NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                             AUGUST 2013

Cogeneration, Fuel Switching, and Upgrades Are All Choices for U.S. Industrial Boiler Operators

In the next few months, operators of U.S. industrial boilers will have to decide whether to gamble on low gas prices for the next two decades or add air pollution control equipment to their existing systems. Two other options are switching to biomass and more efficient cogeneration. Some plants will find that a combination of these options is the best fit for them. There are more than 10,000 boilers listed in the McIlvaine Industrial Emitters database and project tracking system. Less than 2,000 will fall under the criteria for action set up by the new Industrial Boiler MACT Rule. Of these 2,000 units, only 500 units will have to make major capital expenditures. These plants will have to decide whether to invest the funds to meet the new regulations or switch to natural gas or even retire the units and buy electricity. The Industrial Emitters program is tracking these decisions as they happen.

More efficient cogeneration is attractive from the standpoint of greenhouse gas reduction. Grays Ferry is one of Veolia Energy's three Philadelphia steam production facilities. Grays Ferry is a 163-megawatt cogeneration facility with a combustion turbine and an extraction/condensing steam turbine. Since the 2012 completion of a $60 million investment to upgrade the natural gas infrastructure and to install two rapid-response boilers, Veolia Energy has increased its production of efficient, cogenerated steam. By producing steam and electricity simultaneously, Veolia Energy avoids the emission of approximately 430,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

One overlooked potential is the gasification of municipal solid waste (MSW) and use as a reburn fuel in the existing coal-fired boiler. Since, under the new regulations the boilers will be subject to meeting air toxic rules, coal-fired boiler operators will be installing the necessary air pollution control equipment. So, gasified municipal waste can be cleaned with the new equipment. When injected above the primary firing zone, the gasified waste acts as a reburn fuel and reduces NOx.

The industrial boiler operator can charge a tipping fee for the MSW and replace some of the coal which is now burned. Many municipalities are now realizing that landfills are not a good choice for MSW. They can be costly if the distance is substantial. Also the methane released from landfills is twenty-nine to seventy times more potent a greenhouse gas than is CO2.

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