The Science
Air Pollution Primers
Pollution Reduction & Control

Air Pollution Primer

Pollution Reduction & Control

What technologies are available to reduce air pollution?
Table: Monitoring Air Pollution

What technologies are available to reduce air pollution?

The most direct way of reducing manmade air pollution is to prevent their emissions in both stationary and mobile sources. Replacing fossil fuel power generation with nuclear and renewables is a priority in many countries. The deployment of electric vehicles using electricity from non-fossil fuel sources reduces emissions from the transportation sector.

Does power generation from natural gas or clean coal reduce emissions?

The combustion of natural gas to generate electricity produces negligible amounts of sulfur, mercury, and particulates. However some amount of NOX are still emitted.

A sleuth of technologies are used to reduce the emissions of coal-fired plants. These include flue gas desulfurization which reduces SO2 by 97%. Electrostatic precipitators and filtration, which are used commonly, remove up to 99% of the fly ash from the flue gases. NOX emissions are reduced up to 90% using catalysts.

Nevertheless, greenhouse gas emissions from clean coal will remain the same and that of natural gas will fall modestly.

Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) reduces the SO2 emissions of coal-fired plants by 97% (Photo: Alex Simpson /

How can we control air pollutants from industrial sources?

Clean energy sources can substantially reduce air pollution, but industrial process will still require air pollution control. In addition to technologies used to reduce emissions from coal-fired plants, industry uses gravitational and centrifugal deposition, wet scrubbing, gas absorption and adsorption, and chemical reaction methods.
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