Southeast biomass conference panel to explore emission liabilities, solutions

By Anna Austin
Posted August 24, 2010, at 4:13 p.m. CST

Meeting current and looming emissions and air quality control requirements-on both state and federal levels-may prove to be a daunting challenge. The Southeast Biomass Conference & Expo being held Nov. 2-4 in Atlanta will cover the issues facing biomass electricity generation plants and projects in the Southeast and provide solutions to overcome them.

Angela Morrison Uhland, an attorney with Tallahassee, Fla.-based Hopping Green and Sams, will be one of the presenters in the panel session titled Understanding Your Emissions Liabilities and the Technological Options to Control Them. Her 20 years of experience working with Clean Air Act Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting issues will be of great value as she discusses the issues that could arise in the permitting process, as well as what federal agencies could consider in a case-by-case Best Available Control Technology determination.

"In light of both EPA's greenhouse gas (GHG) assessments under the revised renewable fuel standard (RFS) and EPA's intent to regulate GHG emissions on a case-by-case basis under the PSD program beginning as early as January, this presentation will be very timely, and will provide information that is important to all existing and proposed biofuel and biopower facilities," Uhland said. "Without getting into the technical details of the RFS program, this presentation will provide a brief overview of EPA's findings regarding the impact on GHG emissions for the various types of biofuels and any production techniques that must be followed to meet the GHG emission threshold requirements."

Uhland's presentation will provide a general overview of the PSD permitting program and potential implications for biopower and biofuel facilities if GHG emissions are regulated under the program. The initial set of fuel pathways will also be described, Uhland said, along with the process for petitioning the EPA to assess other fuel pathways, which will be important for newer feedstocks used in the Southeast.

Presenting a new method of reducing fossil carbon emissions, Larry Felix, research and development manager at the Gas Technology Institute, will present information about a hydrothermal biomass pretreatment method that allows biomass to be combined, pelletized and/or briquetted with coal or coal fines to form a stable fuel for combustion or gasification. "The hydrothermal pre-treatment (HPT) of lignocellulosic biomass by hot compressed water is being investigated in several U.S. DOE–sponsored projects as a route for rapidly converting differing biomass feedstocks into homogeneous, soft biosolids, but with a much higher energy density than the parent feedstock," Felix said. "The resulting biosolid is higher in carbon content and lower in oxygen content than the parent biomass, and chemically resembles a lignite or subbituminous coal."

Felix said his presentation will describe the HTP process as applied to woody and herbaceous feedstocks, with selected results for Southern loblolly pine, as well as the mass and composition of gaseous, aqueous and solid products. "Also, the effects of reaction conditions upon product yields and compositions will be discussed, and I will describe the extent of energy densification and possible options for use of these biofuels in cofiring and cogasification scenarios," he added.

Rich Grzanka of Anguil Environmental Systems Inc. will discuss new biomass boiler emission control technologies that will help comply with the upcoming Maximum Available Control Technology (MACT) boiler rule. The panel will be moderated by Anna Austin, an associate editor at Biomass Magazine.

A fourth presenter for the panel will soon be announced.

For more information about the Southeast Biomass Conference & Trade Show, visit