American Electric Power (AEP), one of the USA’s largest generators and traders of electricity, is to finance the testing of a novel NOx emission control system at its Conesville coal-fired generating station in Conesville, Ohio. The system, called Thermalonox, has been developed by the Canadian company Thermal Energy International.

The Thermalonox system involves the direct injection of elemental phosphorus into the flue gas stream of a fossil fuel-fired power station. The phosphorus reacts with nitrogen oxides in the exhaust gas stream, converting it into nitrogen dioxide. The latter can then be removed using a conventional flue gas scrubber.

The AEP demonstration will last between eight and twelve weeks. The system is designed to remove at least 75 per cent of the nitrogen oxide emissions from the 375 MW unit.

The cost of the demonstration is put at around $15 million. The test unit has been designed so that it may be converted into a permanent installation if it proves successful. Construction will be completed during the first quarter of 2001, with the test phase to follow immediately after.

As part of the deal with Thermal Energy International, AEP subsidiary AEP Pro Serv will be the exclusive licensee for the application of the Thermalonox technology in North America at coal fired generation stations equipped with wet fuel gas desulphurisation units.

AEP also has an option to acquire up to 10 per cent of Thermal Energy. If exercised, AEP will initially acquire around 3 million shares in the company for $7 million. It will be able to buy a further 3 million shares over the succeeding 24 months. In addition, AEP’s vice president of renewable energy and advanced technologies will be appointed to the Thermal Energy board of directors, subject to the board’s approval.