|NEW YORK - TXU Corp. (TXU.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said last week it hopes to reduce harmful emissions at coal-fired power plants by developing sound-wave technologies that remove mercury from the plants\' output.|
Coal-fired plants account for nearly half of U.S. mercury air emissions.
Mercury has been linked to neurological problems and mental retardation and is especially harmful for young children, infants and developing fetuses.
TXU, based in Dallas, Texas, said in a statement it would work with the University of Texas at Austin\'s Applied Research Laboratories to develop the technology.
\"This new sound-wave technology could become a vital part of existing and developing emission controls around the world,\" Richard Wistrand, senior vice president of TXU Production said in the statement.
No technology exists to capture mercury from commercial lignite power plants.
The first technology TXU is working on uses sound waves to cause small particles in power plant emissions to join together and form larger particles that are more easily captured.
The second uses sound waves to improve the efficiency of emission reduction by directing vapor gasses to removal equipment.
TXU said it was pursuing U.S. and foreign patents for the new technology.
Under a deadline from the Environmental Protection Agency and green groups the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, President George W. Bush last month released a plan that would reduce coal-burning utility emissions of toxic mercury by nearly 70 percent by 2018.
The plan gives power plants 10 more years to make emissions reductions that were proposed by the Clinton administration.
TXU\'s generation portfolio includes 19,000 megawatts in Texas, much of it from coal-fired power plants.
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