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Low Emission Coal Use

Environmental Regulations for Promotion of Clean Coal Technologies in APEC Economies (www.saic.com - go to publications)

Low Emission Coal Use » Low Emission Coal Use

Published: November 07Project Number: C15078

Get ReportAuthor: APEC Energy Working Group | Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

ACARP provided a funding contribution to establish this international study under APEC.  It is not an ACARP report as such and hence will not be published in the normal manner.  Copies can be obtained from the APEC Expert Group on Clean Fossil Energy web-site (www.saic.com - go to publications).

Report link: http://www.egcfe.ewg.apec.org/projects/EnvRegs_Final_2007.pdf

The objective of this study is to assess experience to date in developed Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies regarding the interaction of environmental regulations with clean coal technology deployment and, based on this analysis, make recommendations on regulatory methods that promote investment in new commercial clean coal projects in developing APEC economies. Environmental regulations for coal-fired power are quite extensive and continue to evolve as new issues, such as water shortage, mercury emissions, and climate change have emerged. Particularly, the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, promises to have a significant impact on the future use of coal for power generation. This study examines both existing and emerging regulatory frameworks in order to determine which type of regulations that would be most effective at promoting clean coal technology adoption in developing APEC economies and would be practical to implement.

The pollutants and environmental regulations examined in the study cover the entire project cycle from permitting, construction, and operation of coal-fired plants and are generally categorized into three major groups:

  • Regulations targeting air emissions. These include regulations concerning local air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOX), and coarse and fine particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5); mercury (Hg); and carbon dioxide (CO2) which is the major greenhouse gas (GHG) attributed to coalfired power generation.
  • Regulations targeting water use. Relevant regulations or guidelines affecting coal-fired power plants include: 1) water temperature, 2) water intake, and 3) effluent standards for water released from the power plant.
  • Regulations concerning coal combustion by-products. These typically involve 1) classification as hazardous or non-hazardous wastes, which determines subsequent treatment and disposal; 2) allowable uses and disposal practices, such as recycling in other products; and 3) management practices of toxics in disposed and recycled combustion products.

When considering the potential effect of existing and new environmental regulations on the adoption of clean coal we organized the analysis of technologies into three categories. These include:

  • Environmental control technologies. This typically includes flue gas desulfurization (FGD), selective catalytic or non-catalytic reduction (SCR/SNCR) systems, electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) or fabric filters)
  • High efficiency coal combustion technologies such as supercritical, ultrasupercritical, pressurized fluidized bed combustion (PFBC), and integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) technology)
  • Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS). Capture technologies may include pre- and post-combustion capture and oxyfuel combustion. Storage of CO2 can be done in geological formations such as oil or gas fields, saline formations, or coal beds.

To target the recommendations towards APEC economies that would benefit the most from this analysis, we focused on developing and transition APEC economies that are expected to rely on coal for a large part of their future generating capacity. These economies include China, Indonesia, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Thailand, and Vietnam. Influenced by rising populations and increased standards of living, these APEC nations are turning to cheap energy sources to fulfill their energy demands and improve energy security. Coal will provide the fastest growing source of energy in all of these economies, except in Russia, where natural gas and nuclear will continue to represent the greatest share of power generation.

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