This investment in 358 000 MW of FGD represents a value based on international pricing of over US$100 billion.

Despite the fact that prices of FGD systems in China are 50% lower, this market represents a big potential for suppliers of components and consumables, notes McIlvaine Company.

Chinese FGD systems use more synthetics and less alloy metals than European or US FGD systems. Chinese fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) suppliers have teamed with international companies to offer scrubber shells and stack liners of FRP.

Chinese system suppliers have primarily teamed with licensors from Japan, Europe and the USA. Most of the systems have been wet using limestone as the reagent. Recently a system which will utilise ammonia to make ammonium sulphate fertiliser was awarded to a Chinese/US team. Along the coast there have been some systems designed to use seawater for scrubbing. The world's largest fluid bed dry lime absorber has also been awarded by a Chinese utility.

A number of steps are being taken to improve the operations of existing installations. This will provide a retrofit opportunity of sizable proportions. Offshore suppliers of instrumentation and optimisation systems have a big opportunity in this market.

China's FGD market

The magnitude of China's efforts to clean up its coal-fired power plants can be put into perspective with a comparison to the total world FGD capacity today.

World capacity is only 797 000 MW and this represents the cumulative investment of the world over the period 1968 to 2009. The world has been adding FGD capacity at a rate of 19 000 MW/year. China has had some recent years where FGD capacity additions were above 70 000 MW. Over the next 11 years it will add 32 000 MW of FGD per year. This represents 75% of all the new FGD to be installed each year.

Source: McIlvaine Company's FGD World Markets.