As the US power generation industry transitions to new forms of energy in preparation for net zero carbon emissions future, Mitsubishi Power Americas has joined forces with the University of Central Florida (UCF) to develop a source of information that tracks nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.

Available at no cost to the public and interested parties, the Power Generation NOx Tracker is a website that utilises the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) database as analysed by UCF’s Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research (CATER) to show trends over time.

This marks the second such method for tracking launched by Mitsubishi Power after the 2017 launch of the Carnegie Mellon University Power Sector Carbon Index, which estimates the carbon dioxide (CO2) intensity of the U.S. power sector.

The detection and tracking of NOx is a way of ensuring that the public is kept safe from dangerous emissions. NOx emissions are pollutants produced in power plants, automobiles, boats, and heavy vehicles when nitrogen and oxygen react at high temperatures.

After the U.S. Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 raised the standards of NOx reduction in the power sector, the EPA reported a reduction of 87% in NOx emissions from power plants from 1995 to 2020.

NOx tracking data.

NOx tracking data.

Source: University of Central Florida

Commenting on the importance of reducing such emissions, Jayanta Kapat, engineering professor, UCF, and leader of CATER, said, “Innovation drive by industry and academia is changing the power generation landscape.”

“We need to make sure as we advance that we do so responsibly. There has been concern that as the power generation industry decarbonises, nitrogen oxides would become a problem; however, the tracker shows that nitrogen oxides have been declining significantly to low levels.”

In addition to tracking the cumulative percent change in NOx emissions, the NOx tracker was developed to follow the cumulative change in sulphur dioxide and overall power generated. Monitoring these changes allow for researchers and industry to solve technological challenges as the world moves closer to a greener future.

Paul Browning, President, CEO, Mitsubishi Power Americas, said, “Reducing power generation emissions, not only from carbon dioxide but also from nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides, is essential in the overall energy transition path our industry is on.”

He added that the NOx Tracker is yet another effort by Mitsubishi Power to bring transparency to air quality issues during this energy transition and to highlight the industry’s progress.

The tracker is available here: https://www.cecs.ucf.edu/nox/