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2012 EPA Research Progress Report

Reducing Hazardous Air Pollutants from Industrial Boilers

New studies conducted by EPA researchers in 2012 are playing a critical role in Agency efforts to reduce hazardous air pollution while also making it easier and less costly for industries and boiler operators to comply with new National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) rules under the Clean Air Act.

Research results provided key information used in the development of emission standards for industrial boilers that EPA estimates will have a significant impact on protecting public health: preventing 6,500 premature deaths and 4,000 heart attacks a year starting in 2014. The rules are also expected to cut mercury emissions to the environment by as much as 90 percent.

EPA engineers at the Agency's 1.2-megawatt Multipollutant Control Facility in North Carolina can burn coal, oil, and gas under different operating conditions to test pollution control technologies.

The research was conducted at the 1.2 megawatt Multipollutant Control Research Facility at EPA’s Research Triangle Park campus in North Carolina where engineers can burn coal, oil and gas under different operating conditions to test a variety of different pollutant control technologies. There, researchers tested air pollution control technologies for particulate matter (PM) to determine if the technologies might also be effective in reducing additional pollutants regulated under the new boiler NESHAP rules. The research produced quality data that support the use of PM as a surrogate for regulating hazardous air pollutants.

Researchers also extensively tested another control technology called Dry Sorbent Injection (DSI) and showed its effectiveness in removing hazardous air pollutants.

EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation incorporated the research findings into the development of the NESHAP rules, allowing less costly, more efficient ways for boiler owners and operators to reach safer emissions targets.


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