” said John Schumann, global product manager, water and process technologies for GE Power & Water.