Mitsubishi Power and Florida university track emissions in US power sector


An industry-academia partnership has been formed to track power sector nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and to gather information on how the US can accelerate its energy transition.

Mitsubishi Power and the University of Central Florida (UCF) will develop an online tool that analyses data from the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)’s database regarding the amount of nitrogen oxide power generation technologies are emitting.

The online tool, Power Generation NOx Tracker, will use data gathered by UCF’s Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research (CATER) from US EPA’s database. CATER will look at trends in nitrogen oxide emissions from power generation over time and provide the data to industry stakeholders and government agencies at no cost.

Data generated by the tool will be used to inform the development of sustainable solutions that can help reduce emissions and amplify the decarbonisation of the power generation sector.

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Dr Jayanta Kapat, the UCF engineering professor who leads CATER and is responsible for the data analysis on the NOx Tracker, said in a statement: “Innovation driven 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 decarbonizes, nitrogen oxides would become a problem; however, the tracker shows that nitrogen oxides have been declining significantly to low levels. This reflects successful innovations. Monitoring will help us all stay on track as we move forward.”

Although nitrogen oxide emissions from the power sector have fallen by 87% between 1995 and 2020, there is a need to continue monitoring the emissions as the climate emergency intensifies. Monitoring will also help avoid the risk of an increase in nitrogen oxide emissions as new generation technologies are introduced under efforts to decarbonise, according to a statement.

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

“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 NOx Tracker is Mitsubishi Power’s second tool aimed at helping the industry to monitor greenhouse gas emissions. The company’s first tool, Carnegie Mellon University Power Sector Carbon Index, estimates the carbon dioxide intensity of the US power sector since 2017.

Nitrogen oxides are pollutants produced when nitrogen and oxygen react at high temperatures, such as in power plants, automobiles, boats, and heavy vehicles.

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.