Zhi-Zhen Ni1, Kun Luo 1, Yang Gao2, Xiang Gao1, Jian-Ren Fan1, Ke-Fa Cen1

State Key Laboratory of Clean Energy, Department of Energy Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
Key Laboratory of Marine Environment and Ecology, Ministry of Education of China, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, China

Received: December 7, 2017
Revised: March 21, 2018
Accepted: May 8, 2018
Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2018.02.0070  

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Cite this article:
Ni, Z.Z., Luo, K., Gao, Y., Gao, X., Fan, J.R. and Cen, K.F. (2018). Potential Air Quality Improvements from Ultralow Emissions at Coal-fired Power Plants in China. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 18: 1944-1951. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2018.02.0070


  • The online coupled WRF-Chem model was applied to simulate the air quality in China.
  • Model evaluations show reasonable agreements with observed sites.
  • China power plants with ultra-low emission could considerably improve the air quality.
  • Pollutant reductions varied by season and species significantly.



To assess the effectiveness of nationwide ultralow emission policies for coal-fired power plants on air quality in China, we simulated several criteria pollutants concentrations using the Weather Research and Forecasting with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) model for four one-month periods (January, April, July, and October). Two emissions scenarios were conducted with the BASE case having emissions of 2013 and the ER60 case decreasing coal-fired power plants emissions to the standards of gas power plants. Model results from the BASE case were first evaluated through a comparison with observational data collected at 47 urban sites across China, which showed mean fractional bias in the range of –27% to 10% and mean fractional error in the range of 15% to 36% depending on chemical species, suggesting the reasonable performance of the modeling system. The ER60 simulation revealed potential decreases of 8%, 40% and 20% in annual concentrations of PM2.5, SO2 and NO2, respectively, in eastern China should the emissions from coal-fired power plants be reduced to the standards of gas power plants. Stringent control plans for coal-fired power plants as well as for other major emission sources are needed to improve urban air qualities across China.

Keywords: Urban air quality; Emission control; Numerical study; Fine particulate matter; Sulfur dioxide; Nitrogen dioxide.


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