Responds to the "World's Most Severe" Emission Standard for Thermal Power

“At present, the thermal power industry has contributed more than one-third of China's nitrogen oxide emissions, and SO2 accounts for 1/2, which is also an important source of fine particulates.” Wang Kaiyu, deputy director of the Department of Science and Technology Standards Department of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, told the newspaper that the emission standards The revision must comply with national environmental protection goals and current feasible cleaner production and pollution control technologies to revise the emission control requirements. It cannot be considered that the discharge standards of pollutants in China are more appropriate and stricter than those in developed countries.

The standard that Wang Kaiyu said is the “Emission Standard of Air Pollutants for Thermal Power Plants” (GB 13223-2011) that began on January 1, 2012. This standard was issued jointly by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the AQSIQ. From the solicitation of opinions to the official announcement, it has caused many criticisms of the power industry and has been called the “most stringent” emission standard in the world.

The most controversial among them is the nitrogen oxide emission standard for coal-fired thermal power units, ie, the newly-built unit will begin on January 1, 2012, and the existing unit will perform 100 mg/m3 of nitrogen oxidation from July 1, 2014. Emission limits for pollutants (200 mg/m3 for certain types of special units); emission limits for 100 mg/m3 in the key areas.

The new standard means a significant increase in the cost of governance for the power industry. Wang Zhixuan, secretary-general of the China Electricity Association, has repeatedly stated publicly: "This stringent environmental protection standard is "fatal" for thermal power companies. Excessive environmental protection requirements for most power companies will only lead to two. As a result, the first one is the closure of the company and the second is the fraud."

In this regard, Wang Kaiyu stated that the addition of denitrification electricity prices and the increase of on-grid tariffs by the National Development and Reform Commission at the end of November last year can ease the financial pressure on the power industry to a large extent. “The thermal power industry should implement the scientific development concept in depth and put the current pressure on emission reductions. Translate into technological innovation."

When the three criteria for the most stringent emission standards are introduced to assess the adequacy of the new standards, they should not only pay attention to emission limits, but must also see differences in different environmental management methods.

Reporter: Some people think that the new standards require severe emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, dust, and mercury. They are stricter than Japan, the United States, and the European Union. They are the most stringent emission standards for thermal power plants in the world. . What do you think about this?

Wang Kaiyu: To revise pollutant discharge standards, it is necessary to comprehensively consider environmental quality requirements, environmental pollution status, and industrial economic and technological development levels. The developed countries have a relatively high level of technological and economic development in many areas. Their pollutant discharge standards are generally more stringent than those in China, but this does not mean that all of China's emission standards should be looser than those in Europe, America and Japan.

Here we need to pay attention to the following three points:

First, China's environmental situation is different from that of developed countries. At present, China is at a stage of rapid development in industrialization and urbanization. Coal-based energy consumption continues to increase, and the total amount of atmospheric pollutants is still high. Regional air pollution is becoming more and more obvious, which seriously threatens people's health. Environmental issues have risen to major livelihood issues related to social harmony. We must take effective prevention and control measures against major atmospheric pollution sources (at present, the contribution of thermal power industry to the emission of nitrogen oxides in China has exceeded 1/3, SO2 accounts for 1/2, and thermal power is also fine. An important source of particulate matter). According to the current feasible clean production and pollution control technologies to improve emission control requirements, it cannot be considered mechanically that China's pollutant discharge standards are more suitable than developed countries, and strict individual indicators are not appropriate. The environmental capacity is a constant, the pollutant discharge is within the environmental capacity, and the environmental quality is good, while the pollutant discharge is largely determined by the energy structure, energy consumption and industrial structure. Therefore, the development of more stringent emission standards for thermal power and other key industries or areas is an inevitable requirement for the development of China's economic environment.

Second, China's energy structure is different from that of developed countries. In recent years, with the sustained rapid growth of China's economy, China's power industry has achieved rapid development. By the end of 2010, China's installed power generation capacity reached 962 million kilowatts, of which thermal power accounted for 73%. Therefore, the difference in energy structure requires us to adopt more stringent control measures for coal-fired units and vigorously develop clean coal utilization technologies.

Third, there are differences between the pollutant discharge standards system in developed countries and China. At present, the control of pollutant emissions in developed countries has gradually shifted to the implementation of dynamic control based on BAT, which requires new or rebuilt enterprises or facilities to determine emission limits according to local environmental quality, total pollutant control requirements, and best available technology at the time. In terms of value, the “one plant and one standard” is implemented, and the emission requirements of enterprises issued by the environmental protection department in accordance with the law are stricter than the requirements of the discharge standards; while the conditions of China's management system, law enforcement ability and other conditions determine the use of pollutants in a certain period of time in the future. Emission standards This static control method. Due to the above differences, we should not only pay attention to the emission limits when assessing whether the new standards are strict and strict, but we must also be aware of the differences in environmental management methods reflected by different standards systems. In addition, the development and revision of environmental standards need to keep pace with the times. The current standards adopted by the EU are revised in 2001, and the standards implemented by the United States are revised in 2005. Some of the new standards revised in China are also more understandable than they are moderately tightened. of.

Reporter: Section 4.3 of the new standard has more stringent regulations for coal-fired power plants in special regions, but the specific scope and time of implementation are not yet clear. When will the introduction be possible? This may be followed by the implementation of three zones and six groups of air pollution prevention in the future. Is there a high degree of coincidence in the area of ​​joint control?

Wang Kaiyu: At present, the Ministry is preparing the “Regulations for Prevention and Control of Air Pollution in Key Areas (2011-2015)”, which will specify the specific scope and time for the implementation of special emission limits for atmospheric pollutants from thermal power plants. As the planning is still in the process of preparation and this year is reported to the State Council for approval, the specific scope and time for the implementation of special emission limits must be determined after the State Council releases the “Regulations on Prevention of Air Pollution in Key Areas (2011-2015)”.

Will harsh standards drag the industry?

Denitrification price subsidies and the introduction of feed-in tariffs have slowed the pressure on power plants.

Reporter: The new standard requires that all old power plants emit nitrogen oxides that need to reach 100 mg/m3 on July 1, 2014. This also means that the reconstruction of the existing 600 million thermal power installations will be completed within three years. How do you view this progress? For such a project, in addition to the denitrification subsidy policy, what follow-up policy actions will promote this progress?

Wang Kaiyu: First of all, the newly issued “Emission Standard of Air Pollutants for Thermal Power Plants” stipulates that the coal-fired generating units that need to be denitrified and reformed in the “Twelfth Five-Year Plan” are about 400 million kilowatts, accounting for 56.8% of the national assembly capacity of thermal power generators.

Next, the installation of flue gas and denitrification facilities for coal-fired generating units has been included in the national key areas of work. The State Council's “12th Five-Year Plan” energy-saving and emission reduction comprehensive work plan promulgated and implemented on September 1, 2011 (Guo Fa [2011] 26 No. ) expressly requires all existing coal-fired units with a stand-alone capacity of 300,000 kilowatts or more to be equipped with denitrification facilities.

In order to ensure the smooth progress of the denitrification reform project, in addition to support for denitrification electricity prices, the Ministry of Environmental Protection has signed the “Twelfth Five-Year Plan for Pollution Reduction Targets Responsibility” with local governments and key enterprises in accordance with the authorization of the State Council to implement work tasks and schedules. The fiscal, taxation, and financial sectors will also increase support for denitrification reforms on the basis of similar policies during the “11th Five-Year Plan,” such as providing support through channels such as state-owned capital operating budgets and special environmental protection funds, and increase the number of financial institutions. The credit support for emission reduction projects has provided tax incentives for industries that manufacture denitrification facilities and raw materials.

Reporter: Judging from current media reports, power companies complain about this policy generally and are concentrated on the transformation of old units. There are even opinions that such harsh standards may delay the industry.

Wang Kaiyu: The new standard has increased the control requirements for pollutant emissions. To do this, it needs to increase the investment in environmental protection. As a result, production costs increase and the profitability space shrinks. Enterprises can complain about this. However, as mentioned above, taking into account China's atmospheric environment, the development trend of thermal power industry, and the related level of clean production and pollution control technologies, the electric power industry must devote more efforts to shoulder more social responsibilities and pay a certain price. For the transformation of old units, the state has put forward strict requirements by issuing new standards, signing responsibility forms, etc., and through denitrification electricity prices and financial, financial and taxation methods to support and encourage enterprises to implement technological transformation and upgrade the level of industrial development from various sources. .

At present, the National Development and Reform Commission has conducted trials of denitrification electricity prices for coal-fired power generation enterprises that have installed and operated denitrification devices in 14 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government), including Beijing, and the standard is temporarily implemented at 0.8 cents per kilowatt-hour. At the same time, the on-grid tariffs for coal-fired power plants were raised at the end of November last year. These two policies, to a large extent, can ease the financial pressure existing in the power industry.

Negative impact on emissions trading?

It will not be difficult for the power plant to complete its tasks, and there is no problem of trading surplus indicators.

Reporter: The new standard has greatly increased the emission standards for sulfur dioxide. From the feedback of the power industry, it is considered that this standard is very strict and difficult to complete. What impact will such a strict target have on the forthcoming emissions trading? It will not be difficult for the power plant to complete its tasks, and there will be no problem of surplus indicators for trading.

Wang Kaiyu: We have fully considered this issue when we design the sulfur dioxide emission trading policy for the power industry.

The impact of the implementation of the new standard on emissions trading is mainly reflected in the narrowing of the transaction volume of sulfur dioxide and the increase in prices. Some enterprises that are unable to meet the emission standards face the elimination of units. Enterprises with low SO2 emissions and those that have eliminated excessive emissions will have surplus SO2 indicators entered into the market. New coal-fired generating units with large boiler capacity, high energy efficiency and high-efficiency desulphurization facilities can also be used to make SO2 emissions Low, surplus surplus sulfur dioxide trading volume. This is the direction that the government encourages, and it will not be difficult for the power plant to accomplish its task, and there will be no problem of trading surplus indicators.

Reporter: We have noticed that the mercury and its compounds are added to the new standard, and it is proposed that this index can be achieved through the cooperative control of dust removal, desulfurization, and denitrification. So whether the future will tighten the mercury indicator? What impact will this have on the thermal power industry?

Wang Kaiyu: Mercury is harmful to the human body. From the perspective of international experience, the control of mercury emissions is imperative. Developed countries such as Europe and the United States have also been adhering to the implementation of mercury emission standards for coal-fired power plants. China attaches great importance to the prevention and control of atmospheric mercury pollution.

In order to implement the mercury pollution prevention and control work, the Ministry of Environmental Protection is launching a pilot project to control atmospheric mercury pollution in coal-fired power plants. After the completion of the pilot, it will continue to improve the mercury emission targets based on the total amount of mercury emissions, control technologies, and economic costs.

The mercury removal technology of high-mercury coal is difficult and costly. In order to control mercury pollution, developed countries have used various methods to prohibit the use of high-mercury coal. Most enterprises in China use low-mercury coal, and new mercury emission standards are set in the emission standards of air pollutants in thermal power plants. Thermal power plants will achieve compliance without cost increase through collaborative control based on combined dust removal, desulfurization, and denitration technologies. The cost of companies using high mercury coal will increase significantly. Therefore, the new standard is conducive to guiding thermal power companies to choose low mercury coal.

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