The Large Combustion Plants Directive (LCPD, 2001/80/EC) aims to reduce acidification, ground level ozone and particles throughout Europe by controlling emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and dust (particulate matter (PM)) from large combustion plants (LCPs) in power stations, petroleum refineries, steelworks and other industrial processes running on solid, liquid or gaseous fuel.

The LCPD sets ceilings for the total of emissions from combustion plants with a thermal power >50 MW per Member State. In addition, it provides emission limit values for individual power stations or furnaces.

LCP Emission ceilings are defined as reduction percentages from 1980 emissions; for 2003 these are set at -70% for SO2 and -40% for NOx in most Member States of the EU15. There are no emission ceilings for PM.

Emission limit values are defined in mg/Nm3 stack gas and vary, in dependence of the fuel (solid, liquid, gas and biofuel; steel industry furnaces) and the capacity of the LCP. They apply to existing plants; new plants should observe tighter limit values. An example for a common power station is given in table 1.

Table 1. Emission limit values for a power station with a capacity of >500 MWth 1)

ComponentFuelSO2 (mg/Nm3)NO(mg/Nm3)PM (mg/Nm3)
 existingnewexistingnewexistingnew
Solid fuel400 5002005030
Liquid fuel – from 2016400400200450200200505030
Natural gas 30010055

1)   Extracted from annexes III – VII of LCPD