A 0.5 MW spray-dry scrubbing FGD pilot plant was used in the study of spray dryer performance over a wide range of operating conditions. Experimental findings were compared with a spray dryer model. During operation with large excesses of lime, the SO2 absorption was limited by gas phase diffusion. At operation with a shortage of lime, the rate limiting step was the dissolution rate of lime. In addition, the flow regime in a spray dryer can be best described as well mixed. The SO2 level in the flue gas was found to exert no direct effect on the efficiency of SO2 removal. The observed effects are attributed solely to the changes in the drying process, due to the inter-dependence of slurry composition and SO2 concentration.