Research Projects

Project at a Glance

Project Status: complete

Report Published August 1978:

Title: Feasibility of installing sulfur dioxide scrubbers on stationary sources in the South Coast Air Basin of California. Volume I: Executive summary. Volume II: Technical Discussion

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Leo, P P

Contractor: Aerospace Corporation

Contract Number: A6-211-30

Research Program Area: Emissions Monitoring & Control

Topic Areas: Area Sources, Costs, Stationary Sources


The feasibility and costs of flue gas scrubbing were determined for retrofitting eight selected oil-fired power plants and five industrial sources of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions in the Los Angeles area. Sulfur dioxide scrubbing to achieve the equivalent of 0.05-percent sulfur oil (90 percent SO2 removal from 0.5 percent sulfur oil) for the utility installations and the removal of approximately 90 percent SO2 from the other sources were evaluated. The major emphasis on feasibility in this study was for physical installation of the scrubbers.

The power plants selected within the scope of this study represent approximately 80 percent of the fossil fuel-fired power plant generating capacity in the South Coast Air Basin. The SO2 emissions from the five other sources studied are typical of boilers burning carbon monoxide in flue gas from fluid catalytic cracker units, petroleum coke calcining kilns, and sulfuric acid plants. They currently produce SO2 emissions equivalent to approximately 18 percent of the emissions now being emitted from the eight power plants.

Technical feasibility for SO2 removal was established on the basis of the lime-limestone nonregenerable scrubber technology demonstrated in Japan and on units currently being installed and operated in the United States. Other factors such as compatibility with facility operations, space requirements, waste handling, and disposal were examined. Power, water, and flue gas reheating requirements were also addressed.

It was concluded that all of the sites studied can be retrofitted with wet nonregenerable scrubbers capable of removing SO2 to the levels specified. The degree of difficulty of the scrubber installations varied considerably. Some plants have relatively open areas near the stack, whereas others involve a difficult siting problem. Disposal of scrubber wastes produced from the scrubbers does not appear to present a significant handling problem or impact on existing Class I landfill disposal sites in Los Angeles County.

Capital investment estimates reflecting a range of retrofit complexity and redundancy factors are provided. Corresponding annualized charges in terms of mills per kilowatt hour, dollars per ton SO2 removed, and dollars per ton product, as appropriate, are reported. The credit resulting from the burning of 0.5 percent sulfur oil by the utilities rather than the 0.25 percent currently in use is also identified.

This report was submitted in fulfillment of Contract Number A6-211-30 by The Aerospace Corporation under sponsorship of the California Air Resources Board. Work was completed as of June 30, 1978.


For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Heather Choi at (916) 322-3893

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