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Reports

End derogations for polluting coal plants

Effective regulation of air pollutant emissions from coal-fired power plants could prevent 20,000 premature deaths every year.

http://airclim.org/acidnews/end-derogations-polluting-coal-plants

Establishing and enforcing air pollution standards that are in line with the best available techniques, could reduce the annual number of premature deaths in the EU caused by emissions from coal-fired power plants from 22,900 to 2,600, according to a new study by a coalition of environmental groups.

The report was published in October, ahead of an EU technical committee meeting on the final draft of the large combustion plant (LCP) BREF document. The report called on the Commission and member states to remove derogations and other loopholes from the draft BREF document.

According to the authors of the report, current legislation is failing to deliver its intended health benefits because special exceptions have been granted that allow for emissions that are higher than the agreed minimum requirements of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED). Currently more than half of the coal power plants in the EU have been granted permissions to pollute beyond the limits set in the IED, with serious implications for public health and the environment. The pollution from these plants alone was responsible for 13,700 premature deaths in 2013, which represented 60 per cent of all coal-related deaths in the EU, the report said.

Through the revision of the LCP BREF document, the EU and member states now have an opportunity to adopt improved environmental performance standards. By agreeing stricter standards and implementing effective emission limits on coal pollution, real progress can be made in improving the health of people across Europe.

The report also called on the Commission and member states to review the directive’s minimum binding emission limit values, and update them to reflect the levels set in the revised LCP BREF. Emission limits and monitoring requirements should reflect what is now technically possible to ensure that EU legislation serves as a driver towards improved environmental performance across the EU.

“The best available techniques we call for in this report are all tried-and-tested and were already being demonstrated under technically and economically viable conditions decades ago. The EU considers itself a world leader on environmental issues but when it comes to coal combustion, decision makers have their heads stuck in a dark cloud!”, says Christian Schaible, Policy Manager on industrial production at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB).

Medical professionals have expressed support for the report; “Air pollution kills,” says Professor Bert Brunekreef of the European Respiratory Society. “Experts in lung health want to see immediate remedial action. Inaction cannot be justified when it is human health and lives that are at stake.”

As there are no techniques that completely eliminate emissions from the burning of coal and with coal power plants responsible for 18 per cent of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions, the authors of the report conclude that truly lifting Europe’s Dark Cloud will require the complete phase-out of coal power.

“The health of European citizens cannot afford any further delay in enforcing new pollution standards. While the EU’s ultimate goal should be to commit to the complete phase-out of coal and to a transformation pathway to renewable energy and reduced energy consumption, the EU still needs to limit pollution from coal power plants with its deadly and costly impacts on people, health and the environment,” said Joanna Flisowska, Coal Policy Coordinator at CAN Europe.

Christer Ågren

The report “Lifting Europe’s Dark Cloud: How cutting coal saves lives” was produced jointly by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, WWF and Sandbag, and can be downloaded from: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B9LWbY1olzldSFF6TW1MZjBTUms

EEB press release on the outcome of the 20 October IED forum: http://www.eeb.org/index.cfm/news-events/news/now-the-talking-s-over-it-…

world gdp per region 2002

CEC Report: Electric Vehicle Battery Recycling to Surge

http://waste-management-world.com/a/cec-report-electric-vehicle-battery-recycling-to-surge

A new report outlining best practices to recapture and recycle the materials used in electric-drive vehicle (EDV) batteries once they reach end-of-life has been published by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC).

According to the CEC, an organisation intended to facilitate collaboration and public participation to protect the environment in North America the context of increasing trade and social links among Canada, Mexico, and the US, the market in North America for electric-drive vehicles has surged over the last 10 years and the supply of end-of-life batteries for EDVs is expected to continue to increase.

The report sais that this represents a vital opportunity to recapture and recycle the valuable materials used in EDV batteries, such as nickel, cobalt, steel, and other components.

The study—carried-out in partnership with Environment Canada, Mexico’s Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (Semarnat) and Instituto Nacional de Ecología y Cambio Climático (INECC), and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – examines how EDV batteries are currently managed at end-of-life across North America to best protect human health and the environment.

The report, Environmentally Sound Management of End-of-Life Batteries from Electric-Drive Vehicles in North America, warned that design changes to incorporate less costly materials in EDV batteries need to be assessed to ensure the continuing environmentally sound management of the batteries at end-of-life.

This report characterises the types, quantities, and composition of batteries used in EDVs in North America, and outlines best practices and technologies to support their environmentally sound management at end of life

Key Findings and recomendations

  • It is projected that about 276,000 EDV batteries will reach EOL in North America in 2015
  • Most of these batteries are likely to be nickel metal hydride (NiMH), which is the predominant battery chemistry used in HEVs
  • By 2030, almost 1.5 million EDV batteries will reach EOL. By that time, close to half the EOL EDV batteries will be lithium-based, with the remainder being NiMH batteries
  • The constituents of EDV batteries (mostly nickel from NiMH batteries and cobalt from Li-ion batteries) provide an economic incentive for recycling at this time. Battery designs are changing so that they contain less-valuable materials; this is a concern for the economics of future recycling efforts
  • Large auto manufacturers such as Toyota and Honda are establishing reverse supply chains to ensure that EOL EDV batteries are recovered and properly recycled
  • Companies already in the battery recycling business (Retriev, RMC, Umicore, Glencore/Xstrata, etc.) can process large-format NiMH and Li-ion batteries as long as they are broken down to smaller components (cells or packs). Companies with smelting operations (sometimes large global companies such as Umicore, Glencore/Xstrata, etc., with global supply chains) are interested in recycling EDV batteries because of their metal content
  • The economics of recycling EDV batteries depends on the value of the metals and other materials which can be recovered. In some cases, companies pay a credit against a processing fee. In other cases a tipping fee is charged
  • The recycling/processing infrastructure for EDV batteries is in its infancy, but large players are already in the market and are assessing options for future expansion. It is likely that more players will emerge over time as the supply of EOL EDV batteries increases.

According to the authors, governments should also be vigilant so that appropriate legislation is in place to support and promote the environmentally sound recycling of these batteries.

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