Flue gas desulfurization (FGD) is a process that removes sulfur dioxide from flue gas before its emission. This is done during combustion in fossil fuel power plants such as coal and oil fired combustion units. When coal or oil is burned to produce energy, about 95% of the sulfur is converted into sulfur dioxide under standard temperature conditions. FGD can be characterized into wet & spray dry scrubbing, wet sulfuric acid process, SNOX flue gas desulfurization and dry sorbent injection system based on methods of desulfurization. Flue gas desulfurization technology has gained importance as a result of increasing air pollution due to sulfur dioxide released into atmosphere during combustion processes. Flue gas desulfurization market has witnessed a significant growth in recent years due to stringent government policies relating to emissions of harmful gases in the environment.
Additionally, increasing demand for electricity coupled with dependence on coal for power production will further boost the demand for FGD systems. Rapid industrialization and increasing need for electricity in emerging economies is expected to boost the demand for flue gas desulfurization systems in future. Technological advancements in development of highly efficient systems may provide market participants with new opportunities. Additionally, decreasing capital cost of FGD systems might provide opportunities for new participants in the market. However, operation and maintenance costs increase as a result of many reagents that are required to treat sulfur content in gases. Disposal of waste as a result of FGD processes considerably increases the operation and maintenance cost of flue gas desulfurization systems. Moreover, availability of alternative methods such as hydrodesulfurization, fluidized bed combustion and THIOPAQ may hinder the market growth in future.
There are two types of technologies used for flue gas desulfurization - wet and dry FGD systems. In dry FGD systems, reagents such as lime and limestone are injected directly into flue gas to remove sulfur dioxide, whereas in wet FGD systems, reagent is added to water to remove sulfur dioxide. Wet FGD systems are widely used in comparison to dry FGD and are expected to maintain dominance over the forecast period owing to high efficiency and low maintenance.
Application segments of flue gas desulfurization market include new FGD systems and reagents & replacements. Increasing electricity demand in emerging economies such as China and India owing to rapid industrialization and urbanization is expected to increase the number of coal fired power plants. This in turn is expected to boost the demand for new FGD systems in the market. Demand for reagents & replacements was primarily for repair of parts such as pump impellers, nozzles, valves and filter belts among others in established FGD systems. Increasing use of reagents such as lime stone, dibasic acid and sodium hydroxide is further expected to boost the growth of reagents & replacements application segment in the market.
Asia Pacific emerged as the largest region for flue gas desulfurization market accounting for more than half of the market share in 2013, owing to stringent government regulations and presence of large number of coal fired power plants in India and China. Additionally, rising concerns over industrial air pollution is also a major driver of FGD market in this region. North America and Europe accounted for over 40% of the market share in 2013. The market in this region is primarily driven by demand for new FGD systems to retrofit existing power plants. In addition, replacement of obsolete parts in existing flue gas desulfurization systems is expected to boost the demand for flue gas desulfurization systems in the region.
Some of the major companies in global flue gas desulfurization market include Alstom S.A., Babcock & Wilcox, Siemens Energy, Thermax, Ducon Technologies Inc., Hamon Research-Cottrell, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Marsulex Environmental Technologies. Other companies include China Boqi, Chiyoda Corporation, Hitachi Power Systems America Ltd., Marsulex Environmental Technologies and Lonjing Environment Technology Co. Ltd.