Emissions into air

Fuel-based energy production creates emissions to air: carbon dioxide, advancing global climate change, as well as flue-gas emissions, like sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particles, causing local environmental and health impacts.

Nitrogen oxides are generated in all combustion from the nitrogen contained in the fuel and in the combustion air. Sulphur dioxide, in turn, is generated from the sulphur contained in the fuel. Sulphur is an impurity in, e.g., coal, peat and oil. Particle emissions are fine-grained ash generated primarily in the use of solid fuels.

Requirements are getting tighter

It is possible to decrease nitrogen, sulphur and particle emissions through fuel selections and various flue-gas cleaning technologies. The EU has set very strict limits for these emissions; meeting the requirements necessitates the use of Best Available Technology (BAT). Our nitrogen, sulphur and particle emissions have, in fact, decreased significantly in our European production over the past decades. Emission limits became even stricter when the Industrial Emissions Directive came into force in 2016. Our power plants meet the new emissions requirements, for the most part. Investments in air pollution control have to be made in upcoming years at the Suomenoja power plant and the Rejtana heat plant in Poland.

World-class combustion technology

Nitrogen oxide emissions from our power plants have been decreased primarily by developing the combustion technology. Additionally, our Meri-Pori power plant has a catalytic nitrogen removal system. We have world-class know-how in combustion technology, and, in fact, we have delivered combustion technology solutions also to other power utilities.

Sulphur emissions are decreasing

Our Meri-Pori and Suomenoja power plants are equipped with a desulphurisation plant. Sulphur emissions at our other coal- and peat-fired power plants have been decreased by acquiring low-sulphur fuels and by increasing the use of biomass. The flue-gas condenser completed in 2015 at the Joensuu power plant significantly reduces the plant’s sulphur and particle emissions. In Poland, we are constructing a new CHP plant; it will replace the old Zabrze and Bytom power plants by the end of 2018. The new plant will significantly reduce all emissions to air.

Stricter standards also in Russia

Currently over 70% of our SO2 and NOx emissions and over 95% of our particle emissions originate from our Russian production plants, where emissions are limited in accordance with Russian legislation. The new legislation currently being drafted in Russia will bring stricter emissions standards in the future. Also in Russia we can reduce emissions by combusting higher quality coal.

Emissions in 2015

In 2015, our thermal energy production generated 26,800 (2014: 28,700) tonnes of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, 19,900 (2014: 20,400) tonnes of sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions and 17,800 (2014: 21,300) tonnes of particle emissions. The decline in sulphur and nitrogen emissions was primarily due to the decrease in condensing power production in Finland. Carbon dioxide emissions are reported on the page Greenhouse gas emissions in 2015.

Fortum’s SO2, NOx and particle emissions in 2013-2015 (GRI G4-EN21)

85% (2014: 77%) of the flue-gas emissions (SO2 and NOx) and 98% (2014: 98%) of the particle emissions originated from the Russian operations. The most significant source of particle emissions (12,700 tonnes in 2015) was the Argayash power plant in Russia.

Our mercury emissions into air were 105 (2014: 126) kg.

The reporting of emissions from our European power plants is based on continuous measurement. At our Russian power plants and at most of our heat plants, emissions are calculated using fuel consumption data and specific emission factors. Specific emission factors can be based on measurements taken at regular intervals or on information from the equipment supplier.