Resource detail

Title: Cleaner Air for Indian residents
Organization:USAID and Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation
Source:Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation, Kolkata, West Bengal

Challenge: In Howrah, West Bengal Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) runs a 50-year-old coal-fired power plant which is largest private thermal power company in Eastern India. This has emitted significantly high polluted particles in air for years. The power plat pollution had caused respiratory diseases and heart problems among the local population. The CESC has faced increasing pressure from regulators to control air emissions or close. On the other hand, loss of job of local people could have been an issue in the event of plant closer.

Initiative: USAID utilized proprietary technology from Beltran, a small New Jersey-based company, to help improve the CESC plant. USAID facilitated a project demonstration that led to an agreement between CESC and Beltran to install air pollution control systems for all eight of its coal-fired boilers. The technology, new to India, reduced emissions at the plant and is more efficient than the conventional equipment currently used to limit pollution.

Outcome/Benefits: Outcome Before USAID helped revamp the plant, the city of Kolkata’s air pollution levels were among the highest in the world. The air pollution control system installed in the CESC plant have reduced emissions from 500 - 1,000 to 10 - 20 micrograms per cubic meter, substantially less than the regulatory standard. CESC’s 400,000 neighbors are breathing cleaner air, with markedly reduced particulate matter. The reduction also prevents the CESC facility from closing, saving 700 jobs of primarily local residents. USAID plans to share the technology with other similar coal-fired power plants in India.

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