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Increase in NOx Emissions from Indian Thermal Power Plants during 1996−2010:...

Lu, Z., and D. Streets (2012), Increase in NOx Emissions from Indian Thermal Power Plants during 1996−2010: Unit-Based Inventories and Multisatellite Observations, Environ. Sci. Technol., 46, 7463-7470, doi:10.1021/es300831w.

Driven by rapid economic development and growing electricity demand, NOx emissions (E) from the power sector in India have increased dramatically since the mid-1990s. In this study, we present the NOx emissions from Indian public thermal power plants for the period 1996−2010 using a unit-based methodology and compare the emission estimates with the satellite observations of NO2 tropospheric vertical column densities (TVCDs) from four spaceborne instruments: GOME, SCIAMACHY, OMI, and GOME-2. Results show that NOx emissions from Indian power plants increased by at least 70% during 1996−2010. Coal-fired power plants, NOx emissions from which are not regulated in India, contribute ∼96% to the total power sector emissions, followed by gas-fired (∼4%) and oilfired (<1%) ones. A number of isolated NO2 hot spots are observed over the power plant areas, and good agreement between NO2 TVCDs and NOx emissions is found for areas dominated by power plant emissions. Average NO2 TVCDs over power plant areas were continuously increasing during the study period. We find that the ratio of ΔE/E to ΔTVCD/TVCD changed from greater than one to less than one around 2005−2008, implying that a transition of the overall NOx chemistry occurred over the power plant areas, which may cause significant impact on the atmospheric environment.

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