ESP Lab Research

Our research provides improved and creative solutions to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants. Our 3,000-square-foot electrostatic precipitator laboratory is one of only a few laboratories in the world fully equipped with the tools required to simulate, test and analyze emission collection efficiency.

Our research focuses on both improving traditional horizontal ESPs, as well as testing the efficacy of experimental cross flow ESP designs.

Horizontal ESP

The conventional, horizontal ESP is the control device typically chosen to handle particulate emission control. These ESPs can handle large flow rates and also capture a wide range of particle sizes.

Our lab is focused on improving this very efficient system by decreasing the overall size and weight. By replacing traditional materials and devices with new, lighter and smaller ones with equal or higher efficiencies, we can reduce the cost of construction and operation.   

How does it work?

The electrostatic precipitator has four main components: the discharge electrode, collection electrode, particulate removal device, and the hopper.

Flue gas full of harmful emissions enters the ESP. As particles travel through the ESP they become charged by the discharge electrode. Their new charge attracts them to the collection electrode. Over time, the particles build up on the plates and must be removed. There are a few methods used: rappers, which are like hammers that hit the collection electrode, sonic horns that use pressure waves to dislodge the dust, or spray nozzles. The dust then falls into the hopper where it is removed from the airflow.

Cross Flow ESP

Unlike traditional electrostatic precipitators, which have collection electrodes mounted parallel to the gas flow, our cross flow ESP uses collection electrodes placed perpendicular to the gas flow.

Our collection electrodes have been patented and are composed of hydrophilic rope with a flow of water to constantly keep them clean. This system disrupts the gas flow and collects particles that pass by.    

Our research seeks to understand the effect each new variable contributes to the collection efficiency. There is effort in finding theoretical values for each variable’s effect, and these results will be confirmed experimentally.