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Meeting Minamata: cost-effective compliance options for atmospheric mercury control in Chinese coal-fired power plants

A new international treaty, Minamata Convention, identifies mercury (Hg) as a global threat to human health and seeks to control its releases and emissions. Coal-fired power plants are a major source of mercury pollution worldwide and are expected to be the first key sector to be addressed in China under Minamata Convention. A best available technique (BAT) adoption model was developed in the form of a decision tree and cost-effectiveness for each technological option. Co-benefit control technologies and their enhancement with coal blending/switching and halogen injection (HI) can provide early measures to help China meet the Minamata Convention obligations. We project future energy and policy scenarios to simulate potential national mercury reduction goals for China and estimate costs of the control measures for each scenario. The“Minamata Medium”scenario, equivalent to the goal of the US Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule, requires the application of activated carbon injection (ACI) and HI on 30% and 20% of power plants, respectively. The corresponding total costs would be $2.5 billion, approximately one-fourth the costs in the US. An emission limit of 3 mg/m3 in 2030 was identified as a feasible policy option for China to comply with Minamata Convention.

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Copyright 南京大学赵瑜教授研究组