Fuel Quality and Combustion Impacts on Emissions

Over the years, EPRI’s Integrated Environmental Controls program (P75) has done much work to evaluate the various factors affecting the performance of post-combustion environmental controls. However, the impacts of fuel quality and/or challenging combustion conditions on integrated post-combustion environmental controls have never been directly correlated, nor has guidance been documented regarding methods to minimize the negative impacts on post-combustion environmental controls performance resulting from fuel quality or combustion conditions.

This report provides a summary of the state of knowledge on the impacts of fuel quality and combustion operation on the performance and reliability of the most prevalent post-combustion environmental controls. A separate chapter is devoted to each of the various post-combustion environmental controls covered, including selective catalytic reduction (SCR), electrostatic precipitators (ESPs), baghouses (also called fabric filters), flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems, and sorbent injection systems. Each chapter includes an overview of the key challenges for the subject environmental control considered, a detailed discussion of how fuel quality and combustion affect performance and reliability, a summary of known best practices and solutions to minimize negative impacts when operating with lower quality fuels and/or challenging combustion conditions such as flexible operations, and recommendations for needed R&D.

Current plans are to use the results of this study to 1) move forward on the first-order R&D needs identified in this report and 2) integrate findings into comprehensive site-specific assessments in which the benefits of firing lower quality/lower cost fuels and deploying challenging combustion conditions will be weighed against all potential reliability and performance impacts.

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