TAURON: mercury as the next challenge for power industry

The issues of mercury emission, methods of its removal and environmental impact were the main topics of the scientific conference organised on 13-14 May by the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków, TAURON and KIC InnoEnergy.

Polish industry - in particular, the power engineering sector - has been focusing on ecological and emission issues for years. Generation plants of TAURON Group incur significant investment expenditure aimed, inter alia, at minimising the environmental emission of noxious substances.

– Over the years, emission abatement measures, like public debates, have mainly focused on emissions of carbon dioxide or nitrogen oxides and sulphur. However, it is necessary to remember that besides these "classic" emissions new regulations should be also expected, related to pollutants occurring at micro concentration - such as mercury, classified as a particularly hazardous substance – says Dariusz Lubera, President of the Management Board of TAURON Polska Energia.

Over the recent years, the European Union and its individual Member States have been systematically tightening standards of permissible mercury environmental emissions and its concentrations in by-products of combustion.

- The ultimate strategy of the European Union concerning mercury, in accordance with the position of the Council of Europe which recommended the Commission to prepare a consistent strategy aimed at protection of human health or the environment against mercury release, will strive to define standards concerning emission of process products not only to air but also to water, inter alia, volatile ash and gypsum – highlights Stanisław Tokarski, Vice-President of the Management Board of TAURON Polska Energia for Strategy and Development. – The acquisition of mercury emission abatement technology and defining a possibility to implement technologies in hard coal-fired power plants using pulverised fuel boilers is particularly important in the light of the planned introduction of Mercury Convention.

Preceding potential regulations TAURON, in cooperation with the world of science, has been searching for innovative solutions in the area of mercury emission monitoring and abatement. The Group, together with the AGH University of Science and Technology has been carrying out a project (co-financed from the EU funds by the European Institute of Technology (EIT) through the Knowledge and Innovation Community - KIC), concerning mercury emission monitoring and abatement in coal gasification and combustion processes. Its aim is to define the scale of mercury emission problem in generating units of TAURON Wytwarzanie.

The demonstration installation for monitoring and abatement of mercury emission from coal combustion in pulverised fuel boilers operating under the project on the premises of Elektrownia Łaziska commenced the 20-week trial in mid-March.

- The plan of the research was prepared and is supervised by scientists from AGH. The studies are aimed at acquisition of data related to real mercury emission into the atmosphere and knowledge in the scope of mercury removal from flue gas, but mainly, at determining the most economically and technically effective method for active mercury emission reduction – explains Albert Kępka, President of the Management Board of TAURON Wytwarzanie.

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