NEWS RELEASE JUNE 2012
$1 Billon Market for Chemicals to Capture Mercury
Power and industrial plants will be accelerating their annual spending on chemicals to remove mercury. By 2015 the purchases will exceed $1 billion. This is the latest finding in the McIlvaine online report, Mercury Air Reduction Markets.
New standards limiting discharges of mercury from power plants, cement kilns and incinerators in the U.S. will boost the market for treatment chemicals. Until recently, it appeared that the bulk of the business would be captured by activated carbon manufacturers. Now it appears that bromine suppliers will be carving out a significant share.
When halogens such as bromine and chlorine react with elemental mercury they form soluble compounds e.g. mercury chloride which can be absorbed in conventional FGD scrubbers. Furthermore, when activated carbon is impregnated with halogens it is considerably more effective in capturing the elemental mercury. Bromine has proven to be considerably more effective than chlorine.
Calcium bromide can be added to the coal and at various points in the air pollution control system prior to the wet scrubber. The wet FGD system has proven effective in removing more than 90 percent of the mercury in the ionic form. Therefore, the calcium bromide-wet scrubber combination offers an alternative to the activated carbon-dry injection approach. However, not all power plants will want to make the investment in the wet scrubbers and will consider alternatives for SO2 removal.
The U.S. represents more than 90 percent of the total market for capture of mercury from stack gases. The U.S. electricity generators will be making most of the purchases. However, there will be significant markets in cement and industrial boilers. There is already a market in waste incinerators.
Most of the non-U.S. market is presently in waste incineration. This includes both municipal and hazardous waste. There are additional markets in sewage sludge incineration, crematories and mining.
One reason that European, Japanese and Korean power generators are not specifically regulated for mercury emissions is that nearly all the power plants have wet scrubbing systems and are already removing most of the mercury. These power plants can increase mercury removal with bromide additions.
China is seriously investigating mercury removal technologies. It operates more coal-fired boilers than all the countries of Europe combined, so it is the largest mercury emitter. It has equipped most of its plants with SO2 wet scrubbers. Therefore, it is focusing on chemical additives such as bromine to improve scrubber capture.
In the U.S. the market for removal of mercury has now been quantified by the new proposed Utility Toxic Rules (MATS), the final Industrial Boiler Rules and the final Cement MACT Rules. The Utility Rules will have most of the impact on the mercury control market. The original rule covered just mercury, but was struck down. The rule which is in place covers air toxics including metals other than mercury and toxic gases such as hydrogen chloride.
For more information on Mercury Air Reduction Markets, click on: http://www.mcilvainecompany.com/brochures/air.html#n056