The Wilmarth Steam Plant, located on the Minnesota River, proves that a combination of ingenuity and technical advances can offer innovative solutions for today’s waste disposal problem. Built as a coal-fired generating facility, Wilmarth’s two units were converted in 1987 to burn refuse-derived fuel (RDF). RDF is a fluffy, burnable fuel produced from municipal solid waste. The processed municipal solid waste provides a low-cost fuel alternative to generate electricity and reduces the amount of material going to landfills.
Wilmarth is named after George Wilmarth, who served as chief operating engineer for Northern States Power Company, the predecessor to Xcel Energy.
The RDF burned at the Wilmarth Steam Plant is produced at resource recovery facility in Newport, MN and on site at Mankato. These facilities collect and process approximately 200,000 tons of municipal solid waste each year from several Minnesota counties. RDF is hauled by truck to a receiving facility at Wilmarth, where it is conveyed to the two boilers inside the plant.
The plant employs a scrubber and baghouse to effectively reduce meet emissions requirements from burning refuse-derived fuel. The scrubber treats flue gas with a water spray and lime slurry, while the baghouse traps particulate by forcing gas streams through large filter bags.
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