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Why Dry Bottoms Are Better than Wet Bottoms: Benefits of Updating Your Plant’s Bottom Ash Handling System

Tiffany Scuglik

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Power plants are increasingly operating in a more competitive world with a shortened of mineral sources – coal continues to be the choice of raw material. More regulations and legislation combined with increasing environmental awareness have made the operation of power plants more complicated and expensive.  The power industry is looking for solutions to minimize their environmental impact.

One of the current projects JP Cullen’s Project Manager, Brian Forston, is working on is the renovations of a Bottom Ash Handling System for one of Wisconsin’s utility companies.

What is Bottom Ash?

To begin with, coal ash is a collection of residuals produced during the combustion of coal.  Bottom ash is then the heavier portion of coal ash that settles on the ground in the boiler.

Bottom Ash Handling Systems have commonly been handled in a wet condition, but now modern engineering has developed the system to a dry technique. The dry systems have significant advantages including environmental and economic benefits for both cases of newly built plants and replacing the existing wet systems.

Dry vs. Wet Bottoms

Using a dry system means that no water is required in the process, thus no water treatment is needed.  This reduces emissions and returns heat energy to the boiler resulting in lower coal usage and lower costs for emission trading.

Advantages to the use of dry versus wet systems include:

  • Increased thermal efficiency
  • Reduction of unburned carbon
  • Removal of water systems and treatment
  • Improvement in ash quality
Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., “Dry Bottom Ash Handling System”. Kawasaki. 2017.

Building Plants to Meet Sustainability Goals

JP Cullen believes it is part of our job to understand the processes and equipment our clients use in their operations.  We make it a point to understand the client’s goals for each project and what we can do to accomplish them.  Our dedication has led to building projects that are ahead of schedule, no injuries, and reducing costs. We are continuing to work with power companies to meet their sustainability goals and reduce the impact on the environment, while still operating and bringing energy to the surrounding communities.

Read more about the current Bottom Ash Handling System project we are working at!


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July 17, 2024