In 2014, China introduced an ultra-low emissions (ULE) standards policy for renovating coal-fired power-generating units to limit SO2, NOx and particulate matter (PM) emissions to 35, 50 and 10 mg m−3, respectively. The ULE standard policy had ambitious levels (surpassing those of all other countries) and implementation timeline. We estimate emission reductions associated with the ULE policy by constructing a nationwide, unit-level, hourly-frequency emissions dataset using data from a continuous emissions monitoring systems network covering 96–98% of Chinese thermal power capacity during 2014–2017. We find that between 2014 and 2017 China’s annual power emissions of SO2, NOx and PM dropped by 65%, 60% and 72%, respectively. Our estimated emissions using actual monitoring data are 18–92% below other recent estimates. We detail the technologies used to meet the ULE standards and the determinants of compliance, underscoring the importance of ex post evaluation and providing insights for other countries wishing to reduce their power emissions.
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The CEAP database that supports the findings of this study is available at http://www.ieimodel.org/. Supplementary Data 2 presents a summary of the CEAP dataset. The data regarding the compilation of the CEAP dataset include CEMS data collected from the platforms listed in Supplementary Data 9, and the unit-specific information provided in Supplementary Data 10. The data regarding the estimation of emission factors and absolute emissions include the stack concentrations presented in Fig. 1, Supplementary Figs. 1–3 and Supplementary Data 3, the flue gas rates provided in Supplementary Data 7 and 8 and the unit information provided in Supplementary Data 10 and 11. The data regarding the analysis of the determinants of early ULE compliance (region, fuel and capacity) are presented in Supplementary Figs. 4–9.
All computer codes generated during this study are available from the corresponding authors on reasonable request.
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This work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation for Outstanding Young Scholars (71622011), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71971007, 71988101 and 11771012), the National Programme for Support of Top Notch Young Professionals and the National Research Programme for Key Issues in Air Pollution Control (DQGG-05-07).
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Tang, L., Qu, J., Mi, Z. et al. Substantial emission reductions from Chinese power plants after the introduction of ultra-low emissions standards. Nat Energy 4, 929–938 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-019-0468-1
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