Article Summary: Methods, Key Arguments and Results
In their article titled “Nitrogen oxides emissions from thermal power plants in China: current status and future predictions,” Hezhong Tian, Kaiyun Liu, Jiming Hao, Yan Wang, Jiajia Gao, Peipei Qiu, and Chuanyong Zhu evaluate the data acquired from China’s major power plants and regarding the amount of NOx emissions produced by these power plants on a regular basis. The authors aim at evaluating the harmful effects of these emissions, as well as modelling the future effects of the emissions produced by the power plants that are currently located in China.
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The authors argue that the effects of power plants, though admittedly harmful, can be neutralized after the necessary changes are made to the “unit capacity, boiler and burner patterns, feed fuel types, emission control technologies, and geographical locations” (Tian et al. 2013, p. 11350) of the existing power plants. As the results of the research show, power plants locations need to be reconsidered in dense, energy-consuming areas of the state. In addition, the authors make it clear that SCR/SNCR devices systems can be used in order to reduce emissions from power plants.
Article Analysis: Splitting Hairs
Major strengths: methods and discussion
The research in question seems rather strong and gets its main point across in a very convincing manner. While the authors stress the significance of power plants operation, they still voice their concern about the effects of power plants on the environment in China, therefore, raising a range of serious ethical questions, the key one being the choice between efficient energy production and environmental safety.
It is also remarkable that the authors of the research compare the method that is currently adopted at most of the Chinese power plants with the alternatives, which can possibly reduce the amount of the NOx emitted into the atmosphere regularly. Tian et al. not only point at the obvious problem but also provide the means to solve it. Finally, the fact that the authors consider not only the notorious NO2 but also other compounds of ozone and nitrogen, which they mark as NOx, in their paper, should also be noted.
Key weaknesses: results and assumptions
The article also has its problems, the major issue concerning the results and their interpretation. While the discussion features a number of interesting viewpoints and makes several strong arguments, it also has certain flaws. To start with, the article never mentions the number of plants in either of the provinces; nor does it state the actual number of power plants across the state. Thus, it becomes quite complicated to evaluate the negative effect of an average plant and, therefore, embrace the problem.
Moving Onward: Opportunities for Future Researches
Although the given research has several major flaws and some rather dated information, it can still spawn several major types of research in the future, among the opportunities that have not been used yet, the exploration of the effects that power plants have on other states and in other types of environment, as well as the means to fight these effects. While power plants doubtlessly are a very powerful source of energy, their effects on the environment clearly leave much to be desired. Therefore, further researches must be aimed at defining the means to make the negative effects of power plants on the Chinese environment less drastic. Thus, nitrogen emission of power plants all over the world can be reduced.
Tian H et al. 2013, ‘Nitrogen oxides emissions from thermal power plants in China: current status and future predictions,’ Environmental Science and Technology vol. 47 no. 21, pp. 11350–11357.
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