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RESEARCHERS DISCUSS ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS AND COMMERCIALIZATION EFFORTS OF ADVANCED POWER SYSTEM -- MHD -- AT BALTIMORE CONFERENCE

 RESEARCHERS DISCUSS ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS AND COMMERCIALIZATION
 EFFORTS OF ADVANCED POWER SYSTEM -- MHD -- AT BALTIMORE CONFERENCE
 BALTIMORE, June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Researchers say that one answer to America's need for efficient environmentally sensitive electric power production may be Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), a technology that produces electricity using coal or natural gas.
 Results of MHD testing indicate that this process can increase the efficiency of power plants and reduce emissions of pollutants by up to 72 percent. U.S. and international experts in the field are meeting next week (June 29-July 2) to exchange information in Baltimore at the 30th Symposium of Engineering Aspects of Magnetohyrodynamics (SEAM 30).
 The conference will feature representatives from the United States and six foreign countries presenting research ranging from air quality evaluations to use of MHD/nuclear power plants in space. Countries pursuing MHD power options include the United States, Russia, Japan, India, Italy, Israel and China.
 MHD testing programs have shown the potential for significant reduction in emissions over conventional plants, including decreases of up to 72 percent in sulfur, and 38 percent in nitrous oxide and particulate (dust and other particles) emissions. An MHD system would also use less water, emit less carbon dixode and solid waste and produce more electricity per ton of coal.
 Two hurdles remain in the path of U.S. commercialization of this technology. The first is proving that the equipment can withstand the very high temperatures produced during the process. In MHD, coal is burned at temperatures up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than in conventional power plants. In order to operate for commercial use, the equipment must be able to withstand these very high temperatures over a long period of time. The U.S. Department of Energy is researching and testing the durability of the main MHD channel, materials and steam equipment at its facilities in Butte, Mont., and Tullahoma, Tenn. Results are expected by the end of 1993.
 The biggest hurdle remaining, however, is the development of a first-of-a-kind demonstration plant. Such a plant could cost several hundred million dollars to build and test. Those dollars would have to be raised from both private and government sources. There are proposals in the works to use private investments and partial DOE funding under Round V of the Clean Coal Technology program. If the required capital is raised, the first commercial demonstration plant could be on-line by the year 2000.
 The MHD conference will be held at the Harbor Court Hotel at Baltimore Inner Harbor. More than 75 poster and paper presentations are scheduled. SEAM 30 is hosted by Gilbert/Commonwealth, Inc. (G/C) based in Reading, Pa. A leading consulting engineering firm, G/C has been involved in MHD research for 18 years. The meeting is sanctioned by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
 -0- 6/25/92
 /CONTACT: Kathleen Deeds of Gilbert/Commonwealth, 215-775-2600/ CO: Gilbert/Commonwealth, Inc. ST: Maryland, Pennsylvania IN: SU:


MJ-MK -- PH038 -- 3912 06/25/92 15:50 EDT
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Date:Jun 25, 1992
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