WIT Press

Towards A North American Air Emissions Inventory: Electric Power Plants As A Case Study


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WIT Press


P. J. Miller & C. Van Atten


This paper discusses some of the challenges in compiling air emissions inventory information across North America, including issues of public accessibility of the data and differences in the methodologies used to monitor or estimate emissions in each country. The work described here focuses on one sector—fossil-fired electric power generation—as the initial case study. Using publicly available information, this paper describes the first-ever North American air emissions inventory at the individual power plant level for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury, and carbon dioxide. It also describes the availability of supporting information, such as fuel input and electricity generation output, that can provide useful quality checks on the reasonableness of the emissions information. Finally, it discusses the suitability of the available inventory information for certain policy goals in the North American context, specifically the public right-to-know, air quality modelling for international air quality management, and cross-border emissions trading. Keywords: emission sources, power plants, mercury, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, modelling, emissions trading. 1 Introduction The work presented here is a case study on the availability of comparable source-specific air emissions information across North America focusing on air emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) at North American electric power plants. The work covers annual emissions during 2002 of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), mercury (Hg) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Power plants burning fossil fuels are among the largest sources of


emission sources, power plants, mercury, sulphur dioxide, nitrogenoxides, carbon dioxide, modelling, emissions trading.