The section provides details on how Eraring Energy monitors and controls air emissions.
Eraring Energy is a world leader in emission control and operates well below Department of Environment and Conservation guidelines. When fossil fuels such as coal are burnt in the presence of air several by-products are formed. Among these are particulates, carbon dioxide (CO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and oxides of sulfur (SOX).
Solid or liquid particles that may be suspended in the air are emissions known as particulates and can range in size up to 0.05mm in diameter. This includes the ash produced by the combustion of coal. To prevent the release of this matter into the environment, Eraring Power Station uses a fabric filter system with approximately 48,000 filter bags per unit. This allows 99.89% of the ash produced to be removed from the stack emissions.
Carbon dioxide results from the combustion of organic matter if a sufficient amount of oxygen is present. Carbon dioxide is monitored and reported to the Department of Environment and Conservation.
The high temperatures involved in the combustion of coal to generate electricity enable the formation of oxides of nitrogen. These high temperatures cause the nitrogen in the air to react with oxygen producing gasses such as nitrogen oxides. These are also formed by the oxidation of any nitrogen present in the fuel. At Eraring Power Station, low nitrogen burners are used to keep the production of nitrogen oxides to a minimum.
Oxides of sulfur are the result of the reaction of the sulfur in coal with the oxygen from air. This most commonly produces SO2, a precursor of acid rain. To prevent acid rain in our local community, Eraring Energy uses low sulfur coal which has a sulfur content of less than 0.5% where typical coal contains between 1% and 3%.
Eraring Power Station also monitors a number of other areas as part of its due diligence. Annual reports to the Department of Environment and Conservation cover a range of air emissions monitoring under our operating licence, National Pollutant Inventory and due diligence monitoring.