Has the environmental performance of large combustion plants in the European Union improved?

Policy Question
  Indicator codes: INDP 006
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Key messages

(16 Nov 2017)

  • Large combustion plants are responsible for a significant proportion of anthropogenic pollutant emissions. In 2015, large combustion plant emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) accounted for 44 % and 14 %, respectively, of EU-28 totals.
  • Since 2004, emissions from large combustion plants in the EU-28 have decreased by 77 % for SO2, 49 % for NOx and 81 % for dust.
  • The largest plants (greater than 500 megawatt thermal (MWth)) account for only 24 % of large combustion plants but are responsible for around 80 % of all large combustion plant SO2, NOx and dust emissions. In 2015, of a total of 3 418 large combustion plants, 50 % of all emissions came from just 40, 89 and 47 plants for SO2, NOx and dust, respectively.
  • One indicator of the environmental performance of large combustion plants is the ratio between emissions and fuel consumption (i.e. the implied emission factor). The implied emission factors for all three pollutants decreased significantly between 2004 and 2015 for all sizes of large combustion plant.

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