Ozone pollution in India due to power plant emissions

Coal is the primary fuel for electricity generation in India and its usage is continuously increasing to meet the energy demands of the country. This paper presents emissions from thermal power plants in India and contribution of power plant emissions in the formation of ground level ozone which shows considerable impact on environment. The emission estimates are based on a model in which the mass emission factors are theoretically calculated using the basic principles of combustion and operating conditions. Future emission scenarios for the period up to 2020-21 are generated based on the estimates of the nine years from 2001-02 to 2009-10. Power plants in India use different qualities of coal, different combustion technologies and operating conditions. As a result, these plants have differences in achieved efficiencies (coal usage per unit of electricity). The estimates show region wise differences in total emissions as well as differences in emissions per unit of electricity. Computed estimates show the total CO2 emissions from thermal power plants have increased from 323474.85 Gg for the year 2001-02 to 498655.78 Gg in 2009-10. SO2 emissions increased from 2519.93 Gg in 2001-02 to 3840.44 Gg in 2009-10, while NO emissions increased from 1502.07 Gg to 2314.95 Gg during this period. The emissions per unit of electricity are estimated to be in the range of 0.91 to 0.95 kg/kWh for CO2, 6.94 to 7.20 g/kWh for SO2, and 4.22 to 4.38 g/kWh for NO during the period 2001-02 to 2009-10. The future emission scenario, based on the projected coal consumption in Indian thermal power plants by Planning Commission of India under ‘Business-as Usual (BAU)’ and “Best case Scenario (BCS)’ show the emission in the range of 714976 to 914680 Gg CO2, 4734 to 6051 Gg SO2 and 366 to 469 Gg NO in the year 2020-21. Increase in coal use in electricity generation by thermal power plants can significantly increase the emissions of greenhouse and polluting gases.

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