Exploring Power Plant Emission Reduction Techniques and Strategies

1st January, 1970

Exploring Power Plant Emission Reduction Techniques and Strategies

The European Energy Market

With the release of the BREF and BAT documents in 2017, European countries are now running a countdown to be compliant to a series of regulations set up to reduce ecological damage provoked by power plant emissions. Aiming to reduce pollutant emissions like mercury, these documents set challenging limits for power plants depending on the plant type, fuel and the stringency of the Emission Limit Values to be set by each national environmental agency, within ranges mandated by the BREF.

There is a general fear factor of non-compliance that could lead to plant shutdowns; in addition, the extremely challenging regulations have created an uncertain environment, with limited time to test technologies and no financial resources or investment, which is absolutely necessary to meet set targets.

Coal Production: Western vs Eastern Europe

Coal reduction has been one of the most significant improvements in the fight towards emission reduction; in 2017, the EU reduced by half the production of electricity with coal (20.6%) and increased wind, solar, and biomass combined production to 20.9%

However, Eastern countries like Poland, Hungary, and Bosnia and Herzegovina have increased production on lignite coal reserves, the dirtiest of all coals.  As a result air pollution has clearly increased, and according to a report from the World Health Organization, Eastern European and Balkan countries have the most annual air pollution-related deaths in Europe. The disparities between Western and Eastern can be traced back to the affordability of coal against other renewable power sources.

Technologies and Strategies to reduce emissions

Technologies have resulted in significant reduction in emissions, however, there is more to be done and as such, energy companies and plant owners must keep abreast of the largest regulations and technologies in order to stay up to date and compliant with regulations.

Some key technologies being used are:

  • Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) – to reduce NOx by up to 95%
  • Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) – a means of reducing primarily SO2, NOx and other scrubber or electrostatic precipitators.
  • Activated Carbon Injection – aimed at mercury removal.
  • Fluidized-Bed Combustion – a technique used in the attempt to prevent the need for emissions reduction technologies later in the chain. Removes sulphur and NOx at an early stage.
  • Carbon Capture and Storage/Sequestration (CCS) – these techniques can be used to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

With the increased need to invest, and the need to keep energy prices reasonable for the consumer, energy company margins could not be more tightly squeezed. Right now they need to determine how to remain profitable and in operation.

For more information on techniques and strategies to reduce emissions, save your place at the 13th ExPPERTS conference (limited places available, priority booking code MK-VAPR).

Arena International is proud to present the 13th edition of this unique event that focuses on exploring new ways to implement innovative tools and processes, which meet and exceed pollution regulations requirements and economic stability. The ExPPERTS conference is taking place on the 26th and 27th of September in Wroclaw, Poland, the heart of coal power within Europe.


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