In Morgan County, Ill., at the southern edge of Meredosia on the Illinois River. Coal is delivered to the plant by both truck and barge. Meredosia Plant draws water needed for power generation from the Illinois River.
Meredosia Plant has four generating units - more than any other baseload plant in Ameren Energy Generating Company's fleet of power stations. It is the only plant to feature an oil-fired steam generator. The total plant capacity is 429 megawatts. From that amount, 229 megawatts are from coal-fired Unit 3 and the remaining 200 megawatts are from oil-fueled Unit 4.
Unit 3 went into commercial operation in 1960. Unit 4 is the plant’s oil-fired unit and was placed in service in 1975. The plant has three emissions stacks. The tallest, built in 1979, served Units 1 and 2 and is 526 feet tall. The other two emissions stacks are 301 feet (Unit 3) and 186 feet (Unit 4) tall.
Meredosia Plant generated its first kilowatthour of electricity on June 1, 1948. Plant construction, begun in early 1941, but was halted by the U.S. War Production Board in 1942, when plant construction materials were redirected to support America’s military needs. The turbo-generator and related equipment initially destined for Meredosia Plant were shipped by the War Production Board to a World War II ally of the United States – Russia.
By the time it was fully completed, Meredosia Plant had doubled in size from its original design to accommodate growing, post-war demand for electricity. When Unit 2 was placed in operation on Jan. 1, 1949, the plant had 100 megawatts of generating power. Unit 3 at Meredosia Station was placed in service July 14, 1960. Unit 4, the oil-fired generating unit at the plant, first generated electricity Sept. 10, 1975.
The main fuel has historically been coal, which powered units 1, 2 and 3. Unit 3 is capable of burning a wide variety of coal types. Illinois coal has been used extensively as well as coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming. The plant has the capability to receive coal shipments either by truck or barge. Fuel oil for Unit 4 is delivered to the plant by barge. The plant typically burns 600,000 to 800,000 tons of coal annually.
After delivery to the plant, coal eventually travels through pulverizers which grind it into the consistency of talcum powder; the powdery coal is blown into the boiler furnace. At full capacity, when all units were in service, the plant’s five coal-firing boilers burned more than 160 tons of coal per hour to produce three million pounds of steam per hour.
In greatly simplified terms, electricity is made as the boiler heats water to create steam that flows into a turbine. The turbine turns a shaft. On the end of the shaft is a magnet that revolves inside a coil to create electricity.
More than $36 million has been spent to improve pollution control at Meredosia Plant over the past 18 years. Low-NOx burners have been installed on Unit 3’s boiler to improve nitrous oxide emission levels. To further reduce mercury emissions, an activated carbon injection system was installed to absorb mercury from the flue gas. In 1992, a $50 million precipitator was installed on Boiler 5 to improve particulate removal performance. Continuous emissions monitoring systems are installed on all units.
Meredosia Plant has recently been selected as the site of FutureGen 2.0 - a project in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) clean coal power program - designed to produce clean energy from coal by capturing and storing approximately 1.3 million tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2
) each year, or 90 percent of the plant’s carbon dioxide emissions.
Associated with climate change/global warming, CO2
is the greenhouse gas most commonly emitted from coal-fired electric generating plants. The plant would use an innovative oxy-coal carbon capture technology developed by the Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) in collaboration with Air Liquide Process & Construction (Air Liquide). The oxy-coal combustion process uses oxygen instead of air during combustion, producing flue gas composed of nearly pure CO2
, which is suitable for compression and storage.
Construction is expected to begin in 2012 with a targeted completion date in the third quarter 2015. Construction of this new facility and its related components is expected to bring 900 temporary and permanent jobs to the Central Illinois area. View the news release