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J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2012 May;62(5):576-86.

Control strategies of atmospheric mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants in China.

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State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University Beijing, PR China.


Atmospheric mercury (Hg) emission from coal is one of the primary sources of anthropogenic discharge and pollution. China is one of the few countries in the world whose coal consumption constitutes about 70% of total primary energy, and over half of coals are burned directly for electricity generation. Atmospheric emissions of Hg and its speciation from coal-fired power plants are of great concern owing to their negative impacts on regional human health and ecosystem risks, as well as long-distance transport. In this paper, recent trends of atmospheric Hg emissions and its species split from coal-fired power plants in China during the period of 2000-2007 are evaluated, by integrating each plant's coal consumption and emission factors, which are classified by different subcategories of boilers, particulate matter (PM) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) control devices. Our results show that the total Hg emissions from coal-fired power plants have begun to decrease from the peak value of 139.19 t in 2005 to 134.55 t in 2007, though coal consumption growing steadily from 1213.8 to 1532.4 Mt, which can be mainly attributed to the co-benefit Hg reduction by electrostatic precipitators/fabric filters (ESPs/FFs) and wet flue gas desulfurization (WFGD), especially the sharp growth in installation of WFGD both in the new and existing power plants since 2005. In the coming 12th five-year-plan, more and more plants will be mandated to install De-NO(x) (nitrogen oxides) systems (mainly selective catalytic reduction [SCR] and selective noncatalytic reduction [SNCR]) for minimizing NO(x) emission, thus the specific Hg emission rate per ton of coal will decline further owing to the much higher co-benefit removal efficiency by the combination of SCR + ESPs/FFs + WFGD systems. Consequently, SCR + ESPs/FFs + WFGD configuration will be the main path to abate Hg discharge from coal-fired power plants in China in the near future. However advanced specific Hg removal technologies are necessary for further reduction of elemental Hg discharge in the long-term.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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