Commercially available technologies for reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from coal-fired boilers are enabling industry compliance with today's regulatory requirements. Low-NOx burners (LNB) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology have enabled hundreds of power plants to reach mandated emission levels. For a number of plants, however, these technologies cannot meet the tighter limits at acceptable cost.
The Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory's (DOE/NETL) advanced NOx emissions control research and development (R&D) efforts will provide more cost-effective options for coal-fired power plants to comply with ever more stringent emission limits. Regulatory and legislative requirements have predominantly driven the need to develop NOx control technologies for existing coal-fired power plants. The most recent regulatory driver is the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which impacts 28 eastern states and the District of Columbia and will be implemented in two phases under a cap-and-trade program. The CAIR NOx emission caps are based on an equivalent emission rate of 0.15 pounds NOx per million Btu heat input (lb/MMBtu) for Phase I beginning in 2009 and 0.125 lb/MMBtu for Phase II beginning in 2015.
Advanced NOx emissions control technology R&D has been an important component of the Innovations for Existing Plants (IEP) Program conducted by DOE/NETL. The current short-term goal of the research is to develop advanced in-furnace technologies for coal-fired power plants capable of controlling NOx emissions to a level of 0.15 lb/MMBtu by 2007 and 0.10 lb/MMBtu by 2010, while achieving a levelized cost savings of at least 25% compared to state-of-the-art SCR technology. The program's long-term goal is to further develop a combination of advanced in-furnace and SCR control technologies to achieve a NOx emission rate of 0.01 lb/MMBtu by 2020.
Several recently completed DOE/NETL R&D projects were successful in achieving the short-term goal to control NOx emissions at 0.15 lb/MMBtu using in-furnace technologies. In anticipation of CAIR and possible Congressional multi-pollutant legislation, DOE/NETL issued a solicitation in 2004 to initiate R&D efforts targeting the 2010 goal of achieving 0.10 lb/MMBtu using in-furnace technologies in lieu of SCR. As a result, four new NOx R&D projects are currently underway.