Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is a pollutant gas produced by various human activities, including ore processing, petroleum refining, the operation of industrial boilers, and the burning of oil and coal at power plants. Although natural processes like volcanic activity and biological decay are responsible for half of the world’s atmospheric sulfur, emissions caused by human activity far exceed natural emissions in the developed countries.
Sulfur dioxide is a respiratory irritant that can be harmful when breathed by people who are very young, very old, or already suffering from health problems. It can also damage vegetation, corrode building materials, and contribute to the production of airborne particulates and acid rain.
Sulfur dioxide emissions at TVA power plants
What TVA is doing about SO2 emissions
TVA has switched to low-sulfur coal at some fossil plants and has equipped 60 percent of its coal-fired capacity with scrubbers to reduce SO2 emissions. A second scrubber was installed at Kingston Fossil Plant in 2010. The TVA board approved scrubbers at Allen and Gallatin fossil plants in 2011, and TVA continues to upgrade and assess its entire fossil fleet.
TVA staff continue to look for better, more cost-effective ways to reduce TVA’s emissions while continuing to supply reliable, affordable electricity and manage debt in the light of evolving emission reduction requirements.