NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                                MARCH 2013

Growth of the Mercury Reduction Market Hard to Predict

The McIlvaine forecast for the use of activated carbon and bromine and the investment in hardware for mercury reduction is varying greatly from month to month.    Annual future purchases will be between $500 million and $1 billion worldwide, but there are many variables which will determine where within that range the actual numbers fall.

The market for mercury control for waste-to-energy plants is growing steadily, and there are few variables which could drastically alter the forecasts. However, the waste-to-energy market is small in comparison to the power plant market. This market is much more difficult to predict.

The market for mercury control in coal-fired power plants is subject to major variables including:

  • Timing
  • Improved performance for some of the options

Timing: Some U.S. power plants are already reducing mercury emissions based on state regulations and on a federal subsidy for refined coal. Regulations requiring mercury reduction by all power plants has been promulgated, but there are some delays in implementation. Similar regulations have also been promulgated for industrial boilers and cement plants, but they are also subject to some uncertainties.

Regulations in other countries are under consideration, but none have as yet promulgated regulations which would require extensive mercury reduction.

Improved performance of some of the options:  One activated carbon supplier has demonstrated a new product which is not brominated but relies on bromine introduced with the coal.  The amount of carbon required to meet a given efficiency level is as low as 25 percent of that required with a standard brominated product. 

The success of this product would reduce the market for activated carbon and increase the market for the direct use of the chemical.  There are potential advances in the use of scrubbers which would also change the balance in favor of the direct use.

On the other hand, the same carbon supplier has demonstrated an activated carbon which can perform well in the presence of SO3. This could justify utility decisions to spend more on carbon, but eliminate the need for sorbent injection just for SO3 capture.

For more information on Mercury Air Reduction Markets, click on: