Dispersion of Particulate Matter and Sulphur Oxides from Thermal Power Plant: a Case Study

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Environmental Modeling & Assessment (2021)




CFD modelling, Coal-fired thermal plants, Particulate matter, pollution, Sulphur dioxide


<p>Coal-fired thermal plants are known to pollute the atmosphere with emission of many greenhouse gases and particulate matter. The power generation from these thermal plants cannot be stopped completely because it forms the backbone of the&nbsp;Indian grid power supply. It is necessary to study the dispersion patterns of pollutants that affect the health of the people. The dispersion patterns are location-specific since they depend on local meteorological conditions. In this study, the dispersion of particulate matter (PM) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) from a power plant with a 275&nbsp;m-high stack are studied under different atmospheric boundary layers (ABLs) of neutral, stable and unstable conditions up to a distance of 30&nbsp;km from the stack. The plume of the PM spreads under all conditions. During some parts of the day, PM settles around the stack while at other times PM keeps suspending in the air for the full distance under study. Sulphur dioxide dilutes to concentrations below the detection limits in 12–13&nbsp;km from the stack for neutral and unstable boundary layers whereas for the stable boundary layer, the dispersion is up to 30&nbsp;km. The 24-h weighted average concentration of sulphur dioxide, at 10-m height from the ground, is 14.2&nbsp;μg/m3&nbsp;at a distance of 25&nbsp;km from the power plant, which is comparable with the value of 9.2&nbsp;μg/m3&nbsp;measured at the Air Quality Stations located around the same distance. Based on the results, policy changes that need to be implemented are suggested.</p>