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Clear the Air – Meeting With John Tsang Chun-Wah

Consultation on the 2008/09 Policy Address to be delivered by Donald Tsang, Chief Executive.

  • Energy :

The recent agreement signed between the HK Govt and the mainland for the supply of gas to the SAR is a welcome step towards cleaning up electricity generation within Hong Kong. (Power generation by gas is 60% efficient and by coal only 38% since gas burns at approx 500degrees hotter than coal).

However Turkmenistan gas won’t be flowing into Hong Kong CLP power station before 2013 at least. Hong Kong Electric (HKE) already has its own LNG gas supply from Da Peng 93 kms pipeline but only has 335 Mwh capacity of gas generation.

China Light & Power (CLP) generated 23% of its output in 2007 by burning 2.5 billion m3of gas. HKE generated 17% of its output in 2007 by gas.

Until such time as Hong Kong gets a guaranteed stable source of gas supply, CLP and HKE will have to burn more coal to match current production rates. In addition CLP needs to increase its sales to Southern China to help offset the burning of high polluting sulphur fuel by factories currently using their own generators due to a lack of grid supply.

We are aware steps are just now being taken by the two power companies to meet the 2010 targets and reduce emissions due to coal burning through the installation of FGD equipment and NOx burners – however recent research conducted by Clear The Air with what has been already implemented in the US revealed that NOx burners definitely increase the amount PM 2.5 released into the atmosphere since the Electrostatic precipitators in the stacks cannot catch the PM2.5.

It is precisely these PM 2.5 particles that contribute to our bad air quality, reduce the visibility and increase the burden of our healthcare to combat asthma and all kinds of respiratory diseases affecting all including the children. At the scale of the US, and based on published scientific studies alone, the American EPA estimates that the most likely benefits of meeting the revised 24-hour PM 2.5 standards will range from US$17 billion to US$35 billion.

How can we now immediately and drastically reduce PM 2.5 levels and clean our filthy air ?
It is by the use of agglomerators – the technology exists it is proven largely in Australia , USA and Poland; CLP would have to install 2 agglomerators per boilers that means 16 in total (15 more to install).

Today, only one is installed. At an average cost of HKD 10M for purchase and installation this means a total bill of HKD 150M, (or 10 days of CLP’s current summer cost for its supply of coal).

Let’s keep in mind that the PM 2.5 are the ultra fine particles that refract the light and cause our “haze” and stay in the lungs for the long term – they are the most harmful ones – the NOx burners cause the soot particles to superheat, crack and break into superfine particles and escape –

What agglomerators do, they charge them with an electrostatic device which causes them to cling to larger soot particles which the precipitators then catch. The agglomerator technology can collect more than 75 % of those superfine particles currently emitted from the stacks of CLP and HKE, They are easily retrofitted to meet with the 2010 emissions caps proposed by the HK Government.

Mr Tsang, the agglomerators are THE answer to the air pollution we will be facing until LNG comes significantly into play.

Meanwhile Hong Kong needs to mandate to use of low sulphur bunker fuel in maritime use here and to consider mandating aircraft run their engines for 2 minutes at half throttle prior to take off to remove the unburnt JetA fuel blasted in the Tung Chung air.

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