Coal-fired power generation is water- and energy-intensive and is associated with high emissions. As a result, China has issued a strict emission policy ("ultra-low emission control") for the coal-fired power industry. This study investigated the water, energy and emissions nexus (WEEN), focusing on end-of pipe treatment technologies for the coal-fired power industry in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. The result revealed that the energy consumption for pollutant removal was 1.2 million tons coal equivalent (Mtce) for the 118 investigated plants in 2014. Of the energy consumed, 60%, 11% and 29% was used for SO2, NOx and dust removal, respectively. Water consumption for pollutant removal was 13% of total water consumption for electricity generation. The result implied that this policy could reduce SO2, NOx and dust emissions by 89%, 90%, and 88%, respectively, while consuming an average of 2% less energy and 8% more water as tradeoffs. Construction cost associated with implementing these technology changes could be as high as 5–14 billion yuan in total. The synergies and tradeoffs quantified in this study provide numerical information that could assist with making decisions on the most suitable technology sets for emission control with consideration of water, energy, emissions and cost.
Energy Policy – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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