24 October 2007 – According to the latest forecasts in NOx Control: World Market, by 2011 the worldwide sales of NOx control systems and catalyst will exceed $5bn a year.
The sales of selective catalytic reduction systems will rise and fall year-to-year and country-to-country, while the catalyst sales will steadily increase, says the McIlvaine report.
The largest single market for NOx control is coal-fired boilers. US power plants will continue to buy more systems than those in other countries. Currently, only one third of coal fired plants in the United States have purchased selective catalytic reduction (SCR) or selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) systems, but this total will grow to 50 per cent by 2010 and 100 per cent by 2020.
All new US coal fired boilers will be equipped with NOx control equipment. Recent resistance to new plants based on greenhouse gas emissions will cause postponement of some construction, but the USA retrofit market will remain strong. Furthermore, the imposition of ambient particulate limits will force the individual states to ratchet down limits for industrial plants. Thus the general outlook in the USA is positive.
Europe is on a buying binge based on an approach to greenhouse gas reduction. Europeans believe that replacing old coal fired plants with new ones is the best way to reduce greenhouse gases. As a result, a large number of new coal fired boilers are under design and construction, each incorporating SCR technology.
China is now operating or has under construction 30 000 MW of SCR systems. Large numbers of additional systems are also planned. By 2020 China will be operating more SCR systems than any country in the world.
Currently only KWH is making catalyst in China, with most of the catalyst being imported from Japan, the United States and Europe. There are capacity increases underway in Japan, but they will not meet the growing worldwide demand.
The market for catalyst will expand as multi-pollutant capabilities are added. Manufacturers have developed catalysts with lower conversion rates of sulphur dioxide (SO2) to sulphur trioxide (SO3). These are more expensive than the standard catalyst.
The biggest challenge has been to develop catalysts with lower SO3 conversion rates, but with higher mercury oxidation rates. These catalysts will sell at a premium.
One way that greenhouse gas concerns will result in more rather than less implementation of SCR is through the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) scrubbers and CO2 sequestration. Very high levels of NOx removal will be required before the flue gas can be introduced into the CO2 scrubber. This will require larger SCR systems.