The Medium Combustion Plant Directive

Power Plant

The Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) regulates pollutant emissions from the combustion of fuels in plants with a rated thermal input of between 1MW-50MW.

Medium combustion plants are used for a wide variety of applications (electricity generation, domestic/residential heating and cooling, providing heat/steam for industrial processes, etc.) and are an important source of emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and dust.

The emission limit values set in the MCP Directive will have to be applied from 20 December 2018 for new plants and by 2025 or 2030 for existing plants, depending on their size.

The flexibility provisions for district heating plants and biomass firing will ensure that climate and air quality policies are consistent and their synergies are maximised.

Legal Requirements & Deadlines

The legal requirements and deadlines are as follows:

All New Energy Plants

  • Must be registered and comply with Emissions Limit Values (ELV) by 20th December 2018

Existing Plants (rated thermal input above 5MW)

  • Must be registered/obtain a permit to operate by January 2024
  • Must comply with the proposed ELVs by 1st January 2025

Existing Plants (between 1MW & 5MW)

  • Must be registered or obtained a permit to operate by 1st January 2029
  • Comply with the proposed ELV’s and full implementation of the MCPD by 2030

How does the MCPD affect you?

This directive sets to regulate each piece of medium-sized equipment which “oxidises a fuel source to generate heat” - carries out the process of combustion. Typically, medium-sized equipment is found in an energy network that supplies large buildings such as offices, hotels, hospitals and industrial processes, including power generation. The guideline of 1MW-50MW refers to each independent piece of equipment rather than an energy centre’s combined thermal input.

Exemptions & Exclusions

There are a number of exclusions from the scope of MCPD detailed in Article 2. For example: combustion plant used to propel a vehicle, ship or aircraft; turbines and engines used on offshore platforms; some driers; and thermal oxidisers.

There are a number of exemptions listed in Article 6. Plants subject to these exemptions will still need to be registered but are exempt (sometimes on a time-limited basis) from compliance with ELVs. For example: plant operating under a certain number of hours, use of biomass, plant serving a public District Heating Network.

Existing Medium Combustion Plant - Emission Limit Values (ELV)

From 1 January 2025, emissions into the air of SO2, NOx and dust from an existing medium combustion plant with a rated thermal input >5MW shall not exceed the emission limit values set out in Tables 2 and 3 of Part 1 of Annex II.

From 1 January 2030, emissions into the air of SO2, NOx and dust from an existing medium combustion plant with a rated thermal input of <=5MW shall not exceed the emission limit values set out in Tables 1 and 3 of Part 1 of Annex II.

Part 1 - Annex II

Table 1

Emission limit values (mg/Nm3) for existing medium combustion plants with a rated thermal input equal to or greater than 1 MW and less than or equal to 5 MW, other than engines and gas turbines:

Pollutant Solid Biomass Other Solid Fuels Gas Oil Liquid Fuels (other than gas oil) Natural Gas Gaseous Fuels (other than natural gas)
SO2 200 1,100 - 350 - 200
NOx 650 650 200 650 250 250
Dust 50 50 - 50 - -

Table 2

Emission limit values (mg/Nm3) for existing medium combustion plants with a rated thermal input greater than 5 MW, other than engines and gas turbines:

Pollutant Solid Biomass Other Solid Fuels Gas Oil Liquid Fuels (other than gas oil) Natural Gas Gaseous Fuels (other than natural gas)
SO2 200 400 - 350 - 35
NOx 650 650 200 650 200 250
Dust 30 30 - 30 - -

Table 3

Emission limit values (mg/Nm3) for existing engines and gas turbines:

Pollutant Type of Medium Combustion Plant Gas Oil Liquid Fuels (other than gas oil) Natural Gas Gaseous Fuels (other than natural gas)
SO2 Engines and gas turbines - 120 - 15
NOx Engines 190 190 190 190
Gas Turbines 200 200 150 200
Dust Engines and gas turbines - 10 - -

New Medium Combustion Plant - Emission Limit Values (ELV)

From 20 December 2018, emissions into the air of SO2, NOx and dust from a new medium combustion plant shall not exceed the emission limit values set out in Part 2 of Annex II.

Part 2 - Annex II

Table 1

Emission limit values (mg/Nm3) for new medium combustion plants other than engines and gas turbines:

Pollutant Solid Biomass Other Solid Fuels Gas Oil Liquid Fuels (other than gas oil) Natural Gas Gaseous Fuels (other than natural gas)
SO2 200 400 - 350 - 35
NOx 300 300 200 300 100 200
Dust 20 20 - 20 - -

Table 2

Emission limit values (mg/Nm3) for new engines and gas turbines:

Pollutant Type of Medium Combustion Plant Gas Oil Liquid Fuels (other than gas oil) Natural Gas Gaseous Fuels (other than natural gas)
SO2 Engines and gas turbines - 120 - 15
NOx Engines 190 190 95 190
Gas Turbines 75 75 50 75
Dust Engines and gas turbines - 10 - -

For further information on how these changes will affect business please contact us.

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