FGD Market & Power Generation: A Transformative Impact

As per Inkwood Research, the global flue gas desulfurization market is expected to project a CAGR of 4.90% during 2023-2032. Ongoing changes in electricity production methods are altering, with flue gas desulfurization (FDG) emerging as a key technology. Strict environmental regulations for lower sulfur emissions drive the growing use of FGD technologies in power generation. Power plants are adopting advanced solutions like FGD to meet these standards, while governments globally incentivize their integration, creating a favorable business environment.

Increased awareness of the harmful effects of sulfur emissions on air quality and public health has driven the power industry to proactively adopt FGD. Regulatory mandates, environmental awareness, and the need for improved operational efficiency in power generation promote the FGD. It is positioned as an essential component for cleaner and more sustainable energy production.

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Major Advancements in the Flue Gas Desulfurization Market

  • Babcock &Wilcox, in January 2023, successfully acquired all the business assets and technologies of Hamon Research-Cottrell Inc. This strategic acquisition serves to boost B&W’s comprehensive portfolio of advanced air quality control system (AQCS) technologies and processes. Among the notable additions are wet flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems, commonly known as scrubbers. The expanded portfolio now encompasses a specialized wet gas scrubber explicitly designed to provide for the needs of the oil and gas refineries.
  • The commissioning in January 2021 phase commenced for Hamon’s seawater flue gas desulfurization (FGD) system at the Tanjung Jati B 5&6 power plant in Indonesia. Distinguished as one of the largest seawaters FGD systems globally, each unit boasts an impressive wet flue gas flow of 3,300,000 Nm3/h.

Rising Electricity Demand: China and India Fuel Coal Growth

  • As the demand for electricity rises globally, power plants are under increased scrutiny to adhere to stringent environmental regulations. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Coal 2022 Report states that the demand for coal in China has grown further by 4.6% at 4519 million tonnes in 2022 in comparison to the previous year. 
  • With a growth rate of 6.9% in 2022, India’s economy prospered. Eventually, the demand for coal increased by more than 8% to a total of 1155 million tonnes, making it the only country outside of China to surpass the 1.1 billion tonnes threshold.

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Environmental Effect of Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) Systems

  • Flue gas desulfurization technologies wield a transformative influence on power generation, particularly in addressing environmental concerns and advancing sustainability. By significantly decreasing sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions, FGD systems are important in powering cleaner air and improving public health. 
  • The reduction of SO2 emissions curtails air pollution and mitigates the adverse effects of acid rain, contributing to the preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity. Beyond air quality improvements, FGD technology emerges as a key player in the global effort to mitigate climate change. By capturing and removing sulfur compounds, FGD aids in compliance with emission standards and diminishes the carbon footprint associated with traditional coal-fired power plants. 
  • However, the environmental impact extends to waste generation and water consumption. As FGD systems produce by-products, it becomes imperative to implement sustainable disposal strategies to minimize ecological consequences. Moreover, addressing water consumption concerns by optimizing FGD processes is in accordance with the goal of ensuring a balance between power generation and environmental sustainability.

FGD Market: Compliance with Emission Regulations

Flue gas desulfurization (FGD) technology assists in helping power plants comply with the progressively stringent environmental regulations governing sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions. As governments worldwide intensify their focus on reducing air pollutants, particularly SO2, power plants face the challenge of meeting and exceeding these ever-evolving standards. FGD systems are engineered to capture and remove sulfur compounds from flue gases, ensuring that power plants can achieve the required emission levels.

Further, the implementation of FGD is a proactive investment in sustainable and responsible power generation. Power plants adopting FGD technology demonstrate a commitment to environmental stewardship, public health, and the well-being of surrounding communities. This commitment not only ensures compliance with existing regulations but also positions power plants favorably in anticipation of future regulatory developments. 

For instance, in India, the regulation of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions is governed by the Environment (Protection) Act, which establishes graded standards based on the location of the power plant and the type of fuel utilized.

Similarly, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for sulfur dioxide (SO2), delineating the upper permissible levels of SO2 in the outdoor air. 

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Technological Advancements in FGD Technology

  1. Advanced scrubbing materials, such as modified amines and ionic liquids, represent an eminent advancement in FGD systems, contributing to substantial reductions in water and energy consumption. 
  2. This progress translates into a dual benefit for power plants, as lower operating costs and a diminished environmental footprint become achievable objectives. 
  3. The integration of high-efficiency absorbents like modified amines and ionic liquids is proving transformative, enabling power generation facilities to enhance their sustainability and cost-effectiveness simultaneously. 
  4. The emergence of dry scrubbing technologies employing magnesium oxide is gaining prominence within the FGD domain. Characterized by simplified design and reduced water usage, these technologies further underline the market’s commitment to resource efficiency.

Revolutionary reactor designs in FGD technology are reshaping power generation, significantly enhancing efficiency and reducing costs. Innovations like pulse-jet spray powers and structured packing modules improve gas-liquid contact, elevating the efficiency of SO2 removal for more compact FGD systems.

As technological advancements continue to influence the FGD market globally, the persistent demand to enhance sustainability and improve the effectiveness of emission control solutions is expected to drive the market growth of flue gas desulfurization (FGD) during the forecast period.

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By Vani Punj


No, FGD technology is applicable to various types of power plants, including those using coal, oil, and gas. Its versatility allows it to address sulfur dioxide emissions across different fuel types.

Implementing FGD poses several challenges, encompassing the upfront investment required for system installation, the handling of by-products generated in the process, and the potential energy consumption. Ongoing research endeavors are dedicated to mitigating these challenges, aiming to enhance the economic viability of FGD technology.