The 2018 International Pittsburgh Coal Conference was held from October 15-18 at the China University of Mining & Technology in Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. This year was the 35th annual conference, which alternates venues between the University of Pittsburgh and the China University of Mining & Technology.
This year’s conference focused on “promoting research activities that advance the economic benefits of coal technologies while greatly reducing their environmental impact.” The conference was attended by our Director of Strategic Initiatives, Vinod Veedu, who presented on several of Oceanit’s functional surface treatment projects which are supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The World Coal Association reports that coal is still the primary energy source for approximately 30% of global energy needs and 41% of the world’s electricity. Because so much of the world is reliant on coal resources, the 2018 IPCC focused on the development of and knowledge sharing around efficiency-increasing and emission-reducing technologies.
Coal use is only around 32%-efficient; improving efficiency means increasing the amount of energy that is extracted when burning one unit of coal. Coal’s low efficiency translates to higher volumes needed and higher CO2 emissions. However, a 1% efficiency increase would result in a 2-3% reduction in carbon emissions.1
If we were able to improve global coal efficiency by just 7%, it would be equal to cutting two gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. That is equivalent to the country of India’s annual CO2 emissions.
At the conference, Vinod Veedu delivered a presentation titled, “Novel Nanocomposite Surface Treatment for High Efficiency, Low Emission Coal Power” which focused on how Oceanit’s functional surface treatments could help the world to achieve this 7% efficiency gain.
Oceanit’s HeatX nanocomposite technology has shown it is beneficial for both the shell-side and tube-side application in steam condensing units (used in the electricity generation process cycle) and can simultaneously reduce fouling and corrosion internal while promoting far more efficient dropwise condensation on external tube surfaces.
Vinod presented results and models from the research and development work supported by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The purpose of the project is to improve the performance and economics of coal-fired utilities and industrial scale boilers through the reduction of fouling and the promotion of dropwise condensation using advanced coating materials. This project aims to address critical technology gaps and develop transformational advanced combustion system technologies that will improve the efficiency and reliability of existing power plants.
Together with NETL and DOE, we modeled a 4.5% efficiency gain simply by preventing fouling/corrosion from impacting the heat transfer capability of heat exchanger tubulars – equivalent to reducing the cooling water temperature by nearly 10°C. By promoting drop-wise condensation and droplet release on the outside of condenser tubulars, HeatX’s hydrophobic qualities provide an additional 3.5% efficiency gain.
Oceanit was honored to share the results of our research, development, and field trials with the attendees of the 2018 Pittsburgh Coal Conference. We continue to optimize HeatX in our effort to deliver the future for energy efficiency.
 World Coal Association – https://www.worldcoal.org/reducing-co2-emissions/high-efficiency-low-emission-coal