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Air Quality


Emissions control

Nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), mercury (Hg) and particulate matter (PM) are produced as a result of burning coal to produce electricity. These emissions, if not controlled, can negatively impact local air quality.

CenterPoint Energy has invested more than $500 million since 2001 in emissions control equipment to capture these pollutants and directly improve local air quality, making our power system one of the cleanest and best-controlled in the Midwest.

Continue reading to learn about our emission control upgrades or visit Smart Energy Future to learn about our plans to make our electric system even more efficient.

Workers going over plans


Other resources


Scrubbed for emissions

Our entire electric generation fleet is 100% scrubbed for sulfur dioxide (SO2), 90% controlled for nitrogen oxide (NOx) and reduces mercury (Hg) emissions to meet reduction requirements.


Capturing particulate matter (PM)

All units in the CenterPoint Energy system are equipped with an electrostatic precipitator or a fabric filter that can remove particulate matter (PM) at an average of 99% efficiency.


Controlling mercury & SO3

Enchancements to CenterPoint Energy's system to comply with the mercury and air toxics standards (MATS) began in 2014 with a focus on reducing sulfur trioxide (SO3) and mercury emissions as well as mercury reductions in wastewater.


Emissions glossary

Sulfur dioxide (SO2)

SO2 belongs to the family of sulfur oxide gases (SOx). Sulfur is prevalent in all raw materials, including crude oil, coal and ore that contain common metals like aluminum, lead, and iron. The sulfur present in nearly all fossil fuels combines with oxygen when coal is burned and is released into the atmosphere as SO2 gas.

Nitrogen oxide (NOx)

When fossil fuels burn at sufficiently high temperatures, nitrogen oxides are formed. Although there are many sources of NOx—for example, gasoline-powered automobiles are major sources of NOx—coal-fired power plants account for approximately 25% of the emissions of NOx in the U.S.

Particulate matter (PM)

PM describes a mixture of tiny solid particles such as dirt, soil, dust and ashes, as well as liquid droplets that are suspended in the atmosphere. They come from a variety of sources such as cars and factories or burning wood. PM is indirectly formed when gases from burning fossil fuels react with sunlight and water vapor.


Renewable energy

Learn about our ongoing and planned renewable energy sources.

Need more information? Contact us