Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD): India gives coal-fired plants extra 2 years to install emissions equipment

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Source: The post is based on the article “India gives coal-fired plants extra 2 years to install emissions equipment” published in Indian Express on 7th September 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Power (MoP) has extended the deadline for coal-fired power plants to install Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) to cut sulphur emissions by two years.

What is Flue Gas Desulphurisation(FGD)?

Flue-gas desulfurization(FGD) is a set of technologies used to remove sulfur dioxide (SO2) from exhaust flue gases of fossil-fuel power plants and from the emissions of other sulfur dioxide-emitting processes such as waste incineration.

Why is it important to install FGD plants in India?

India continues to occupy the top spot among SO2 emitters. In 2019, India emitted 21% of global anthropogenic (human-made) SO2 emissions nearly double that of the second-ranked global emitter, Russia.

Thermal utilities which produce 75% of the country’s power, account for some 80% of industrial emissions of sulphur and nitrous oxides, which cause lung diseases, acid rain and smog.

Every single day delay in implementation of prescribed norms and not installing the FGD system is causing huge health and economic damage to society.

The high levels of damaging SO2 pollution in India are avoidable much sooner as FGD systems have proved successful in reducing emission levels in China, the country responsible for the highest level in 2005.

What was the initial deadline for the installation of FGD plants?

India had initially set a 2017 deadline for thermal power plants to install FGD units to cut Sulphur emissions.

The deadline was later changed to varying deadlines for different regions, ending in 2022, and further extended last year to a period ending in 2025.

Now, the power plants will be forcibly retired if they do not comply with norms on sulphur emissions by end-2027.

Plants near populous regions and the capital New Delhi will have to pay penalties to operate from end-2024, while utilities in less polluting areas will be penalized after end-2026.

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