Cleaner U.S. power plants reduce emissions

By on January 22, 2014

Emissions from coal-burning power plant (Credit: U.S. Department of Energy)

Researchers at University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say that carbon dioxide emissions at some U.S. power plants are down, according to a release from the university.

“Combined cycle” power plants that use natural gas and new technology to squeeze more energy from the fuel have seen the most decline, according to research published in Earth’s Future. These plants also release significantly lower amounts of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide.

Researchers found that coal-based power plants produced 915 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour of energy. Natural gas power plants produced 549 grams, while the combined cycle plants produced 436 grams.

As more electricity has being generated by the cleaner methods, researchers say emissions of other greenhouse gases are down 20 percent or more.

Images: Emissions from coal-burning power plant (Credit: U.S. Department of Energy)

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