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Lamma Island power station cleans up its act to meet pollution-reduction targets

Austin Chiu, SCMP

Hongkong Electric (SEHK: 0006) has installed new equipment at its Lamma Island power station, marking the completion of the first phase of a HK$1 billion project aimed at reducing emissions of gases that contribute to smog and acid rain.
The first phase of the project included the installation of a flue-gas desulfurisation system, which cuts sulfur dioxide emissions, and a burner system designed to produce less nitrogen oxides. The new kit is expected to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide by 45 per cent and of nitrogen oxides by 23 per cent.

Two more desulfurisation systems and another low-nitrogen-oxides burning system are to be installed by April.

The new desulfurisation equipment, using German technology, can remove 92 per cent of the sulfur dioxide content from coal smoke. The low-nitrogen-oxides burner system, from the US, cuts production of the gases by 60 per cent.

The firm also expects to boost the proportion of its power output produced by burning liquefied natural gas to 30 per cent by January, after the conversion of an oil-fired generating unit. It already has one LNG-powered generator.

Burning LNG does not produce sulfur dioxide or respirable suspended particles, so increasing its use would mean lower emissions, said Tso Che-wah, the company’s general manager for projects.

“With the emission-reduction programme, together with our plan to increase gas-fired generation to around 30 per cent, we are confident of achieving the government’s 2010 emissions targets,” Dr Tso said.

The government has set a target of cutting sulfur dioxide emissions by 45 per cent from 1997 levels. It wants to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide by 20 per cent and of respirable suspended particles and volatile organic compounds both by 55 per cent.

Dr Tso also said the company was working on the environmental- impact assessment for its proposed wind farm off Lamma Island, which would comprise 35 wind turbines with a generating capacity of 100 megawatts. The proposal would be ready for public consultation by the end of the year, he said.

Meanwhile, the Advisory Council on the Environment yesterday approved CLP Power (SEHK: 0002)’s proposal to build a wind farm off Sai Kung on the condition that it increase fisheries resources, maintain close contact with the fishery industry and strengthen environmental monitoring.

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