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March 2013



BIG IDEA In Ontario, Canada clean energy powers growth. Recent investments totalling more than $10 billion make us a leader in renewable energy development. Home to the largest wind and solar farms in Canada, we are serious about building our renewable energy capacity. Our generous R&D tax credits combined with our highly skilled workforce is fuelling innovation, and our central location provides access to a market of more than 420 million potential customers. As more clean energy projects come online from wind, solar and bioenergy – Ontario is on-track to phasing out coalfired electricity entirely. A clean future starts here. Make Ontario your next big idea.


of Ontario’s current renewable energy generating capacity comes from Hydroelectricity

44% Wind

9% Solar



Paid for by the Government of Ontario.

INSIDE ¦ ADVERTISER INDEX¦ MARCH 2013 | VOLUME 7 | ISSUE 3 2013 Algae BIomass Summit


2013 Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo


2013 International Biomass Conference & Expo


Amandus Kahl GmbH & Co. KG


American International TN LLC


BBI Consulting Services


Bioimass Industry Directory


CPM Roskamp Champion


Fagen Inc.


Fike Corporation


GEA Westfalia Separator


ICM, Inc.


Iowa Economic Development Authority


KEITH Manufacturing Company


Northeast Biomass Heating Expo


Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation



Himark bioGas


Vecoplan LLC


West Salem Machinery




16 Q&A Maine's Pellet Phoenix Matt Bell discusses a catastrophic fire that leveled his Ashland, Maine, pellet mill, and how he used lessons learned to rebuild bigger and better. By Tim Portz


18 Bioenergy Plant Precautions

Knowing the risks and dangers, and prevention training, save money and assets down the road. By Anna Simet

Safety is a Goal, Not a Guarantee By Tim Portz

05 INDUSTRY EVENTS 07 POWER PLATFORM Bloomberg Brings Good News for Biomass By Bob Cleaves

08 THERMAL DYNAMICS Frequent Flier Biomass Miles By Joseph Seymour



New Year Brings Positive Outcomes By Michael McAdams


24 Boiler MACT Impacts Biomass Release of final specifications clarifies emissions standards for power producer compliance. By Brandon Bell

10 LEGAL PERSPECTIVE New EPA Clean Air Act Regulations By Thomas R. Wood and Kevin D. Johnson


March 2013

Biomass Magazine: (USPS No. 5336) March 2013, Vol. 7, Issue 3. Biomass Magazine is published monthly by BBI International. Principal Office: 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203. Periodicals Postage Paid at Grand Forks, North Dakota and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Biomass Magazine/ Subscriptions, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58203.

Boiler MACT Facts Details Biomass Power Producers Need to Know Page 24


Industry Experts Share Bioenergy Plant Safety Insight and Advice Page 18

And: How One Pellet Producer Recovered From a Devastating Fire

On the Cover: Pori Prosessivoima's biopower plant in Pori, Finland, utilizes a circulating fluidized bed boiler and a district heating back-pressure turbine.

Page 16

Photo: Metso



Safety is a Goal, Not a Guarantee



As the final touches were being put on this issue of Biomass Magazine, I found myself in two conversations about hazardous plant incidents that occurred at fortuitous times, at least for the workers at those facilities. One of those conversations occurred in person, and the plant manager I was speaking with produced a photograph on his iPhone for me to view. Looking closely, I realized that I was looking at an i-beam elbowed grotesquely, disfigured by a dryer explosion. In the other conversation, which was with this month’s Q&A subject, Northeast Pellet’s Matt Bell shared with me the feeling that descended over him when being awakened in the middle of the night to learn that his pellet

plant was on fire. Both of these incidents resulted in halted production, destroyed equipment, insurance claims and rebuilding and repair headaches. Neither, however, resulted in an injury or death. This is the only reason these very serious incidents could be described as fortuitously timed, as they occurred near the middle of the night when the facilities were minimally staffed and the personnel on site were out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration reports that in 2011, over 4,500 workers lost their lives while on the job; a sobering 13 deaths per day. Even more shocking, the current rate of injuries and deaths have trended down significantly since the formation of OSHA in the early 1970s, when almost 40 workers lost their lives each day. The improvements and bar raises in worker safety can certainly be assigned to OSHA’s efforts, but not exclusively. OSHA employs 2,200 health and safety inspectors to protect over 130 million American workers, or roughly one inspector for every 59,000 workers. It is clear that protecting American workers, and continuing to improve upon worker safety, falls squarely on the shoulders of employers. Anna Simet’s feature “Bioenergy Plant Precautions” indicates this industry is well aware of where the inherent risks can be found, as well as the technologies that have emerged to manage them. Of course, this doesn't guarantee safety. All that can be guaranteed is a daily commitment to understand the best available practices and technologies to protect our industry’s workers, and to deploy them as quickly and efficiently as possible.


ART ART DIRECTOR Jaci Satterlund GRAPHIC DESIGNER Elizabeth Burslie


Subscriptions Biomass Magazine is free of charge to everyone with the exception of a shipping and handling charge of $49.95 for any country outside of the United States, Canada and Mexico. To subscribe, visit or you can send your mailing address and payment (checks made out to BBI International) to Biomass Magazine Subscriptions, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203. You can also fax a subscription form to 701-746-5367. Back Issues & Reprints Select back issues are available for $3.95 each, plus shipping. Article reprints are also available for a fee. For more information, contact us at 701-746-8385 or Advertising Biomass Magazine provides a specific topic delivered to a highly targeted audience. We are committed to editorial excellence and high-quality print production. To find out more about Biomass Magazine advertising opportunities, please contact us at 701-746-8385 or Letters to the Editor We welcome letters to the editor. Send to Biomass Magazine Letters to the Contributions Editor, 308 2nd Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203 or email to Please include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity and/or space.



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COPYRIGHT © 2013 by BBI International

INDUSTRY EVENTS¦ Northeast Biomass Heating Expo April 3-5, 2013 City Center Saratoga Springs, New York This event unites a diverse audience from the biomass fuel, supply chain, developer, manufacturer, and government sectors to break barriers and ground for biomass thermal and combined heat and power (CHP) systems. From the expo floor, to panel discussions, to technical workshops for engineers, the refreshed and fast-paced interactive program will emphasize practical learning and real project case studies. Also, attendees can experience biomass thermal fuels and technologies firsthand through the outdoor vendor fair. (978)669-5019 |

International Biomass Conference & Expo April 8-10, 2013 Minneapolis Convention Center Minneapolis, Minnesota Building on Innovation Organized by BBI International and coproduced by Biomass Magazine, the International Biomass Conference & Expo program will include 30-plus panels and more than 100 speakers, including 90 technical presentations on topics ranging from anaerobic digestion and gasification to pyrolysis and combined heat and power. This dynamic event unites industry professionals from all sectors of the world’s interconnected biomass utilization industries—biobased power, thermal energy, fuels and chemicals. (866)746-8385 |

International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo June 10-13, 2013 America’s Center St. Louis, Missouri Where Producers Meet From its inception in 1985, the mission of the event has remained constant: The FEW delivers timely presentations with a strong focus on commercial-scale ethanol production, from quality control and yield maximization to regulatory compliance and fiscal management. The FEW is also the ethanol industry’s premier forum for unveiling new technologies and research findings. The program extensively covers cellulosic ethanol while remaining committed to optimizing existing grain ethanol operations. (866)746-8385 |


Saving me and money is key. Because we’ve completed more than 335 bioenergy projects around the world, the team here at BBI Consulng Services is able to streamline any bioenergy and engineering project. In return, you’ll save me and money, eliminang underfunded and undermanned projects. We’ll help you keep your project on the best track for success.

Algae Biomass Summit September 30- October 3, 2013 Hilton Orlando Orlando, Florida This dynamic event unites industry professionals from all sectors of the world’s algae utilization industries including, but not limited to, financing, algal ecology, genetic systems, carbon partitioning, engineering and analysis, biofuels, animal feeds, fertilizers, bioplastics, supplements and foods. Organized by the Algae Biomass Organization and coproduced by BBI International, this event brings current and future producers of biobased products and energy together with algae crop growers, municipal leaders, technology providers, equipment manufacturers, project developers, investors and policy makers. This event is the world’s premier educational and networking junction for all algae industry sectors. (866)746-8385 |

Consulting Services 866-746-8385 |


Setting the Record Straight on Algae Separation hen different technology enters a market, there is always some question about how it compares to what’s been available. That’s the case with spiral plate versus disc stack separating equipment. Disc stack separation has a proven 50-year record in algae dewatering and concentration. With over 300 installations worldwide, the process has been perfected and a significant amount of data collected.

3. G-forces over 10,000 allow for production of pastes that are 11.5% drier.

% Dry Solids


40 38 36 34 32 30 10 8 6 4 2 0

11.5% Difference 34 31.5

Spiral plate

Disc stack

4. Processing parameters such as speed and ejection time are adjustable on disc stack equipment. This allows production of solids with varying dry matter levels for different customer requirements.

Design elements in disc stack machines allow production of a superior product at a lower cost. Here are the facts: 1. Continuous machine operation allows for maximum up-time during processing. Solids are ejected at regular intervals with absolutely no interruption. There is no need to slow down the equipment and then bring it up to operating speed with a disc stack separator. 2. Automatic cleaning-in-place (CIP) is programmed in the machine, saving time and labor costs.

With six service offices throughout North America and professionals that are experts in algae separation, GEA Westfalia Separator offers the centrifugal separation equipment that can cost-effectively meet your needs. We welcome the comparison between the two separation technologies. To learn more and find out about testing one of our machines, contact Keith Funsch at 201-784-4322 or

5. Thirty (30) models are available with capacities ranging from less than 1 m3/hr to over 150 m3/hr. We work with you to find the machine that maximizes production for your current operation. Most machines can be scaled up as needs change. 6. Energy consumption, given the complete range of disc stack machines we offer, is equal to or less than what spiral plate technology offers. Disc stack machines use up to 20% less power.

GEA Mechanical Equipment US, Inc.

GEA Westfalia Separator Division 100 Fairway Court Northvale, NJ 07647 Phone: 201-767-3900 Fax: 201-767-3901 Toll-Free: 800-722-6622 24-Hour Technical Help: 800-509-9299

engineering for a better world


Bloomberg Brings Good News for Biomass BY BOB CLEAVES

Last month, Bloomberg and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy released their Sustainable Energy in America 2013 Fact Book, a comprehensive overview of the state of sustainable energy in the U.S. This joint project is an annual evaluation of the entire sustainable energy industry and its many sub-industries, including biomass, which delves into changes over the past year and projects what’s ahead. I wanted to share with you some of the highlights contained in this year’s report. Overall, biomass fares pretty well, especially when compared to the other renewables. The news is not all good, but the trends show a resilient biomass industry that, despite some challenges, fights and achieves growth. The best news from the report is that it seems that the federal and state support the industry has fought for and earned is paying off. This support, mostly in the form of federal tax credits and state renewable portfolio standard programs (RPS), has translated into significant investment in the biomass sector. Though significantly lower than solar and wind due to high capital costs and the need for long-term power purchase agreements (PPA), annual investment in the biomass sector averaged just over $900 million between 2008 and 2012. The report notes the importance of the federal Production Tax Credit and the Investment Tax Credit, both of which are available to biomass, observing that “These tax credits are truly the lifeblood of the renewables industry as they allow renewable energy technologies to be more cost competitive with other sources of generation. Thus any potential expiration of these credits inevitably unsettles the industry.” Fortunately, these credits were recently enhanced as part of the fiscal deal package, allowing new facilities to qualify if construction is begun by the end of 2013, rather than completed by the end of this year. The Biomass Power Association is working toward an extension of the PTC deadline this year as part of our government relations efforts. Equally important was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which, through the 1603 grant program administered by the Department of the Treasury, provided a much-needed strategy for developers to fund the ITC in an efficient manner. While not every state policy has been supportive

of biomass in recent years, the fact book indicates that many states are truly looking to biomass as a realistic and reliable alternative to fossil fuels, and their policies are contributing to overall growth. The report correctly notes that while “support for renewables at the federal level has had its dramatic ups and downs over the past five years,” state-level support has been more reliable and uniform, with 29 states enacting an RPS. Importantly, each of the 29 states’ RPS programs embrace biomass energy. The report also notes, “Since 2008, interest in dedicated biomass combustion has started to pick up, driven by attractive state subsidies or feedstock availability.” The report made some interesting observations relating to biomass and utilities. First, utility-scale projects are responsible for the largest percentage of new renewable generating capacity in recent years. The reasons cited for this include declining capital costs coupled with the availability of federal and state incentives. While growth across the renewable sector varies widely by technology, the growth of utility-scale biomass continues, albeit haltingly. On the other hand, biomass growth appears relatively small when compared to other renewables. According to the fact book, annual asset finance for biomass generation was substantially lower than the funding received by the wind and solar sectors, due to the smaller number of bankable projects. Capital tends to be available for biomass projects that have in place a PPA, and also an experienced engineering, procurement and construction contractor and some protection against feedstock availability and price risk. None of these factors are deal breakers on their own, but finding the right combination of funding and expertise can be a challenge, as so many biomass entrepreneurs are aware. For biomass, the biggest takeaway in the fact book is this: while it’s great news to see that the federal funding we’ve been working so hard for has indeed contributed to industry growth, it’s all the more crucial for us to keep advocating for biomass on the federal and state levels. I encourage everyone reading this to continue sharing your biomass stories with your elected officials. Author: Bob Cleaves President and CEO, Biomass Power Association



Frequent Flier Biomass Miles BY JOSEPH SEYMOUR This spring, the business of biomass is spelled AP-R-I-L. From April 3 through April 26, no fewer than three biomass thermal conferences and expositions will engage new buyers, educate policy makers, and connect the biomass supply chain. Hopefully, you’ve heard their names by now: Northeast Biomass Heating Expo, International Biomass Conference & Expo, and Heating the Midwest with Renewable Biomass. These conferences’ missions are to unite 2,300-plus domestic and international attendees, display hundreds of exhibitors, hold more than 30 panels, and guide a half-dozen tours. But with limited marketing resources, why attend one, let alone all three? Allow me to help answer that question. The Northeast Biomass Heating Expo begins the spring sprint April 3 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Since this event was founded in 2009, it has connected more than 1,450 attendees and 300 different businesses, agencies and organizations on how biomass works in the New England region. This year’s conference has made a conscious effort to move away from policy and toward practical learning for developers, installers and vendors of biomass heating equipment. On the first day of the conference, two sessions will describe advanced hydronic heating systems, thermal controls, and how to maximize energy savings. Other sessions will address how industry players are improving bulk pellet fuel storage safety and reducing combustions emissions. Getting to Saratoga Springs early? Attend the preconference activities like the Agricultural Biomass Seminar, industry tour, and ASTM Heat Metering stakeholder session. Finally, workshops comparing the feasibility of chip and pellet systems and a “lightening round” of regional case studies will provide attendees both a practical and hopeful outlook for expanding their business in the Northeast. Thankfully, only one time zone separates the Northeast Biomass Heating Expo from the next stop on the biomass circuit, the International Biomass Expo in Minneapolis. Beginning April 8 with industry tours and concluding April 10, this 5th annual conference boasts the largest attendance of the three and serves as the nexus of biomass fuels, technologies and applications. I can imagine few venues where I can discuss thermal renewable portfolio standard developments with biomass heat,


dairy digester, landfill gas, and biofuels project developers and operators en masse. Each successive conference has refined its activities to suit the year’s biomass zeitgeist; 2012’s keynote speaker addressed the U.S. Department of Defense’s energy demands with a biomass slant, and this year’s features experts who will describe our industry’s strategies to build and finance enough biopower to meet the nation’s ambitious energy goals. Finally, the Heating the Midwest with Renewable Biomass Conference brings the month’s energy dialogue full circle. Carlton, Minn., hosts the event’s second occurrence, April 24-26. Organizers have described it as the official rollout of the region’s energy vision, and it’s designed like the Bold Vision for 2025, which debuted at the Northeast Biomass Heating Expo in 2010. An author of both the Northeast and the new Midwest vision, William Strauss, biomass economist and president of FutureMetrics, will deliver the opening keynote and set the tone for the ensuing two days. Each major work session will incorporate the Midwest vision’s findings and recommendations on feedstocks, demographics and demand, and thermal technologies. If your company is considering selling or installing biomass fuels and equipment in the Midwestern market, attending this conference is a wise investment. I’m often asked for recommendations of associations to support and events to attend, to which I always respond, “Support them all, if you have the resources.” I’m often reminded that biomass is a business first. So, how will you decide which conference to attend? Will it be based on the quality of exhibitors, networking environment, or educational resources and professional development? In full disclosure, I’m participating in all three events, and that’s by design; BTEC’s mission supports increasing recognition of thermal regionally and nationally. If you would like to sit down and talk biomass in Saratoga Springs, Minneapolis, or Carlton, send me an email beforehand. I hope to see you at least once this next month. Author: Joseph Seymour Executive Director, Biomass Thermal Energy Council 202-596-3974 ext. 302


New Year Brings Positive Outcomes BY MICHAEL MCADAMS

In my last Biomass Magazine column, I wrote of the upcoming election and the number of things that could potentially be affected, depending on certain outcomes. For the most part, the election brought a number of favorable outcomes for the advanced biofuels sector. After a long and contentious battle, the Advanced Biofuels Association and a large coalition prevailed in earning support of the administration’s proposal to utilize the Defense Production Act to expedite the development of drop-in advanced biofuels for military use. I am delighted to inform readers of those who became the heroes of this battle, which ensued on the Senate floor right after the elections, before the big man slid down the chimney. Sen. Mark Udall, D-CO, with the support of Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., led the fight against the amendment by Sen. Inhofe, R-Okla., which would have restricted the U.S. Navy’s purchasing power to only buy advanced biofuels at the same basic price of incumbent refinery-produced products. Given the 100-year head start, this was hardly a fair provision, and was so constricted in the manner in which it was written it that it would have made it very difficult for the military to carry out certain missions that require specially made fuels. In the end, the Senate defeated Inhofe’s provision by a bipartisan vote of 62 to 37. The Senate then began debate on a second amendment by Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., to delete a prohibition on the use of Defense Department funds to build plants under the proposed DPA program, proposed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Given McCain’s status as the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, this was

a particularly difficult amendment to defeat. With Hagan’s superb effort and the support of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, however, the coalition was able once again to post a bipartisan win and pass of Hagan’s amendment by a vote of 54-41. The effort put the Senate in an excellent position to negotiate with the House in the upcoming conference. At the conference, negotiators with the strong support of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta were able to negotiate a narrow compromise, also eliminating similar limiting amendments that passed the House Armed Services Committee by a narrow vote of 32-29. This allows the DPA program to move forward, and we expect the first phase of funding to be announced as soon as the end of March. In addition to the victories on the Defense Authorization Act, Congress was able to pass a number of biofuels tax credits along with the fiscal cliff legislation just after the first of the year. The provisions extended the biodiesel, renewable diesel and cellulosic tax credits, and also added algae as a qualified feedstock in the newly written advanced biofuels tax credit. All these provisions were extended retroactively to apply in 2012 and will lapse at the end of 2013. This coming year will see a significant challenge to the renewable fuel standard 2, but I’ll save that subject for my next column. The year will be challenging, and your engagement and continued efforts are a must. Thanks for all you do. Author: Michael McAdams President, Advanced Biofuels Association 202-469-5140




The U.S. EPA adopted new national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for PM2.5, fine particulates with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, on Dec. 14. PM2.5 has both an annual and a 24-hour standard. The annual standard was lowered from 15 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3) to 12 ug/m3, which is the lower end of the range that had been proposed by EPA in June. EPA is not proposing to change the 24-hour PM2.5 standard, which is set at 35 ug/m3. States must now determine whether any areas within their jurisdiction are out of attainment with the new PM2.5 annual standard. The state’s determination must be submitted to EPA by December, and the EPA will have one year to issue its final determinations as to what portions of any states are not meeting the standards. There are a couple of unique features about this new rule. First, EPA is grandfathering Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit applications that were deemed complete by Dec. 14. This new approach protects sources that have already entered the PSD permitting process from having to revise their application now that the standards have been issued. Additionally, EPA chose not to adopt a new PM2.5 secondary standard that was intended to specifically address visibility impacts. The June proposal would have adopted a 24-hour visibility standard of between 28 and 30 deciviews to address PM-related visibility impairment. Secondary standards are intended to protect public welfare, including ecological impacts and visibility, while primary standards are intended to protect public health. This was the first time that EPA proposed to adopt a distinct visibility standard, and it was controversial. Ultimately, however, the agency concluded not to adopt a visibility standard, but instead to retain the current secondary PM standards with the notion that the concentration-based standards would be an adequate surrogate for visibility protection.

Boiler MACT and CISWI On Dec. 20, the EPA signed amendments to the Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology standards, originally issued in March 2011. In order to determine how these rules might affect a biomass boiler, it is necessary to determine whether the boiler is located at an area or a major source of Hazardous Air Pollutants.


A major source is a facility that has the potential to emit 10 or more tons per year of any individual HAP, or 25 or more tons per year of aggregate HAP. Under both the 2011 rules and the new rules, existing biomass boilers at area sources are not subject to emission standards, but are subject to work practices. New biomass boilers at area sources are subject to both emission standards and work practices, but the 2012 rule amendments loosen the work practices and revise the emission standards for biomass boilers. The most dramatic rule changes came in relation to biomass boilers at major HAP sources. Both existing and new biomass boilers at major HAP sources are subject to emission and work practice standards, and many of the emission standards got more stringent as a result of the December revisions. However, boilers at major sources now have an additional three years to come into compliance, by Jan. 31, 2016. In a separate but related action, EPA revised the nonhazardous secondary materials rule (NHSM). This rule defines which materials are “solid waste” when burned in combustion units. Boilers that burn solid waste are considered commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators, and are required to meet extremely stringent standards. If possible, sources want to avoid becoming regulated as CISWIs. The December revisions to the NHSM Rule were good for the biomass industry. Further clarification was given as to those fuels considered “clean cellulosic biomass,” and so presumptively not solid waste. In addition, the rule clarified the nonwaste status of resinated wood, landfill gas, and pulp and paper sludge. Hope was raised that relief for construction and demolition wood, as well as paper recycling residuals, was not far behind. EPA suggested that it might even clear the way for railroad ties to be considered fuel, however, regulatory relief for these three fuels requires further rulemaking. Authors: Thomas Wood Attorney, Stoel Rives 503-294-9396 Kevin D. Johnson Attorney, Stoel Rives 612-373-8803

enc nce e innova inno vati tion on, th that at iiss. W We’ e ve g got ot n not ot one one but but two two ttop op rres ese e rch earc ea h instit tituti tions, Iowa S Sttatte Universit i ity and d Uniiversit ity off Iowa. Nott onlly are ar e th they ey p pro rodu duci cing ng bre break akth thro roug ughs hs iin n pl plan antt, a ani nima mall an and d hu human uma man n biosciences. Each is transferring patented discoveries to Iowa’s bioscience companies. Which attracts a cluster of the most innovative bioscience leaders in the world. Which attracts more R&D investment. Which produces more patents. Which attracts a skilled talent pool. We call this Iowa’s “agronomic ecosystem.” It’s why Iowa has produced growth rates and profits that far outpaced the nation. And caused Battelle Technology to write, “No other location in the country has such a complete suite of capabilities for bioscience development.” Find your opportunity at




ArborGen names chief financial officer Richard Eisenstadt has joined ArborGen Inc. as chief financial officer. As the new CFO, he will be responsible for the company’s finance, treasury and investor relations functions and will serve as an executive business partner to Andrew Baum, president and CEO of ArborGen. Eisenstadt has extensive financial and business experience, as well as a broad understanding of funding growth companies. He has more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare, life sciences and emerging technologies industries. For the past nine years he served as CFO of Tranzyme Pharma, where he raised more than $150 million in equity and debt, including the completion of the company’s initial public offering. Agrivida appoints new vice president Agrivida Inc. has added Barbara Wells as vice president of global strategy. As a member of the company’s senior management team, Wells will be responsible for planning and implementing Agrivida’s global commercial development and

scientific collaboration activities, with an initial focus on Latin America. Wells previously served as president and CEO of ArborGen Inc. She currently serves as a director of Metabolix Inc. and as director and chair of the food and agriculture board of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. In her prior positions, Wells developed and implemented strategic plans for biotechnology portfolios in the global forestry and agricultural sectors totaling more than $600 million. She has also led successful acquisitions and joint ventures in the U.S. and abroad. Proterro adds chief business development officer David Austgen has joined Proterro Inc. as its first chief business development officer. Austgen has experience in opportunity assessment, commercial planning, joint ventures, David Austgen has more than 25 contact negotiations years of experience working in the and relationship management. Prior to chemicals and energy sectors. joining Proterro, he

served as chief development officer of Luca Technologies, where he headed up development of global partnerships as well as acquisitions and divestitures within the U.S. Austgen also spent two decades within the Shell family of companies, including the position of senior business and joint venture manager of alternative energy, biofuels at Shell Downstream Inc., where he led biofuel development in Brazil during 2008. BTEC elects 2013 executive officers The Biomass Thermal Energy Council has announced newly elected executive officers for the 2013 board of directors. Dan Wilson, vice president of Wilson Engineering Services, will serve as chairman. Dan Arnett, biomass coordinator for Ernst Conservation Seeds, will serve as vice chair. The position of treasurer will be filled by Robert Davis, founder and CEO of Forest Energy Corp., while John Ackerly, president of the Alliance for Green Heat, will serve as secretary. The election marks the departure of Charlie Niebling, New England Wood Pellet’s general manager, as BTEC chairman.

Expand Your Northeastern Biomass Thermal Network


April 3-5, 2013 City Center - Saratoga Springs, NY

Meet new customers at the region’s premier biomass heating conference and expo.

Space is Limited: Register Today With engineer- and installertailored sessions, and an expanded expo hall, this year’s conference brings biomass heating closer to the consumer than ever before.

2012 Event Stats


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Novozymes appoints new president and CEO Peder Holk Nielsen has been selected to serve as Novozymes new president and CEO, effective April 1. Nielson will replace current president and CEO Steen Riisgaard, who is stepping down after 12 years at the company’s top post, and 33 years with Novozymes and Novo Industri/Novo Nordisk. Nielsen has served as executive vice president and head of the company’s enzyme business since 2007. He has held other positions at Novozymes and Novo Industri/ Novo Nordisk, including those in business development, research and development, quality management, sales and marketing. American Biogas Council, US Composing Council join forces The American Biogas Council and the U.S. Composting Council have signed a memorandum of understanding to help accelerate growth of the organics recycling industry. Together, the two groups represent 900 organizations. Composting and biogas systems both use natural processes to yield saleable products, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, recover soil nutrients, and reduce the need for additional landfill or incineration

capacity. The groups will work to educate leaders and citizens of the benefits of organics recycling, level the playing field with smart policies, and remove unnecessary barriers to project development.

commitment from Best Buy Capital has accelerated development of two additional bioplastic formulations under the Polysole brand name. Both will be introduced into the wider market this year.

Biomass Heating Group launches in UK The Energy and Utilities Alliance has launched the Biomass Heating Group in response to the U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change’s request for a single trade association with which to negotiate and act as a collective voice for companies involved in the biomass heating industry. The group will be led by the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council and the Industrial and Commercial Energy Association.

BNDES awards loan for Solazyme-Bunge venture Solazyme Bunge Renewable Oils, a joint venture of Solazyme Inc. and wholly owned Bunge Ltd., subsidiary Bunge Global Innovation LLC, has received approval for a R$245.699 million ($120 million) loan from the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES). The eight-year loan will have an average interest rate of approximately 4 percent annually. The funding will support the joint venture’s first commercial-scale renewable oil production facility in Brazil, which is being constructed adjacent to Bunge’s Moema sugarcane mill in the state of São Paulo. The facility broke ground in mid2012, and is expected to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2013.

Solegear Bioplastics attracts new investor Solegear Bioplastics Inc. has received a strategic investment from Best Buy Co. Inc. The investment further strengthens Solegear’s initiative to become a global leader in the bioplastics industry. In addition to recent Series A financing, led by Yaletown Venture Partners, the

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BiomassNews ARA partners for biojet demonstration Applied Research Associates Inc. and Blue Sun Energy Inc. are partnering to develop a demonstration-scale facility to scale up the Biofuels Isoconversion Process system using technology developed by ARA and Chevron Lummus Global. The process converts renewable oils into drop-in renewable jet, diesel and gasoline. The companies plan to break ground on the St. Joseph, Mo., facility during SOURCE: NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL CANADA the first quarter of 2013, with operations beginning in the third supplied by Agrisoma Biosciences Inc. Earquarter. Once operational, the facility will lier this year the National Research Council have a production capacity of 100 barrels per day. As a demonstration facility, however, of Canada released results from a 2012 test flight using the 100 percent biobased fuel. it will be operated in one- or two-month The data showed that the biobased jet was increments, producing approximately 4,000 cleaner and just as efficient as conventional gallons of fuel per day. aviation fuel. ARA’s technology has been used to produce biobased jet fuel from carinata oil

Blue-green algae grow chemical precursors Researchers at the University of California have engineered blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, to grow chemical precursors for fuels and plastics. According to the university, the chemists identified enzymes from online databases that carried out the reactions they were looking for, and then introduced the DNA for these enzymes into the cells. The team built a three-step pathway that allowed for the production of 2,3 butanediol, which is used in the manufacture of paint, solvents, plastics and fuels. After three weeks of growth, the research team reported that the engineered cyanobacteria yielded 2.4 grams of the chemical per liter of growth medium. Shota Atsumi, assistant professor of chemistry at UC Davis and lead author of the study, said that level of productivity shows potential for commercial deployment. According to the university, Atsumi hopes to further increase productivity and experiment with other products.

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Report: 100 biomass power projects in 2012 Biomass power capacity Number of units Dec. 2012 5 Jan.-Dec. 2012 100 Jan.-Dec. 2011 131 Installed capacity (GW) Total generating 15 capacity The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects has reported that 100 biomass power projects, representing 543 MW of generation capacity, came online in 2012. In 2011, 131 projects, representing 446 MW of power were brought online. At the close of 2012, the U.S. was home to about 15 gigawatts of biomassfueled power capacity, which accounts for roughly 1.3 percent of the nation’s total power generation capacity.

Installed capacity (MW) 91 543 446 % of total capacity 1.3

In December 2012 alone, five new biomass-fueled power projects began operation. Together, those plants brought 91 MW of installed capacity online. The January edition of the commission’s Energy Infrastructure Update highlights two specific projects, Rollcast Energy’s 60.5 MW Piedmont Green Power project in Barnesville, Ga., and Verso Paper’s 25 MW biomass-fueled Bucksport Mill expansion. Both projects are now online.

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A biomass-solar hybrid plant begins operations A 22.5 MW hybrid biomass-thermosolar power plant has begun operations in Les Borges Blanques, Spain. The facility, developed by Abantia and Comsa Emte, combines solar power generation with biomass-fired power generation in a system that allows for continuous electrical production, even when the sun isn’t shining. The biomass portion of the facility takes in forestry waste as its primary feedstock. It can, however, also be fueled in part by energy crops and agricultural residues. When the solar portion of the plant is operational, solar thermal collectors heat a thermal fuel to 400 degrees Celsius. The fluid is then routed to the power plant block. When there is no sunlight, the biomass portion of the facility produces steam. MAN Diesel & Turbo supplied the MARC-R high-pressure steam turbine that generates power at the facility. According to Simon Radermacher, a sales engineer with the company, this type of hybrid arrangement could theoretically be installed at any thermosolar power plant to ensure a reliable supply of electricity.

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Q&A Maine’s Pellet Phoenix Northeast Pellets' Matt Bell on designing Maine's first pellet mill, losing it to a fire, and rebuilding with safety and fire abatement priorities. Any small business person fears the type of phone call that Matt Bell, president and CEO of Northeast Pellets, received in late March 2009—a pellet mill he designed for a college independent study was engulfed in flames. After confirming that everyone had made it out of the facility unharmed, Matt began the tremendous task of bringing his operation back online. The new Northeast Pellets emerged from the ashes larger, more efficient and far less prone to destructive fires. Similarly, Bell emerged from the experience more convinced than ever about the importance of his pellet mill to the local economy. His peers in the region have taken note of his passion, and he was recently elected to serve as the vice president of the Maine Pellet Fuels Association. You wrote your business plan for your pellet mill operation while still in college. Where did the idea come from initially? I was taking classes at Northern Maine Community College and Husson College, working simultaneously toward my associate and bachelor’s degrees in business management. One of my final classes was small business management, and I opted to take it as an independent study, where we were tasked with writing a business plan. I chose to do mine on a wood pellets facility, as my parents had recently installed a pellet stove and I was intrigued by the newness of the industry. I had always been a hands-on kind of guy, working 16 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | MARCH 2013

in all forms of construction, equipment operation and mechanics, as my father did. At this point, there was only one pellet mill in the Northeast, and a couple in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. I originally thought I’d build a hobby-scale mill, but quickly realized there were economies of scale to be had. I couldn’t build the facility too big, however, given our fiber basket, market range and the infancy of the industry. I spent hundreds of hours researching, drawing, designing and creating proformas. Before I knew it, I had a viable plan, and the next thing I knew, my father and I were at the bank pitching the idea. After talking to a couple of banks and looking at several potential sites, we secured a couple of Small Business Association guaranteed loans. We intended to build from a greenfield site, my father and I being partners on the operation and equipment, while a friend and I were partners on buildings and real estate. The folks at the SBA said my plan was one of the most thorough and well put-together plans they had seen, and needless to say, I got an A in the class. You designed and served as the general contractor for the original mill and the one you built after your fire in 2009. Was your pellet mill the first industrial facility that you’ve designed? Yes, this was my first industrial design. Up to this point I had only visited a few industrial facilities. I had been involved with the building of residential and

Matt Bell

Q&A ¦


commercial lots and roads, and had also done some building design, layout and construction, but certainly nothing of this magnitude. My father, primarily a millwright by trade, helped with the design, along with a good friend who owns a local equipment manufacturing facility, which is where we built much of the conveying and storage equipment. We still work with them regularly to this day. You lost your facility in 2009 to a catastrophic fire. Can you talk a little bit about what went through your mind when the phone rang that March night? The phone rang at 12:05 a.m., March 30, 2009. I had just gone to bed after my nightly check-in with the shift supervisor, and he was calling to tell me the mill was completely engulfed in flames. He continued to say they had tried to put it out, but were unsuccessful, and the fire department was on its way. My first question was “is everyone out and safe?” At this point, we were operating 24 hours per day, five days per week with a skeleton crew of three people at night. Once the fire was extinguished, I was anxious to hit the ground running, perform site clean-up and prepare to rebuild. Unfortunately, the insurance company and some more recent investors had other plans. Things got delayed drastically, and valuable time within our short building season was lost. I have since separated from my partnership—prior to rebuilding—and the insurance claim has yet to be fully settled. When you rebuilt, your design changed from the original. How did safety and fire abatement contribute to your design ideas for the new facility? Safety and fire abatement were of the utmost concern. Our original design was

made with accessibility for me and others in mind, with everything housed beneath one roof, on one level. Now, although the buildings are still accessible, but all seven of them, plus multiple external storage areas, are spaced out. We separated raw material storage, ground material storage, major process equipment, the control room, prebagged bulk pellet storage, the bagging facility, the maintenance shop, the break room and office. Every segment of the operation has been broken up, and many of the buildings are sprinklered and all are heavily equipped with fire extinguishers. What was the most difficult part of your fire experience? All of it. It was like a member of my family had died—the mill had been my baby, my life and my passion for nearly four years. I often joke that I am not married because I am married to the mill. Because our facility was a total loss, we not only had to reconstruct all of the buildings and equipment, we also had to rebuild all of our documents. Without proper documents, dealing with the insurance company was a nightmare. Through this, my partners and I decided to go our separate ways, and I immediately began rebuilding on the same site with my father, friends, family and employees by my side. This time, it was going to be bigger and better than before. All of those ‘Next time, I’d do it this way or that way’ thoughts from our first mill were integrated into our new design. As you might imagine, we have our share of some of those same thoughts after our build. Trust me, though, there will not be another ‘next time.’ Northeast Pellets makes a practice of experimenting with different feedstocks, including eucalyptus and Red Cedar. Why is feedstock testing a part of your operational plan?

We have experimented with several crops indigenous to our region in an effort to produce the best pellet possible, while supporting local farmers and reducing cost to the consumer. We have yet to find a wholly produced or blended pellet that can increase quality while maintaining or reducing costs. The pellet export market seems to be exploding, with a 70 percent increase in 2012. Are you looking to tap into this market opportunity? That is something that all of us here in Maine have been keeping a close eye on. I don’t foresee Northeast Pellets being able to capitalize on the export market from northern Maine, for a whole host of reasons. It is a great distance to our nearest port, and our fiber market is very costly compared to southern regions where eucalyptus and other fast-growing trees are available. The American Southeast is where I see the major players coming from, in regard to the export market. Although they have power reliability issues, fiber and labor are readily available on the cheap. Additionally, Northeast Pellets electrical rates are nearly three times the rate of our competition outside of the local utility grid. These major factors are why we plan to keep our focus on producing the best pellet possible—a super premium pellet with an ash content of half a percent or less, and a Btu value greater than 8,600 per pound. With that in mind, we plan on keeping our business right here in the Northeast, to help homeowners, businesses and institutional facilities cut their heating bills in half, while lessening their dependence on foreign oil.



Bioenergy Plant Precautions

Proper employee training, robust safety procedures and accident prevention techniques will result in a safer work place and dollars saved. BY ANNA SIMET






o matter the depth of familiarity an employee may have with power, pellet or biogas plants, safety should remain a major priority. Steam, pressure, heat, dust, electricity and lots of moving parts can equal the perfect recipe for disaster under certain conditions. While on the exterior some accidents seem impossible to foresee, almost all are preventable. That’s the perspective of Beth Hurley, vice president of health and safety at Covanta Energy. Hurley, who describes her career path as “growing up with Covanta,” has been in her position since 1990. In her years there, she has seen significant changes in not only health and safety regulations, but also innovation in employee safety gear, hazard combat equipment and the adaption of rigorous required and voluntary safety programs and policies, which combined allow the company to boast an accident rate much lower than average in its National Bureau of Labor Statistics category. Covanta Energy owns and operates both biomass power and energy-from-waste (EfW) plants and, while both possess many of the same hazards, and Hurley says EfW are somewhat unique due to the nature of their fuel. “Municipal solid waste (MSW) is delivered to us from a variety of haulers all over the U.S., and occasionally a load that we dub as a ‘hot load’ will come in, which means there is some thermal activity going on.” If employees aren’t careful and the hot load is disposed of into the EfW facility fuel pit, a fire could result. “That’s a big area we’re focused on—safe delivery of MSW,” Hurley says. Sometimes the vehicle operators will know about a hot load, but not always, so there are procedures to address such instances. One includes tipping fuel loads onto the floor

and having the load operator cut the waste by spreading it into a thinner bed for closer inspection. Most times hot loads will be detected in that fashion, according to Hurley, but other times it may end up in the pit and result in a visual indicator—smoke. Though a rare occurrence, pit fires can be extinguished by fire cannons, stationary but rotatable devices that project high-pressure water into the desired area. While pit fires caused by hot loads are one of the hazards best prevented before the fuel enters the plant, normal operating conditions inside a plant pose their own set of risks each day.

Potential Hazard Preparation Hurley notes that plant evacuation plans are essential to ensure employees are able to exit in a safe and efficient manner if needed. An evacuation could be prompted by a variety of forces, including the plant being knocked offline, which can happen if it is struck by lightning. “We do have fire rods that protect us from lightning strikes, but occasionally lightening might get through and we have an event called a black plant,” Hurley says. “A fire and evacuation route would be used in an event like that.” Catwalks, especially if elevated, access routes and moving equipment are potentially hazardous when employees are working on or near them. “Employees are trained to always be sure they’re on a suitable walking/ working surface, which means it has the proper set of handrails,” Hurley says. “If in the event work takes them to an area which isn’t suited for that type of design, they may need to wear a harness and fall protection.”

PLANT SAFETY¦ Occasional cleaning activities are another potential hazard that could result in the release of particulate. “In that case, we’re always measuring and monitoring with various industrial hygiene methods to determine whether the particulate is a concern, and if it is, it’s usually known well in advance and they’re prepared by using a respirator,” Hurley explains. “They are trained for this situation, and have medical clearances to being able to protect themselves from inhalation hazards as needed.” Gear such as respirators and protective wear are an essential component of safety, including hardhats, ear protection from noise, sideshielded safety glasses designed to resist impact breakage, long-sleeved shirts and pants for protection against heat and steam, composite-toe or steel-toed boots for protection against potential falling objects, and reflective vests for wear in dark areas. Additional gear may be required for different job functions, Hurley adds. For example, electricians who get involved in work with energized medium- and high-voltage electrical equipment wear some additional gear for protection against the release of electrical energy that could burn through garments. “This kind of new safety gear has been on the market since about 1999, and it falls in compliance with NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace that requires identification of electrical hazards and equipping employees in a safe manner,” Hurley says. “Years ago electricians didn’t have that gear when doing a job, so they had greater hazard exposure. Today the garments we provide are much better.” New employees at Covanta Energy are required to go through safety training, some of which is minimum regulatory training, but also beyond that; topic-specific training that is done upon employment, as

well as on a monthly basis. “We also have turnover meetings, a continued communication of the conditions of the facility,” Hurley says. “It prepares employees going off work to convey status and transfer knowledge to the oncoming work team.” So who’s responsible for overseeing normal/safety operations at a single plant day to day? “On the most basic level, the answer to that is everyone,” Hurley says. “Every employee has a critical responsibility to foresee and identify hazards, so we have a program that allows us to trickle up recognition of conditions and document them. If it’s not measured, it’s not well-known. We look for trends, ways to convey improvements that can be made, and hopefully, reduce occurrences of concerns. All of this plays into everyone’s participation.” A lot of people think safety is common sense, but it’s really not, Hurley adds. “You’ll hear people say ‘be safe,’ but you can’t train them by just saying that.” At pellet plants, safety protocol should be of the same caliber as at biomass power or EfW plants, but the majority of hazards stem from potential sources of ignition and fires. It’s important to understand what they are and how to prevent them, according to Nicole Forsberg of Firefly AB, a Swedish spark detection and fire and dust explosion protection system supplier.

Pellet Plant Safety The most common ignition source generators at pellet plants are places where friction generates overheated material, Forsberg points out. Those places are numerous, and include dryers, dryer cyclones, interme-

Dust and gas explosions are deadly and commercially devastating.

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On-farm Biogas Plant Hazards Major hazards that can exist with an anaerobic digestion (AD) facility include: Asphyxiation Asphyxiants are often active at very low concentrations and are present wherever there is storage of organic material. Within confined spaces and other covered areas, the potential exists for atmospheric concentrations to develop that become immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH). An IDLH condition can be defined as an atmospheric concentration of any toxic, corrosive, or asphyxiant substance (simple or chemical) that poses an immediate threat to life, would cause irreversible or delayed adverse health effects, or would interfere with an individual’s ability to escape from a dangerous atmosphere. Signs should be used to alert employees and visitors of the potential for IDLH conditions. Areas prone to these conditions include structures housing the gen set or boiler, below-grade pump chambers, and biogas storage devices. A simple and convenient way to ensure the safety of an area’s atmosphere is to install a wall-mounted sensor that can detect hazardous gases. In the event that a hazardous gas sensor is triggered, an emergency action plan should be implemented. Explosion potential Methane, the main component of biogas, is flammable when it mixes with air. Upper and lower explosive limits (LEL) are established to provide an identifiable range of concentrations that will produce a flash fire when an ignition source is presented. The LEL is often referred to as flammable limit. For methane, the lower and upper explosive limit is 5 percent and 15 percent by volume of air, respectively. Electrical hazards The generation of large quantities of electricity at an AD facility creates electrical hazards, most of which can be found near the gen set, transformer and electrical panels. Licensed electricians are the only personnel with the authority to service and repair electrical systems. In addition, the facility should post signs identifying general electrical hazards near the electrical generation system. SOURCE: U.S. EPA AGSTAR


diate storage, mills, presses, coolers, screens, pellet silos, filters, unloading areas and burners. “Glowing embers, sparks, overheated bearings and other hot particles within the manufacturing process can be dangerous and cause fires and/or dust explosions,” Forsberg says. It’s also common for fires to occur as production stops and starts. “Think of the famous fire triangle—for a fire to take place, three elements are needed: oxygen, heat and fuel,” she explains. “In pellet production we have wood as the fuel and heat within most of the process, but less oxygen. When large amounts of material cover the process flows, only small amounts of oxygen are present. At process stop, all of a sudden there is more room for oxygen, and if the stop is at a hot stage of the process, the risk of a fire is significantly higher.” Typical stages of the manufacturing process where a fire or explosion can take place within a process stop are in the dryer and in or around the hammer milling function. Regarding some important steps and precautions to take in preventing fire hazards at a pellet plant, Forsberg says good housekeeping is very important, in order to keep any accumulated dust in or around machinery out of the way. “A solid maintenance schedule is good for many reasons, such as keeping any surfaces clean to prevent hazardous secondary dust explosions, as well as ensuring the machinery is in good shape,” she says. Having a proper dust extraction system is important for avoiding unsafe accumulation of dust.”

PLANT SAFETY¦ Conducting a risk analysis is key, as a plant developer should know where ignition sources are in order to design as safe a process as possible. “If you‘re designing a pellet plant, many risks can be designed out of the process,” Forsberg says. “When conducting a risk analysis, important parameters such as the quantity of material being conveyed, particle size, moisture in various sections of the process, temperatures, conveyor diameters, and the capacity of the fans are important to consider.” Once a risk analysis is done, risk zones within the manufacturing process can be located and addressed with proper preventive equipment such spark detection. It’s important to design the extinguishing system in such a way that the process is stopped only in extreme emergencies, Forsberg notes, thus avoiding false positives. “Daylight-sensitive detectors can alarm if a ray of sunlight enters the process, which can cause unnecessary production stops and be costly down the road,” she says. “False positives from sparks that are not dangerous can lead personnel to being indifferent to dangerous detections versus serious detections, so this is another reason it is so important to have a system that only detects the true dangerous particulates.” In terms of meeting hazard regulations, Forsberg says that due diligence is the best path forward. “They should review and understand Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements and know the National Fire Protection Association guidelines, however, some of the information is over 5 years old, so researching and understanding common and recent industry standards could be the most important factor in determining the level of fire prevention needed or desired.” Forsberg recommends every facility be aware of and follow the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) and what standards/requirements are relevant for each case. The AHJ can be anything from a fire marshal to a building inspector from the local OSHA office. “OSHA has several guidelines for factories that one should be aware of, and the NFPA standards as well,” Forsberg says. “For the biomass industry, be aware of the NFPA 664: Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Wood Working Facilities, or the NFPA 654: Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufac-

turing, Processing and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids.” Insurance companies may also have requirements for housekeeping, design or routines regarding safety and combustible dust, and some might offer free dust-testing. “To be on the safe side and ensure compliance and safe practices, I’d recommend anyone to contact the local OSHA office,” Forsberg says. Overall, spending some time and money on safety and prevention up front can save a pellet manufacturer hundreds of thousands

of dollars down the road. “Worst case is that you know how to act if an accident should occur, and the best case is you have prevented it from happening,” Forsberg adds. “You must be aware of the risks and dangers you’re exposed to in order to prevent them from being a danger.” Author: Anna Simet Managing Editor, Biomass Magazine 701-751-2756




Boiler MACT Impacts Biomass Power With the recent promulgation of the Boiler MACT regulations, biomass power generators will be obliged to meet additional emission limitations. BY BRANDON BELL


he U.S. EPA’s National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major and Minor Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters, or Boiler MACT has been a hotly contested regulation that imposes emission limits on new and existing combustion units with a heat input greater than 10 million Btu per hour. Since mid-May 2012, when the final rule was sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget, the industry has been patiently waiting for the formal release of the rule. On Dec. 20, EPA Administra-

tor Lisa Jackson signed the promulgated rule, which is currently awaiting formal publication in the Federal Register.

Major vs. Area Sources The amount of pollution generated by a biomass combustion unit will determine the type of pollutants that are regulated along with the level of reduction required. A firm understanding of the classification methods imposed by EPA is needed to determine which limitations will be imposed. Each facility will need to determine if it is, or will be designed to be, at pollutions lim-

The claims and statements made in this article belong exclusively to the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Biomass Magazine or its advertisers. All questions pertaining to this article should be directed to the author(s).


its that designate it as a major source or an area source, which is sometimes referred to as a minor source. As defined by 40 CFR 51.166(b)(1)(i)(a), there are three major criteria that are used to evaluate whether a facility is a major or area source. These are: • Any individual criteria pollutant that exceeds 250 tons per year. • Any individual hazardous air pollutant (HAP) that exceeds 10 tons per year. • Combined HAP emissions that exceed 25 tons per year. Criteria pollutants are contaminants that, when present in significant quantities, cause smog, acid rain, and other health hazards. These pollutants consist of oxides of nitrogen, volatile organic compounds,



JUMP START: Biomass power operators should begin developing and implementing an action compliance plan.

sulfur dioxide, fine particulate, and carbon monoxide. The Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule specifies a further six greenhouse gases that are also considered criteria pollutants. These six pollutants—carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride are combined into a single regulated category called greenhouse gases. Currently, biomass facilities have a threeyear exemption from this rule and do not have to calculate these emissions. Hazardous Air Pollutants have been defined by Section 112 of the Clean Air Act and consist of 187 chemicals harmful to human health. If a facility exceeds any of the three thresholds outlined in 40 CFR 51.166(b)(1)(i)(a), then they are classified as a major source by the EPA. For scale, an approximate breaking point between major and area source regulations for a facility using clean virgin wood chips is approximately 25 MW gross. It should be noted that all emission sources from a facility are required to be included in these calculations. As an example, back-up diesel generators or diesel-fire water pumps are required to be operated for short periods of time for maintenance purposes. Emissions from these activities are to be included in the facility’s emission inventory.

Area Source Limits An area source designation has significant benefits. For all new biomass area sources, the only regulated pollutant is filterable particulate matter (PM). Biomass boilers with a heat input between 10 MMBtu/hr and 30 MMBtu/hr are required to keep filterable particulate emissions below 0.07 lb/MMBtu, while boilers rated 30 MMBtu/hr and greater are limited to 0.03 lb/MMBtu. In addition to restrictions on particulate emissions, new biomass boilers will be required to conduct a biennial tuneup of the boiler. Existing biomass facilities that have been classified as area sources have more relaxed restrictions than new units. Existing area source biomass units, regardless of heat input, do not have new limitations on filterable PM. These units will be subject to an initial tune-up, however, and will be required to conduct biennial tune-ups.

Major Source Limits If a facility is classified as a major source under the EPA definitions, the Boiler MACT regulations impose further limits. The limitations outlined by Boiler MACT are divided into new and existing units, and then further detailed by the combustion technology utilized. The regulation also offers some flexibility when selecting which MARCH 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 25

¦POWER Figure 1: New Source Biomass Limits - Boiler MACT Subcategory

Filterable PM (or total selected metals) (lb/MMBtu heat input)

HCI (lb/MMBtu heat input)

Mercury (lb/MMBtu heat input)

CO (ppm @ 3% O2)

Alternate CO CEMS Limit (ppm @ 3% O2)

Wet Stoker/Sloped Grate/ Other

0.030 (2.6 E-05)


8.0 E-07



Kiln - Dried Stoker/Sloped Grate/other

0.030 (4.0 E-03)


8.0 E-07



Fluidized Bed

0.00098 (8.3 E-05)


8.0 E-07



Suspension Burner

0.030 (6.5 E-03)


8.0 E-07



Dutch Ovens/Pile Burners

0.0032 (3.9 E-05)


8.0 E-07



Fuel Cells

0.020 (2.9 E-05)


8.0 E-07



Hybrid Syspension Grate

0.026 (4.4 E-04)


8.0 E-07



limitations will be imposed. Major source facilities must choose between a limit imposed on filterable particulate matter or on total selected metals. For the total selected metals category, the limitation is comprised of the summation of eight metals classified as hazardous air pollutants. These metals consist of arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, nickel and selenium.

Unlike area source regulations, biomass facilities classified as major sources also have new limitations placed on carbon monoxide emissions. Some flexibility is also granted for these emissions. Compliance may be demonstrated through a three-run average or a 10-day rolling average monitored by a Continuous Emission Monitoring System.


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Hydrogen Chloride, Mercury Back In The proposed changes to the Boiler MACT regulation in December 2011 exempted biomass units, both new and existing, from limitations on mercury and hydrogen chloride (HCl) emissions. Unfortunately, the promulgated rule removed this exemption and now requires the control of HCl and mercury. The control of mercury is especially challenging for biomass units. After the biomass combustion process, mercury present in the fuel will take one of three forms in the flue gas. These are elemental mercury (Hg0), divalent mercury (Hg++), or as a particulate. Mercury in a particulate form will be captured by particulate control devices, but mercury in an elemental or divalent state will pass through all emission control systems. Activated carbon will adsorb mercury and can be injected into the exit flues of a boiler at a particular temperature regime, but this process requires the mercury to be in a divalent state. To promote the capture of elemental mercury, it must first be forcibly ionized, typically through halogenation. With the mercury adsorbed onto the activated carbon particles, it can then be removed in a particulate control device. Hydrogen chloride emissions can be controlled by either calcium or sodiumbased sorbents. With this approach, calcium sorbents such as limestone or hydrated lime are injected directly into the upper furnace or other high-temperature region, and reduce the hydrogen chloride to calcium chloride. Sodium sorbents, such as trona or

POWER¦ Figure 2: Existing Source Biomas Limits - Boiler MACT Subcategory

Filterable PM (or total selected metals) (lb/MMBtu heat input)

HCI (lb/MMBtu heat input)

Mercury (lb/MMBtu heat input)

CO (ppm @ 3% O2)

Alternate CO CEMS Limit (ppm @ 3% O2)

Wet Stoker/Sloped Grate/ Other

0.037 (2.4 E-04)


5.7 E-06



Kiln - Dried Stoker/Sloped Grate/Other

0.32 (4.0 E-03)


5.7 E-06



Fluidized Bed

0.11 (1.2 E-03)


5.7 E-06



Suspension Burner

0.051 (6.5 E-03)


5.7 E-06



Dutch Ovens/Pile Burners

0.28 (2.0 E-03)


5.7 E-06



Fuel Cells

0.020 (5.8 E-03)


5.7 E-06



Hybrid Syspension Grate

0.44 (4.5 E-04)


5.7 E-06



sodium bicarbonate, require an intermediate step prior to control of HCl emissions. Both trona and sodium bicarbonate require the process of calcination to form sodium carbonate. The sodium carbonate then reacts with hydrogen chloride in a suitable temperature regime to form sodium chloride.

Lasting Effect

for the removal of mercury can cost upwards of $1,500 to $2,000 per ton and will add to fly ash quantities and disposal costs. All in all, operators should immediately start developing and implementing an action plan to meet compliance dates. Legal challenges to this regulation can be expected, but at best can only be expected to briefly delay implementation. They will not relieve indus-

trial users of the obligation of meeting the current rule. Author: Brandon Bell, P.E. Principal Mechanical Engineer, KBR Power & Industrial 312-846-7492

It is estimated that, for all fuels, Boiler MACT will affect 14,136 boilers and process heaters classified as major sources and 180,000 boilers currently classified as area sources. Over the next three years, it is anticipated that 1,844 new major source boilers and 6,800 new area source boilers will be affected by this regulation. Deadlines to meet emission limitations are tight and must be addressed immediately, or facilities face noncompliance with the regulation. New area sources—those with a startup date after May 20, 2011—must meet emission regulations immediately, while existing area sources will have until March 21, 2014 to comply. New major sources—those which began operation on or after June 4, 2010—and existing sources will have three years from the publication date of Boiler MACT to meet the outlined limitations. Capital expenditures for pollution mitigation equipment can be significant. Costs for sorbent injection systems and activated carbon systems can range from $21 to $65/ kW depending on the size of the facility. Maintenance and operating costs will also increase substantially as activated carbon


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