U of Montana air quality permit decision delayed

By Lisa Gibson | November 21, 2011

A decision from the Missoula, Mont., City-County Health Department to approve or deny the air quality permit for the University of Montana’s biomass gasification plant was expected Nov. 17 but has been delayed for 30 days.

“During that time UM and the county health will clean up the stipulations I proposed to be added to the permit for their final consideration and vote,” said Hugh Jesse, director of facilities at the university. “The impact is at least an additional 30 days has been added to the final decision of the Air Quality Board’s review of the Missoula Health Department’s administrative review of the air quality permit issued to UM to build the biomass plant.”

The $16 million combined-heat-and-power plant will employ a Nexterra Systems Corp. gasifier and will consume about 15,500 bone dry tons per year of woody biomass. It’s expected to be operational in the second quarter of 2013, producing 700 kilowatts of power and 34,000 pounds of heat per hour. In addition, the university will incorporate the gasification system into the curriculum for the College of Technology’s energy technician and forestry programs.