Update from MEC 13 in Krakow – Day 2

Last night delegates enjoyed a welcome reception in the exhibition area, generously hosted by BSEF. Some then made the most of the warm evening air in the picturesque central square in Krakow.

The second day of MEC 13 started with a session looking at the developments in monitoring methods for mercury. For those plants which have to monitor mercury for compliance purposes, the methods of choice are either CEM systems (continuous emission monitors), or the sorbent trap method. In terms of cost and simplicity, sorbent traps prevail and this has been the method of choice for the projects the IEA Clean Coal Centre has carried out on behalf of the UNEP (UN Environment Programme) in South East Asia, Africa and Russia. However, CEM systems can provide accuracy and real-time data that is vital for process control and can assist in the development of new control technologies.

A session on plant optimisation provided insight as to how operational changes can help reduce the challenges of emissions control, especially for lower quality coals and in plants with fluctuating loads. These topics have been the subject of several recent reports from the IEA Clean Coal Centre.

In the afternoon we returned to the topic of how tightened emission standards may be problematic in some regions. Qingru Wu from Tsinghua University in China (photo) sent a bit of a buzz through the room by suggesting that China is about to propose new mercury emission limits as part of their Minamata Convention ratification process. It would seem that the country is considering an emission limit of 5 micrograms/m3 by 2025 reducing to a limit of 1 micrograms/m3 by 2030. Meeting this standard will require mercury-specific control strategies at many Chinese plants and so a new technology market could emerge. Appropriately, Dr Wu’s presentation was followed by papers from Yonqun Zhao from HUST in China and Jin-ho Sung, from Yonsei University in South Korea, both presenting projects on novel new multi-pollutant control approaches being developed in Asia.

The day ended with a short walk from the meeting venue to Wierznyek, the oldest restaurant in Krakow, if not Poland, for a fantastic banquet sponsored by Cabot, and supported by Tekran.