German coal plants can cut much more NOx
Germany’s fleet of hard coal-fired power plants could cut emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) in half tomorrow, if they used already-fitted pollution reduction equipment at full capacity. In Germany, a quarter of the NOx emissions come from the energy sector.
A report, commissioned by BUND and KlimaAllianz and prepared by independent environmental consultants Ökoburo, reveals that the owners of the country’s hard coal power stations choose to operate their NOx emissions abatement installations below capacity, resulting in a doubling of harmful emissions. If they were instead to meet an annual NOx limit of 85 mg/m3, Germany’s hard coal plants could cut their emissions by 26,700 tonnes, or 47 per cent.
Germany’s hard coal power stations, unlike the country’s hugely polluting lignite plants, are all fitted with catalytic equipment to cut NOx pollution. The amount of NOx the equipment removes from the plant’s emissions depends on the intensity at which it is operated. Removing more toxic pollution costs more money, so firms limit the use of their equipment.