FAQ: Gortadroma Power Plant Emissions

 

 Q. What is the chemical content of the emissions from the plant? 

 

A.    Gas phase emissions (stack gas) from the plant will depend, to some extent, on the composition of the fuel being used at the time. Qualitatively, the stack gas will be comprised of the following main components:

·        Nitrogen (which comprises about 78% of ambient air)

·        Water Vapor (also a normal constituent of air)

·        Carbon Dioxide (combustion product)

·        Oxygen (between 2% and 7% depending on how the plant is being operated)

 

            Trace level components that are regulated, and which will remain well below regulatory limits in the stack gas and in the surrounding outside air, include:

·        NOx (oxides of nitrogen)

·        SOx (oxides of sulfur)

·        CO (oxide of carbon and product of partial combustion)

·        Particulate Matter (solid particles, including particles designated as PM10 -particles of size 10 microns or less - and as PM2.5 -particles of size 2.5 microns or less).

            Constituents regulated by the Irish EPA that will remain far below regulatory limits and, in fact, (in all likelihood) below the limits of detection by the stack gas emissions monitor described below, include benzene, ozone, and lead.

 

            A continuous emissions monitoring system (CEMS) device will be installed on each stack at the Gortadroma gasification plant and will provide continuous monitoring of regulated constituents in the stack gas in accordance with Irish EPA regulations. Results from CEMS monitoring are reported the EPA on a periodic basis.

 

            Again, flue gas concentrations and total emissions of these constituents are strictly regulated by the Irish EPA, which sets health-based limits on their release. Ireland EPA Regulations with regard to Air Quality Standards are set forth in Statutory Instruments (SI No. 180 of 2011), which is available online at:

 http://www.epa.ie/pubs/legislation/air/quality/AQ%20Standards%20Regs%20SI%20180%20of%202011.pd

 

Q. Will the gas phase emissions be toxic? If so explain.

A2.   As a matter of clarification, term "toxic" is normally used to refer to environmentally persistent compounds such as dioxins or heavy metals such as lead.

 

         At concentrations well above those set forth by the Irish EPA as air quality standards, all of the pollutants listed in A1 above can be harmful to human health. At the same time, most of these pollutants are encountered in most ambient air at some concentration, especially in urban area. What is important is that the concentrations of these constituents remain below (and usually well below) the regulatory limits set forth by the Irish EPA.   The Gortadroma plant has been designed, as confirmed by US regulators, to maintain concentrations of emissions well below both Irish and US EPA regulatory limits. The CEMS systems described above (one on each gas stack) will help ensure and verify that the Gortadroma Facility stays in compliance with the health based emission limits set by the Irish EPA

 

          With specific reference to dioxins and furans, the system has been specifically designed to prevent these compounds from forming in the first place. Their levels in the flue gas will remain below the level of detection by the CEMS and far below levels normally found in other combustion product emissions.

 

Q. Please give a clear and concise statement on what you as a company intend to do with the inert ash.

 

A.    The inert ash will constitute approximately 5 to 7 percent of the refuse derived fuel fed to the gasifiers.  Our intent is to sell this material or provide it to users of aggregate or road fill, similar to what the Councilmen and residents saw during their visit to the gasification plant in France. There will also be inert rejects from the incoming waste stream such as broken glass, ceramics, etc. that can not be sold to recyclers of those materials. None of this inert material will give rise to odors, or be a source of emissions to the air or ground water.

 

            It is intended that the heat treated ash residue be sold for aggregare for cement block making. The reject (non-hazardous inerts such broken glass, ceramics, etc.) will go to landfill. The total amount of waste to landfill will only be about 10%, or less, of that going to landfill now.  

 

             It should be noted that gasification of solid waste  gives rise to far less greenhouse gas equivalents, or other environmental pollutants, than does placing the solid waste in landfills. Another advantage of gasification is that the volume of waste going to landfills is reduced by more than 90%.

 

Q. Can a substance leak from this plant?

If so what?

Is it dangerous?

What are implications for community.

If it was to happen or could happen what is procedure?

 

A.  The only substance at the plant that could possibly leak into the environment is the diesel fuel that will stored on-site for use in fueling the mobile equipment and for "black start" of the gasifier lines, ( a rare event since these lines operate on a continuous basis for many months at a time. This fuel will be stored in government and EPA approved above ground tanks that will be mounted in concrete catch basins in full accordance with Irish regulations for storage of fuel oil. Fuel will be dispensed from inside the catch basin, or routed to the gasifiers in closed pipes.