Journal of environmental sciences (China)

Economic analysis of atmospheric mercury emission control for coal-fired power plants in China.

PMID 26141885


Coal combustion and mercury pollution are closely linked, and this relationship is particularly relevant in China, the world's largest coal consumer. This paper begins with a summary of recent China-specific studies on mercury removal by air pollution control technologies and then provides an economic analysis of mercury abatement from these emission control technologies at coal-fired power plants in China. This includes a cost-effectiveness analysis at the enterprise and sector level in China using 2010 as a baseline and projecting out to 2020 and 2030. Of the control technologies evaluated, the most cost-effective is a fabric filter installed upstream of the wet flue gas desulfurization system (FF+WFGD). Halogen injection (HI) is also a cost-effective mercury-specific control strategy, although it has not yet reached commercial maturity. The sector-level analysis shows that 193 tons of mercury was removed in 2010 in China's coal-fired power sector, with annualized mercury emission control costs of 2.7 billion Chinese Yuan. Under a projected 2030 Emission Control (EC) scenario with stringent mercury limits compared to Business As Usual (BAU) scenario, the increase of selective catalytic reduction systems (SCR) and the use of HI could contribute to 39 tons of mercury removal at a cost of 3.8 billion CNY. The economic analysis presented in this paper offers insights on air pollution control technologies and practices for enhancing atmospheric mercury control that can aid decision-making in policy design and private-sector investments.