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Air Pollution Control Costs for Coal-Fired Power Stations

AUTHOR: Mitsuru Takeshita
DATE: January 1995

The latest in the series of Perspectives reports from IEA Coal Research reviews air pollution control costs for coal-fired power stations.

The costs of air pollution control (for SO2, NOx and particulate emissions) and the factors affecting the costs in coal-fired power stations are reviewed in this report. Simplification of the processes, an improved understanding of mechanisms of air pollutant formation and reduction and the competitive market for air pollution control devices have significantly reduced their costs over the last decade. For new installations, the costs of SO2 and NOx control account for about 15-20% of the cost of electricity, depending on the emission limits, and other technical and economic conditions. Particulate control adds to the cost of electricity by 3-4% although most coal-fired power stations are equipped with particulate control devices. The costs of retrofitting air pollution control devices to existing plants are always higher than when installing them on new plants. This is because existing plants may have restrictions on space and access and existing equipment may need to be modified for a retrofit. A detailed unit-by-unit analysis is required to select the most cost-effective technology for an individual coal-fired power station.