In the early 2000s, China was the largest sulfur dioxide (SO2) emitter in the world, with 75% of its power generation coming from coal-fired thermal power plants. The country has adopted a regulatory framework to reduce air pollutant emissions drastically. The goal was to create positive impacts in terms of reducing local pollution, improving air quality, and reducing respiratory diseases.
All coal-fired thermal power plants in China were required to be equipped with desulfurization units by January 1st, 2010, failing which their operating licenses would be withdrawn. In the meantime, power plants emitting SO2 were subject to financial penalties.
Funding from AFD enabled the establishment of a desulfurization system in a coal-fired thermal power plant in Laibin, in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Province. Wet Flue Gas Desulfurization (FDG) technology, considered the best suited, was selected. The Laibin B power plant, with an installed capacity of two times 360 MW, was built under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) arrangement involving EDF and Alstom. It was commissioned in November 2000 and supplies over 10% of annual power generation in the province. It is the first BOT project in the power generation sector in China mobilizing international funds.
- 90% reduction of SO2 emissions from the Laibin B power plant after the commissioning of the desulfurization unit;
- Improvement of local air quality, which will contribute to reducing the emergence of respiratory diseases;
- From an economic perspective, the gypsum produced after flue gas desulfurization will be recovered.
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