Plasma Discharge Electrode for Electrostatic Precipitators

EPA Contract Number: EPD09043
Title: Plasma Discharge Electrode for Electrostatic Precipitators
Investigators: Alexander, Jeffrey
Small Business: Johansson Industries Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: March 1, 2009 through February 28, 2011
Project Amount: $225,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2009) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Air Pollution


Electrostatic precipitators are widely used for removal of particulate matter form boiler exhaust gases. The EPA promulgation of National emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) from Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Boilers and Process Heater will require industry to install many new high performance precipitators on such sources in the coming years.

The Plasma Discharge (PD) Electrode is an innovative technology intended to replace the conventional corona discharge electrodes in electrostatic precipitators. With the PD electrode, precipitators for small oil and coal fired boilers could be made significantly more efficient at removing fine particulate matter from their effluent gases.

Phase I research has shown that PD electrodes are capable of increasing the useful electrical power input to a precipitator by 42% and improve uniformity of current distribution by 200%. This promises to result in a twofold improvement in performance of an existing precipitator and a corresponding reduction in the cost of a new precipitator installation. Phase I testing also verified that the PD electrode can function in coal fired boiler exhaust gas streams.

The proposed Phase II research will demonstrate this improved performance on a pilot scale precipitator installed at a coal fired power plant. This will be done by measuring the particulate collection efficiency of a precipitator equipped with conventional electrodes and then measuring the collection efficiency of the same precipitator when fitted with the new PD electrodes.

The commercialization option will result in the retrofit of a full scale precipitator field with PD electrodes. When completed successfully, these two milestones would be sufficient to bring the technology to commercialization. It is anticipated that the PD electrode technology will be licensed by Neundorfer Particulate Knowledge, a leading supplier of aftermarket precipitator services in the US.

The design of the PD electrodes lends itself to use with electrostatic precipitators with very little change to their basic design. If demonstrated at full scale and technically successful, the PD electrode could become standard equipment in electrostatic precipitators installed on small industrial boilers. The improved performance they afford would decrease particulate emissions to atmosphere and/or decrease the cost of the precipitator installations. This would represent a significant advancement for particulate control technology.

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report

  • SBIR Phase I:

    Surface Plasma Electrode for Electrostatic Precipitators  | Final Report