Emissions limit values for nitrogen oxides in the waste gas from cement works were first laid down in the 1980s. In Germany, this took place in 1986 with the Technical Instruction for Air (Technische Anleitung Luft, abbrev. TA Luft) and NOx limit values between 1.3 and 1.8 g/m³, i.e. with values which in many countries (even in the European Union) are still regarded as the standard. In contrast to this, in the subsequent years the German authorities were constantly striving to maintain their leading role by tightening the limit values. The most recent example is the draft directive for the adoption of the European Waste Incineration Directive into German Law, in the so-called 17th Federal Ambient Pollution Protection Regulation. Meanwhile the German Ministry of the Environment proposals have gone down to 0.2 g/m³. It is certainly undisputed that as a source of low-level ozone and hence summer smog, the NOx emissions must be decreased. However, in contrast to other pollutants, such as for example SO2, there has been little success with this in the countries of the European Union. Hence it is very questionable whether the target laid down by the EU Commission, of almost halving the emissions to approx. 6 million tonnes by the year 2010 can be achieved. The NOx reduction of 30 % in Germany from 1990–96 is one of the few bright spots. However, on closer inspection the real problem becomes clear. The previous reduction in emissions contains a disproportionate contribution due to industrial boilers and power stations, so that the contribution of road traffic to the total emissions has in the mean time risen to over 50 %, i.e. the solution of the NOx problem is only achievable via road traffic. This can also be seen on consideration of measured air pollution values.
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