Reducing emissions with HELE while delivering affordable, reliable power


The use of flexible high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) coal-fired power plants in many countries reduces emissions while delivering affordable, secure and reliable power.

Flexible HELE technologies are commercially available now and because of improved efficiency, use less coal to produce the same amount of power as older generators but with reduced emissions.

Improving efficiency increases the amount of energy that can be extracted from a single unit of coal. A one percentage point improvement in the efficiency of a conventional pulverised coal combustion plant results in a 2-3% reduction in CO2 emissions.

HELE generally refers to plants which have a thermal efficiency rate of 42 per cent or above.

Moving the current average global efficiency rate of coal-fired power plants from 33% to 40% by deploying more advanced, off-the-shelf technology could cut two gigatonnes of CO2 emissions each year (roughly the level of India’s current annual emissions), while allowing affordable energy for economic development and poverty reduction.

In addition to significant benefits from reduced CO2 emissions, flexible HELE plants fitted with proven emissions control technology have significantly reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2 ) and particulate matter (PM). Beyond the climate benefits of reduced CO2 emissions, reduction in these pollutants is of additional importance at the local and regional level to address air quality and related health concerns.

Given Australian coal is being used by many economies in our region and across the world to deliver affordable, secure and reliable power while reducing emissions. It’s time Australia looked at doing the same.

Some of our existing power stations could be refitted with flexible HELE technology including the use of advanced materials in the boiler and the turbine.

While the use of these materials means that boiler and turbine costs of HELE can be significantly more than those for sub-critical technology, these costs are partially offset by the reductions in coal consumption, coal handling and flue gas handling.

Construction of coal-fired power generation continues in many countries across the world. In December 2017, Platts estimated that the top 20 countries alone had 480GW of coal-fired power generation under construction or planned, with the vast majority of these being HELE plants.

Hele Fossil Fuel Technologies Are Operating Around The World

Isogo Plant - Japan
Ningai Plant - China
Cogan Creek Plant - Australia
Kusile Plant - South Africa

AUSTRALIAN COAL IS BEING USED BY MANY ECONOMIES in our region and across the world to deliver affordable, secure and reliable power while reducing emissions. It’s time Australia looked at doing the same.


Check out these websites to find out more

Coal21 Logo

COAL21 invests in the development of low-emissions technologies for the coal-fired power generation sector and in emissions reduction from coal mines.

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Minerals Council of Australia - Logo

MCA represents Australia’s exploration, mining and minerals processing industry, nationally and internationally, in its contribution to sustainable development and society.

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