Superior mercury detection for coal samples over existing AA technology



Headquartered in Winchester, Kentucky, East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC), is a generation and transmission electric utility that provides affordable and reliable power to more than 1 million people in the state of Kentucky. EKPC provides power through its collection of coal-fueled plants, natural gas-fueled peaking units, and renewable energy plants over nearly 3,000 miles of transmission lines.
For years, staff at EKPC’s central lab utilized an atomic absorption system for their coal mercury reporting requirements. The numerous drawbacks to that system, which included the system’s inefficiency, unreliability, and its labor-intensive process for performing regular maintenance, motivated EKPC staff to look for a new analytical solution for mercury analysis.


To meet state and federal testing standards, EKPC requires an efficient and accurate method for determining mercury levels in coal samples, in support of their two coal-fired power plants.

After engaging with Milestone, EKPC narrowed their focus to evaluating the differences between their existing AA solution and Milestone’s DMA-80 evo to determine if it would be worthwhile to switch technologies.
From the customer voice:
“The DMA-80 evo is so much easier to run than other solutions I’ve seen. Milestone has really thought out the entire system. The system’s autoloader is excellent and reliable. The analyzer provides better detection limits than other systems I’ve encountered. Even general maintenance with the system is so much easier to do and takes a fraction of the time that I used to invest with my prior AA system”
Matthew David, Chemist @ EKPC


EKPC staff quickly identified three key benefits that the DMA-80 evo offered over their existing AA technology.
The first benefit EKPC identified was how much easier the DMA-80 evo system is to operate. Beyond the system’s simple operation, EKPC staff also noted the DMA-80 evo’s autoloader was far more reliable and did not have the mechanical issues their existing system had which occasionally caused sample contents to be spilled out during runs.
The second benefit EKPC staff noted was the system’s ability to reach lower detection limits, which would make their reporting process easier.
The third benefit EKPC identified was how much easier performing regular maintenance is with the DMA-80 evo compared to their existing system. Swapping out the amalgamator in their existing system was a labor-intensive, all-day process, whereas this task took only a fraction of the time with the DMA-80 evo.
Ultimately, EKPC decided to purchase a new DMA-80 evo to improve their workflow efficiency and to reduce the time that staff regularly spends running samples.

DMA-80 evo

The DMA-80 mercury determination system can analyze any matrix (solid, liquid or gas) without any pre-treatment or chemical additions in as few as 6 minutes in full compliance with EPA method 7473.

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"The DMA-80 evo has enabled us to automate our mercury determination workflow for our coal samples and reduce the time to spend running samples and maintaining the system"