NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                    DECEMBER 2014  

SCR Coal-fired Catalyst Sales to Exceed $1 Billion By 2017

The accelerated program to retrofit coal-fired boilers in China will boost the world market for replacement catalyst to over $1 billion/yr by 2017.  This is the latest forecast in NOx Control World Markets published by the McIlvaine Company.

China announced plans to retrofit 400,000 MW of existing coal-fired boilers with SCR in 2012.  All new plants include SCR. The retrofit program has taken place much faster than anticipated.  Since catalyst replacement takes place at intervals from 3-5 years, the accelerated program impacts replacement catalyst sales in 2017.  The program caused a huge peak in world SCR system orders in 2013-14 and will cause a big peak in catalyst replacement orders in 2016-17.

There are several variables which will impact the size of the catalyst market:

  • Catalyst life
  • Competition with regenerated catalyst
  • Catalyst efficiency on NOx
  • Catalyst efficiency on mercury oxidation and SO3 minimization

Catalyst life varies from installation to installation.  Certain elements in the coal can adversely affect catalyst life.  Plant operation is also a variable.  Catalyst regeneration has become a substantial business with a significant percentage of the market served by regenerated rather than new catalyst.

The cost of catalyst is a function of the required NOx removal.  More catalyst is required to reach higher efficiency levels.  The cost per unit is affected by enhanced designs to improve mercury oxidation while minimizing SO3.  So the combination results in higher quantities and higher unit costs. There has been a shortage of catalyst in China resulting in catalyst prices equal to or exceed those in other countries.  This price level is expected to drop as additional capacity comes in to play.

China has a new goal for ultra low emissions from power plants. It has been shaped by the severe smog problems in large cities.  The new goal for NOx is a limit of 50 mg/Nm3. The target for SO3 of 5 mg/Nm3 and mercury of 3 ug/Nm3 will dictate the use of expensive catalyst. This low emission rate makes China a leader in pollution control around the world.  It already is purchasing more SCR systems than all the other countries combined. It will soon be purchasing more catalyst than the other countries.

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