Research Projects

Project at a Glance

Project Status: complete

Report Published June 1976:

Title: Control of oxides of sulfur from stationary sources in the South Coast Air Basin of California.

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Hunter, S C

Contractor: KVB, Inc.

Contract Number: 4-421

Research Program Area: Emissions Monitoring & Control

Topic Areas: Stationary Sources


A comprehensive inventory has been taken of oxides of sulfur (SOx)emissions from stationary sources in the South Coast Air Basin of California in 1974. Emissions from over 1,580 point sources were assessed from detailed device and fuel use information provided by device operators and local air pollution control districts. Tests to verify the inventory were conducted on 38 devices that emit SOx in the Basin.

Sulfur oxide emissions were estimated to be 342 tons per day on an annual average basis in 1974. This was lower by about 22% compared with 1973 as the result of reduced energy demand. Emissions in August 1974 were lower than the annual average but, compared with previous summers, emissions were increased as the result of curtailed natural gas supplies being replaced with low sulfur fuel oil. Power plants were the dominant source category, followed by refineries and carbon plants and a variety of smaller sources. Emissions from stationary sources are much larger than emissions from mobile sources on an overall basis. Local effects and effects of mobile catalytic converters on total SOx and sulfuric acid mist are assessed in comparison with stationary sources.

Forecasts made to 1980 indicate substantial increases over 1974 emissions as the result of increased fuel oil burning. This will occur in spite of large reductions in refinery sulfur recovery plant emissions. Power plants will burn the major portion of this oil but other oil burning devices are becoming increasingly significant.

Air quality standards for particulate matter and visibility are being exceeded in the basin, in part as the result of formation of sulfates from SOx. Gaseous SO2 air quality standards are also being exceeded but to a much lesser degree. It was not possible in this program to define the specific effects of stationary source SOx emissions on air quality nor to establish any limitations in these emissions that may be necessary to meet the standards. However, should further control of stationary sources be found necessary, the costs and effectiveness of potential reduction methods based on existing technology have been estimated for the most significant sources.

Limitation of fuel oil use is the most effective control in term of total reductions achievable. Securing substantial increases in natural gas supplies or power from outside the basin are the primary ways of achieving this limitation. Most other options for SOx control that were examined are expected to be more costly than existing controls.


For questions regarding research reports, contact: Heather Choi at (916) 322-3893

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