The most popular method of controlling sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions in a steam turbine power plant is a flue gas desulfurization (FGD) process that uses lime/limestone scrubbing. Another relatively newer FGD technology is to use seawater as a scrubbing medium to absorb SO2 by utilizing the alkalinity present in seawater. This seawater scrubbing FGD process is viable and attractive when a sufficient quantity of seawater is available as a spent cooling water within reasonable proximity to the FGD scrubber. In this process the SO2 gas in the flue gas is absorbed by seawater in an absorber and subsequently oxidized to sulfate by additional seawater. The benefits of the seawater FGD process over the lime/limestone process and other processes are; 1) The process does not require reagents for scrubbing as only seawater and air are needed, thereby reducing the plant operating cost significantly, and 2) No solid waste and sludge are generated, eliminating waste disposal, resulting in substantial cost savings and increasing plant operating reliability. This paper reviews the thermodynamic aspects of the SO2 and seawater system, basic process principles and chemistry, major unit operations consisting of absorption, oxidation and neutralization, plant operation and performance, cost estimates for a typical seawater FGD plant, and pertinent environmental issues and impacts. In addition, the paper presents the major design features of a seawater FGD scrubber for the 130 MW oil fired steam turbine power plant that is under construction in Madinat Yanbu Al-Sinaiyah, Saudi Arabia. The scrubber with the power plant designed for burning heavy fuel oil containing 4% sulfur by weight, is designed to reduce the SO2 level in flue gas to 425 ng/J from 1,957 ng/J.

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