US$30 billion invested in retrofit air pollution control

As well as this, there are also a number of new coal-fired power plants in Asia that are being equipped with the latest air pollution control technologies.

According to McIlvaine’s Utility Environmental Upgrade Tracking System, US activity is reaching a new peak due to the recent Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS). Large numbers of fabric filters and dry injection systems to capture HCl and SO2 are in the planning stage with compliance due in just three years. A number of projects are also under way in Europe, and Eastern Europe is very active. Serbia, for example, has FGD and NOx projects in construction and planning along with electrostatic precipitator upgrades.

In India, most of the activity involves new coal-fired boilers. Plants with three or more large boilers with combined capacities up to 4000 MW are being initiated, while contracts for three new coal-fired power plants with air pollution control equipment have just been ordered in Indonesia. These coal-fired power plants will total over 2000 MW. Pakistan is also continuing to build coal-fired power plants and a number of projects are under way in Vietnam.

However, the leading country in terms of projects and investment is China. Orders for new coal-fired power plants are averaging 3000 MW per month. Typically, these are large ultra-supercritical boilers with electrostatic precipitators, selective catalytic reduction systems and wet limestone flue gas desulphurisation.

While Chinese companies have dominated the electrostatic precipitator market for more than a decade, most of the sales by these companies have been in Asia. Alstom has maintained a lead in the rest of the world.  Most of the Chinese FGD systems have been built under license from Japanese, European and US companies but Chinese companies are now supplying their own designs. In fact, one Chinese company has licensed its dry scrubbing technology to Marsulex for application in the West.  Marsulex has long been a licensor of wet FGD technology in China.