, Ch. 14, extension 1 Pollution control systems
3It is possible to decrease NO
emissions through several methods in the combustion andpostcombustion stages.
Staged combustion control
adjusts the amount of oxygenavailable at places within the combustion zone; this is standard practice for coal-firedsystems, and it reduces NO
by 25% to 50%. High-tech low-NO
burners work bydecreasing the amount of air available in the primary combustion zone, making this regionrich in fuel and deficient in oxygen. Without enough oxygen, the nitrogen in coal is notbroken up to combine with oxygen. The combustion temperature is kept very low toprevent ambient air molecules from forming the NO
. Complete combustion of the coal isachieved by secondary low-temperature combustion zones. Also used isreburning,
which burns the coal in stages (natural gas may be introduced at laterstages of burning). The “overfire air” technique involves injection of air above the flame,which helps burning be more complete at lower temperatures. These methods can removeabout half the nitrogen oxides normally present in flue gas.
Flue gas recirculation
involves mixing of flue gas into the air supply to the boiler; thiscauses lowered combustion temperatures and reduces NO
formation by 12% to 25%.About 75% of U.S. coal-fired power plants are using burners such as these to meet theClean Air Act’s requirements.Postcombustion cleaningMost power plants in operation choose one or more methods of postcombustion cleaningfor sulfur removal. In some of these methods, NO
may also be removed. Virtually allmust remove particulates after burning.