The environmental impact of unfired combined-cycle blocks of the GUD® type is compared with that of equivalent reheat steam boiler/turbine units. The outstandingly high efficiency of GUD blocks not only conserves primary-energy resources, but also commensurately reduces undesirable emissions and unavoidable heat rejection to the surroundings.
In addition to conventional gas or oil-fired GUD blocks, integrated coal-gasification combined-cycle (ICG-GUD) blocks are investigated from an ecological point of view so as to cover the whole range of available fossil fuels. For each fuel and corresponding type of GUD power plant the most appropriate conventional steam-generating unit of most modern design is selected for comparison purposes. In each case the relative environmental impact is stated in the form of quantified emissions, effluents and waste heat, as well as of useful byproducts and disposable solid wastes.
GUD blocks possess the advantage that they allow primary measures to be taken to minimize the production of NOx and SOx, whereas both have to be removed from the flue gases of conventional steam stations by less effective and desirable, albeit more expensive secondary techniques, e.g. flue-gas desulfurization and DENOX systems. In particular, the comparison of CO2 release reveals a significantly lower contribution by GUD blocks to the greenhouse effect than by other fossil-fired power plants.