Duke Energy/Gibson Generating PlantUpdate: the Big Four railroad bridge over the Wabash River is still used to supply this plant.
This is the largest power plant in Indiana.
|From NIPSCO and pro-coal-bill|
I believe the plume is dark because I was running out of daylight, not because of particulate emission. They finished adding selective catalytic reduction (SCR) units to reduce NOx emmisions in 2008. To keep the SCR catalyst clean and operational, it is now economically beneficial for the plant to remove fly ash. And their web page indicates that all five units have sulfur dioxide scrubbers. So they probably burn local southern Indiana coal rather than Wyoming Powder Basin coal. My Dad said that the Indiana coal burns hotter and that helps make it economical to run the sulfur scrubbing equipment. In contrast, most Illinois coal burning plants use Wyoming coal or natural gas. The Illinois coal is exported to China! The Gibson plant is now having to deal with high selenium levels in the cooling pond and the possibility of leaking boron into the water tables of the area (Wikipedia).
Looking at a map, the plant has industrial spurs to the former Southern Railroad to the north and the former Big Four to the south. The Southern Railroad is now part of the Norfolk Southern and is their mainline between St. Louis and Louisville. According to my 1928 Railroad Atlas, Big Four had a route from Danville, IL, to Mount Carmel where it forked just south of town and went to Cairo, IL, and Evansville, IN.
The following satellite image indicates the loop serves some sort of mining operation.
Newton Power PlantNewton Power Plant near the north side of Newton Lake because I had studied a spur that runs south from a CN/IC route along IL-33. I noticed the "flat top" of the plume and kept my eye on it and took several pictures from IL-33 because I was running out of daylight, and I was hoping at least one of them would turn out. The last one I took turned out to be the best.
I'm sure the flat top is caused by layers of the atmosphere being at different temperatures. Probably an inversion of warm air on top of cold air. But why the boundary between the layers causes a ceiling for the plume is still a mystery to me.
If NOx and sulfuric acid are not enough to worry about, I learned that you can also worry about toxic materials and chlorine gas. The page on chlorine gas makes me wonder about the risk of the Chicago Water Filtration plant that is right next to the Magnificent Mile and The Loop.