New Madrid Power Plant
Unit 1 - 1972 Brown-Boveri turbine
Net capacity is 600 megawatts.
Unit 2 - 1977 Brown-Boveri turbine
Net capacity is 600 megawatts
The New Madrid Power Plant is important to AECI's mission of providing an
economical and reliable power supply to member systems.
AECI employs about 210 people at the plant, which is comprised of two coal-based
electric generating units. Unit 1 was constructed in 1972; Unit 2 was completed in 1977.
AECI continues to improve the efficiency and environmental performance of the units.
The cooperative has invested $100 million to install selective catalytic reduction
equipment to significantly reduce nitrogen oxides emissions, and it spent $200
million to convert both its coal-based plants to burn low-sulfur coal in 1994,
significantly reducing sulfur dioxide emissions.
New Madrid's 600-megawatt units can each burn about 7,000 tons of coal per day, some five
million tons per year. Low-sulfur coal travels 1,235 miles from Wyoming to New Madrid by rail, traversing four
states. A coal train is a set of 115 cars, each holding about 121 tons of coal. A unit
train's coal shipment totals some 13,900 tons.
Operating at 4,000 tons per hour, the plant's rotary unloading facility physically turns
coal cars upside down, one at a time, to empty the coal in 20 seconds.
Coal is unloaded from the rail cars, placed on conveyors and carried to "ready piles."
From there, it's loaded onto another set of conveyors and taken to crushing machines
to ensure it is the right size for burning. Along the route, on the stock-out system, a dust suppression agent and water are sprayed to control dust. In addition, dust collection systems
capture coal dust and transport it to coal bunkers to be burned with the rest of the coal.
Coal is burned in 200-foot-high furnaces at temperatures exceeding 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit,
creating high-pressure steam with temperatures in excess of 1,000 F. Each unit uses more
than 400,000 gallons per minute of Mississippi River water for cooling. Afterward,
the water is returned to the river cleaner than before plant use.
The New Madrid plant and its grounds span 250 acres on the inland side of the Mississippi
River and 272 acres on the river side of the levee. Its turbine room alone covers 1.07
To keep groundwater, rivers and lakes clean, AECI carefully manages water runoff from
coal stockpiles, as well as combustion waste storage areas. The runoff is diverted into an
elaborate system of treatment ponds, where solids are allowed to settle to the bottom.
Then the water is tested for purity, treated with soda ash and lime if necessary to neutralize
acidity, and released.