Air Pollution Control Technologies for Coal-Fired Power Plants

Published - Jun 2002| Analyst - Carolyn Bailey| Code - EGY030A
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Report Highlights

  • Under current regulations, the market for air pollution control technologies for coal-fired power plants is expected to decline to $1.76 billion at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 1.7% after the peaking of the NOx controls market around 2003 and 2004.
  • However, market projections through 2006 analyze new equipment installations for five different regulatory scenarios with 2007-2008 compliance targets.
  • Under the other scenarios, average annual growth ranging from 3.2% is expected, primarily as a result of mercury controls that will impact the market starting in 2005.
  • The greatest potential lies in a three-pollutant scenario, that includes a MACT regulation for mercury, where the market could experience an AAGR of 16.8%, reaching $4.2 billion in 2006.
  • The scenario involving control of four pollutants is not considered a likely regulatory scenario because it would be cost-prohibitive, resulting in no new coalfired capacity in the future, and low growth.


For decades, the U.S. has relied on coal-fired electric-generating plants as the foundation of its central power system. However, coal has received much criticism as a power-generation fuel source because of its contribution to air pollution. New air emissions standards over the past decade have resulted in a re-evaluation of coal as a fuel source and the development of new technologies for reducing plant emissions. As deregulation of the utility market proceeds and the nation's energy requirements increase, the need for cost-effective and environmentally compliant technologies will also increase. This Communications Co., Inc. (BCC) report analyzes the trends and developments of the rapidly changing U.S. market for air pollution control technologies for coal-fired power plants. The report provides an overview of the coal-based power industry, including history, key regulations, types and characteristics of plant emissions, types of emission-control technologies, industry structure, and future trends. Market forecasts are included for each major technology type and for technology categories within the major technology types.


During recent years, much emphasis has been placed on the development of air pollution control technologies that will allow the continued use of coal as an energy source while meeting the stringent requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA) Amendments of 1990. With many clean coal technology research and development projects in the pipeline and several impending CAA milestones during the study period, this Opportunity Report will provide stakeholders with market projections based on the integration of all available information at this key juncture. The report is designed to provide information of a professional nature, and the technical data are dependent on the accuracy of data provided by manufacturers, researchers, and government sources that make up the BCC, Inc. database. The report is not intended to be an endorsement of any energy source, company, or technology.


The report will be essential for vendors, research and development organizations, investors, and engineering and construction firms who are faced with complex decisions involving the future directions of energy development. It will also prove to be valuable to government agencies, legislators, policymakers, and other stakeholders.


The report provides an analysis of the market for air pollution control technologies for both utility and nonutility coal-fired power plants. It includes technologies designed for retrofitting existing plants to meet new standards, as well as technologies for repowering existing facilities and for new plant construction. The report characterizes the types of air emissions associated with coal-based power systems and the key regulations that drive technology requirements. It evaluates the current R&D status and effectiveness of control technologies for sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), carbon dioxide (CO2), and air toxics such as mercury and trace metals. The report also provides a detailed analysis of the current (2001) market, market forecasts through the year 2006 for each major technology, and technology patent information. An extended list of companies, coded according to the products and services they provide, is included in Appendix B.


The methodology for the study consists of the evaluation and integration of a wide range of information regarding the complex set of factors that will affect the market for pollution control technologies. The projections are based on evaluation of the cost and effectiveness of available technologies and the status of coal-fired plant repowering projects, retrofits, and new-capacity planning.


Carolyn Doty is president of Doty, Inc., a risk management firm specializing in all aspects of environmental risk management, including technology evaluation, environmental management, and regulatory compliance. A former researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the author has been involved in a number of high-profile research and methodology development projects in the areas of risk assessment and risk policy, as well as having also worked extensively in the private sector, including the petroleum and utility industries.

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