ST LOUIS, Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Chrysler LLC is partnering with a major Midwest utility company and university researchers in a project to determine if paint solid residues from automobile manufacturing can reduce emissions of mercury from electric power plants. For the past year, Chrysler has recycled paint solid residues from its two St. Louis assembly plants for use as an alternative fuel in Ameren Corporation's nearby Meramec electric utility plant. Prior to this project, Chrysler's St. Louis plants were sending one million pounds of dried paint solids to landfill each year. Now, the paint solids replace about 570 tons of coal per year in the Ameren plant. The paint solid residues contain titanium dioxide, which has the potential to remove mercury from coal-powered plant emissions without affecting other processes in the plant. Mercury is chemically bonded with titanium oxide, a process known as chemisorption, and thus is potentially easier to trap in the plant's emissions scrubber system, research has found. "Our 'Paint to Power' program in St. Louis is a recycling success story. Rather than filling up scarce landfill space, we are using these paint wastes to produce power for St. Louis residents and businesses," said Deb Morrissett, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Chrysler. "Now we may be able to build on that success to further protect the environment from mercury emissions," Morrissett said. The effectiveness of titanium dioxide in controlling mercury emissions has been demonstrated in the laboratory and recent field studies, according to Dr. Pratim Biswas, chair of the Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. Biswas is heading up the project to test the process in a full-scale power plant. Prof. Biswas and his research team have demonstrated the ability of nanostructured titanium dioxide to remove mercury with greater than 95 percent efficiency. Recently concluded tests in a pilot scale facility have further corroborated the results of the laboratory research. Mercury is released into the environment in trace quantities from the burning of coal in electric-generating plants. The amount of titanium dioxide in the paint solids from the Chrysler plants would be sufficient to remove the trace amounts of mercury from power plant emissions, Biswas said. The electric power industry is currently studying the use of various other chemicals to remove mercury from power plant emissions. The U.S., government has implemented the world's first requirements to cut mercury emissions from electric power plants. Through its collaboration with Chrysler's St, Louis assembly plants, Ameren's 855-megawatt Meramec power plant is the first in the nation to generate electricity by burning paint solids recovered from an automotive manufacturing facility. In the initial phase, the project produces enough electricity to power 70 homes for a year. The project has been recognized with a pollution prevention award from the St, Louis chapter of the National Association of Environmental Managers and with an Environmental Leadership Award from Chrysler. About the Partners Chrysler LLC's two St. Louis assembly plants manufacture the Dodge Ram light- and heavy-duty pickup trucks and the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans. St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation and its subsidiaries serve 2.4 million electric customers in Missouri and Illinois. Washington University in St. Louis is an internationally-recognized independent teaching and research center with approximately 3,100 faculty and 11,000 students.
SOURCE Chrysler LLC