Over the last two and a half years, Covanta Energy, working with their technology partner, Martin GmbH of Germany, has developed and commercialized a new technology for reducing NOx emissions from Energy from Waste (EfW) facilities. NOx levels below 60 ppm (7% O2) have been reliably achieved, which is a reduction of 70% below the current EPA standard and typical levels of today’s EfW facilities in the United States. This technology represents a significant step forward in NOx control for the EfW industry. The technology, known as VLN™, employs a unique combustion system design, which in addition to the conventional primary and secondary air streams, also features a new internal stream of “VLN™-gas,” which is drawn from the combustor and re-injected into the furnace. The gas flow distribution between the primary and secondary air, as well as the VLN™-gas, is controlled to yield the optimal flue gas composition and furnace temperature profile to minimize NOx formation and optimize combustion. The VLN™ process is combined with conventional, aqueous ammonia SNCR technology to achieve the superior NOx performance. The SNCR control system is also integrated with the VLN™ combustion controls to maximize NOx reduction and minimize ammonia slip. A simplified version of the process, known as LN™, was also developed and demonstrated for retrofit applications. In the LN™ process, air is used instead of the internal VLN™ gas. The total air flow requirement is higher than in the VLN™ process, but unchanged compared to conventional systems, minimizing the impact on the existing boiler performance and making it ideal for retrofit applications. Covanta first demonstrated the new VLN™ and LN™ processes at their Bristol, Connecticut facility. One of Bristol’s 325 TPD units was retrofitted in April of 2006 to enable commercial scale testing of both the VLN™ and LN™ processes. Since installing and starting up the new system, Bristol has operated in both VLN™ and LN™ modes for extended periods, totaling more than one year of operation at NOx levels at or below 60 ppm (7% O2). The system is still in place today and being evaluated for permanent operation. Based on the success of the Bristol program, Covanta installed LN™ NOx control systems in a number of other existing units in 2007 and 2008 (total MSW capacity of over 5000 TPD), and is planning more installations in 2009. All of these retrofits utilize the Covanta LN™ system to minimize any impacts on existing boiler performance by maintaining existing excess air levels. Going forward, Covanta is making the LN™ technology available to its existing client base and is working with interested facilities to complete the necessary engineering and design modifications for retrofit of this innovative technology. For new grassroots facilities, Covanta is offering the VLN™ system with SNCR as its standard design for NOx control. An additional feature, particular to VLN™, is the reduced total combustion air requirement, which results in improved boiler efficiency. This translates into increased energy recovery per ton of waste processed. In addition to introducing the VLN™ and LN™ processes, this paper will provide an overview of the Bristol development and demonstration project. NOx and NH3 slip data from Bristol will be presented, illustrating the extended operating experience that has been established on the system. Other operating advantages of the new technology will also be discussed, along with lessons learned during the start-up and initial operating periods. The VLN™ technology has been demonsrated to decrease NOx emissions to levels well below any yet seen to date with SNCR alone and is comparable to SCR-catalytic systems. The result is a significant improvement in NOx control for much less upfront capital cost and lower overall operating and maintenance costs. VLN™ also also goes hand in hand with higher energy efficiency, whereas SCR systems lower energy efficiency due to an increased pressure drop and the need for flue gas reheat. The commercialization of the VLN™ and LN™ processes represents a significant step forward in the reduction of NOx emissions from EfW facilities.

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