Modeling the impact of reducing sulfur content of liquid fuels consumed by power plants on the air quality of Kuwait using AERMOD
As part of Kuwait’s plan to meet the country’s long-term sustainability goals, a new refinery is being constructed with an objective of desulfurizing crude oil (CO) and heavy fuel oil (HFO) to a low sulfur content, S% (approximately 1% by mass). Since Kuwait’s electric power system relies heavily on CO and HFO for electricity generation, the air quality impacts of this change in sulfur content should be investigated. In this work, three scenarios were examined and compared to the base case. The hourly SO2 emissions of each scenario were simulated using an air quality model (AERMOD) to determine the spatial and temporal SO2 dispersion for the year 2014. The three scenarios were developed based on lowering the sulfur content to 1% for HFO only, CO only, and both HFO and CO. The study results indicated that the annual SO2 emissions were reduced by 75.6%, 12.5% and 82.7% for the first, second and third scenarios, respectively, compared to the base case scenario. The daily averages of SO2 emissions of the first, second and third scenario were 57.7%, 12.4% and 70.1% lower, respectively, compared to the base case. The reductions in the maximum region-wide one-hour average SO2 concentrations reached 47.4%, 24% and 54.1% for the first, second and third scenarios, respectively, compared to the base case. The numbers of hourly SO2 exceedances were reduced by about 94%, 54% and 100% for the first, second and third scenarios, respectively, compared to the base case (7361 hourly SO2 exceedances). The results of this analysis show the benefits of reducing the sulfur content of CO and HFO as mitigation strategy to reduce high ambient SO2 concentrations.