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Pollution Control

Pollution Control

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Published by Tun Naung Myint

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Published by: Tun Naung Myint on Nov 15, 2012
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12/04/2012

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Pollution control systems
Utilities cause a great deal of pollution. They would cause much more if it were not forapplication of pollution control technology. I briefly outline pollution control systemshere for sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and particulates.
(25)
Volatile Organic Compounds(VOCs) are also emitted as pollution, and are discussed last.There are four common ways to try to eliminate the other effluents of combustion: byprecombustion technology, by combustion technology, by postcombustion technology,or by use of a combined cycle gas turbine at low cost to try to avoid the installation of awhole host of treatment technologies. So far, utilities and industry in the U.S. have spentover $40 billion on pollution control.
(26)
Between 1970 and the present, SO
2
emissionshave dropped by more than 70% and particulate emissions have dropped by more than90%.
(26)
Precombustion cleaningAbout 40% of all U.S. coal (70% of eastern and midwestern coal) requires cleaning beforeuse to remove impurities and improve combustion. Physical cleaning can remove 30% to50% of pyrites (iron-bound sulfur). Chemical and biological cleaning (seen as verypromising) are in their infancy.
(27,28)
A plant built by Encoal, a subsidiary of Shell Oil,refines coal while cleaning it.
(29)
Coal, 1 kt/d of it, is cooked to turn it into more valuablehydrocarbons. It is pyrolysed to get a gas that can be condensed to liquid like heavy fueloil. The remaining coal has a higher heating content than before treatment because of theloss of water (5.75 MJ/kg vs. 4.0 MJ/kg).
(29)
This technique does not reduce nitrogenoxide emission.
 
 Energy
, Ch. 14, extension 1 Pollution control systems
2Cleaning during combustionThis method is not of much use for reducing sulfur emissions, but is essential for reducingnitrogen oxide (NO
x
) emission. Recall from Ch. 7 that the formation of most nitrogenoxides is an endothermic process. Therefore, it takes place primarily at high temperatureswhere sufficient activation energy is available from the surroundings. While hightemperatures are desirable for complete burning of the fuel, they necessarily produce largefractions of NO
x
. Some ingenuity has gone into reconciling these apparentlycontradictory desires. Low-NO
x
burners are now standard equipment in most powerplants in America.
Fig. E14.1.1 Low NO
x
burner system. There are several combustion zones.(U.S. Fossil Energy Program, Department of Energy)
 
 Energy
, Ch. 14, extension 1 Pollution control systems
3It is possible to decrease NO
x
emissions through several methods in the combustion andpostcombustion stages.
(30)
 
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
x
by 25% to 50%. High-tech low-NO
x
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
x
. Complete combustion of the coal isachieved by secondary low-temperature combustion zones. Also used isreburning,
(27,28,31)
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
x
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
x
may also be removed. Virtually allmust remove particulates after burning.

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