Wisconsin Public Service is adding nearly 300 construction jobs to the area for the West Power Plant's newest endeavor, new technology to cut down on pollutants.
WPS is beginning construction on an upgraded emission control system and the Weston 3 Power Plant. The $275 million project is meant to eliminate waste and provide cleaner air.
But how will the cost effect you at home?
"People could see a small increase in the rates," explains project manager, Jayme Van Campenhout, "but its spread across Wisconsin Public Service customers."
WPS says the small increase in rates will pay for a cleaner, more efficient way to burn coal.
Here is how it works:
The new technology will clean out sulfur and nitrous dioxides and mercury from the gases formed when coal is burned. That product will be turned into a useful chemical, sulfuric acid, the number one used chemical in the world.
"Its very much required in the area," says Bhushan Ranad, the President of Hamon Research-Cottrell Inc., the company who created the technology, "local people want that, so we are converting one pollutant into very useful chemical, and that's the beauty of this technology."
The plant hopes to take the sulfuric acid and sell it to local vendors for uses in batteries, fertilizers and even the food production industry.
"Its not something the plant is used to, its not a core effort, not a core product on the site, so it's going to be unique," explains Van Campenhout, "the interesting thing about it is its something we can reuse, we can sell, without creating something that has to go to a landfill."
While the technology isn't new, this is the first coal plant in North America to use it. They hope to have the project completed by 2016.
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