First Limestone-Gypsum FGD Systems in Indian Market: Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd.

- Uttar Pradesh, India

   There are multiple applications for removing sulfur and certain emissions from exhaust flue gases of coal-fired power plants. Some examples are: Wet scrubbing using a slurry of alkaline sorbents, spray-dry scrubbing, wet sulfuric acid process recovering sulfur in the form of commercial quality sulfuric acid; and dry sorbent injection systems.

National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) is tackling the first series of limestone gypsum FGD systems in the Indian Market. NTPC is India's largest energy conglomerate with roots going back to 1975. NTPC Ltd is an Indian Public Sector undertaking, engaged in the business of generation of electricity and allied activities. Some of the largest coal fired power stations in India are owned and operated by NTPC.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (Japan) has received an order from NTPC to implement India’s first ever Limestone-Gypsum FGD System in India. There will be six systems installed, on top of the already functioning power generating facilities in Central and Northern India. Two of the installation will occur at the Mouda Facility, with a combined capacity of 1320MW. Other systems will be installed at Rihand plants two and three, with 2000 MW capacity total. The FGD system type that will be implemented at these facilities will be a dry spray desulfurizing scrubber system.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems is a conglomerate of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and Hitachi, Ltd. Since 2014, MHPS has been achieving goals in environmental technologies and project engineering across the globe.

Here is how MHPS is helping NTPC curb emissions of atmospheric pollutants by using off-gas cleanup systems and technologies:

1.     The desulfurization absorbs sulfur oxides, and collects the generated gypsum by reacting limestone with SOx.

2.     The open sprayer system sprays absorbent (limestone slurry) from above the compact flue gas scrubbing tower to absorb harmful SOx efficiently.

More than ever before, India is pursuing rigorous emission-fighting methods for every stage of the energy producing process, from cleaning coal, to processing and utilisation technologies post combustion.  Since coal is still India’s top energy source, adding FGD type systems is actually becoming increasingly common. Only time will tell which technologies will aid India’s goals best and extend to industry wide practice.

Odd-Even Road Rationing: Phase Two in New Delhi

New Delhi-

The first phase of New Delhi’s odd-even road-rationing scheme was completed in January of this year, the second phase of which will be initiated in mid April. The project aims to properly measure the amount of pollution caused by traffic on any given day. Weather plays a crucial part in measuring carbon emissions with certain times of year being more problematic than others. Winter weather poses issues with irregularity in weather conditions. In cold weather, the polluting particles remain close to the surface of the road and contribute to smog. In the hotter months, unstable hydrocarbons and other compounds create a photochemical reaction with NOx emissions and create ozone. Officials are hoping that the second phase will give more accurate readings and help to support local taxation for polluting automobiles and restructuring of public transportation to include 1000 more busses on the road. The safety limit for emissions of this nature is 100 micrograms per cubic meter. Last year from the middle to the end of April saw ranges from 120-250 micrograms per cubic meter.  

Restricting vehicles on the road is one component in the cavalcade of changes and reforms being encouraged by industry specialists. A further step in reducing automobile pollution would be to impose discouraging taxation on private vehicles and encourage use of public transport. Fining visibly polluting vehicles and implementing parking curbs have also been tabled at recent government meetings

The Central Pollution Control Board’s focuses their monitoring on roadside emissions when calculating annual pedestrian pollution. Anumita Roy Chowdhury, head of the clean air program at the Centre for Science and Environment says that the odd-even approach of having half of private vehicles off the roads at any given time can be assessed effectively through the CPCB model. She went on to emphasize the importance of a newly defined pedestrian and cycle based infrastructure and taxation that discourages vehicles and drives pollution out of key areas like Okhla industrial area in East Delhi.

IIT Kanpur releases an annual report on national air quality relied on by the government to assess practices regarding pollution control. Private vehicles make up the majority of emissions in populated areas. However, the report also identified other components that make up for 40% of the matter that pollutes in hot weather. These particles are made up of road dust and soil as well as airborne fly ash. The report addresses the issue of poor maintenance when concerned with proper storage and transport of fly ash. Whether in use or not, the summer months dries the fly ash, making it more likely to become airborne.

Smokestack Industries in China Face Serious Problems

Gansu, Northern China

Due to overcapacity and slowing demand throughout China’s core building materials industries, regulators have been under pressure to cut power prices. Bloomberg News reports that in some regions, the rates were expected to decrease by 0.03 yuan per kilowatt-hour. This small reduction represents significant savings to aluminum, cement and steel-manufacturing companies, whose power usage represents over 40% of production costs.

Regulators assert this reduction comes at a justifiable time, since coal prices have also decreased significantly over the past year. This reform could potentially help relieve stress from some crucial industries and keep some doors from closing. The move has already been made in Gansu province, whose state-owned Liancheng smelter is currently receiving decreased power prices. 

What appears to be a welcomed relief to smokestack industries may also have dire repercussions. Due to overcapacity, companies are attempting to pass their savings on to the buyers by lowering aluminum prices. The reduction will bring down aluminum prices to a six-year low at just under 8,900 yuan per ton. The fear now is that this new policy will undermine current energy/environmental policies that encourage energy conservation. 

Aluminum, steel and cement are the most power hungry industries in China and therefore are the main users of high polluting coal; the cause of the country’s CO2 emissions and air/water pollution. China has been discouraging the expansion of these industries as far back as 2004 with power pricing differentiation. These did little to dissuade investment from these industries. Since the four trillion yuan stimulus program of 2009, China’s smelters are operating at a loss. Ninety percent of aluminum smelters have excess inventory and are unable to support their current capacity. Cement and steel industries are at similar annual losses; production for cement dropped 4.6% while crude steel dropped 2.2% (The National Bureau of Statistics). 

A combination of regulatory, market and environmental policy reformation is necessary to address this issue. Even with a lack of carbon tax, a surplus of coal and industrial overcapacity, the power price cuts seem likely to continue.