1999 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999 14:44:40 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: re: Request for Advise, Insight, Comment on Locating Wood BurningPower Plant in Urban Industrial Area

Having done some wood waste projects of various kinds, as well as a
number of power projects, I have a few thoughts.  If you want more
details, let me know.

1.  Will the sales of power to the local utility be sufficient to support the
economics of the project?  Don't think that PURPA will always be around.
 There are proposals before congress to eliminate the Section 210
obligation to purchase power on a prospective basis.  If that hurts the
economics, you need to think about that.

2.  What rate will the power company pay?  Is it buying capacity, or
energy or both?  Will it dispatch the unit?  Are there limits on dispatch? 
How does that fit with the other economics.

3.   How much does CO2 sales add to the economics?  Is the process
really worth the additional capital?

4.  What kind of turbine or other generator?  I'm assuming steam,
because I don't think you could make do on a combustion turbine.   Given
the location, will noise be an issue?  How big is the site, and what's

5.  Used pallets are notorious for having materials besides wood,
depending on what they have carried and how many times.  Has the
developer tested local used pallets?  There can be heavy metals,
pesticides, paints, solvents and other materials.  Will the pollution control
system handle them all?

6.  Will the faclity qualify as a recycling facility under local law, or will
you need waste disposal permits?  If the facility must be permitted as a
waste disposal facility, there can be additional costs, additional
requirements, and more stringent reviews.

7.  Will the facility take all pallets or only those which are "clean" ?  Who
supplies the pallets?   Is volume big enough?  Will you need an area to

8.  Most facilities of this type chip the pallets, and store chips not
Will you have roofed or indoor storage?  Outdoor storage will likely
require some stormwater considerations (again -- what is on the

9.  If the facility qualifies as a recycler, will you use pollution control
bonds for financing, or economic development bonds, or all private
capital?  Who will hold title to the facility and the property?  If bonds will
be issued, the indenture trustee or the economic development authority
needs to get happy with the environmental issues, especially at a

10.  Air permit issues -- PSD?  Non-attainment?  NOx controls and NOx
trading?  SOx allowances (should be ok, sulfur emissions are likely to be

Bottom line -- as my father taught me, a project like this makes sense only
if the raw economics make sense.  Given whatever it will cost to get,
store and chip pallets, turn them into steam and control emissions, can
you make money selling the power?  selling the CO2? How close are the
margins?  If you can make money, the rest is doable.  If everything
hinges on a few assumptions, best to look at them very closely.

Chuck Patrizia

>>> Emery Graham <"egraham"@ci.wilmington.de.us> 08/12/99 09:50am

Request for Advise, Insight, Comment on Locating Wood Burning Power
in Urban Industrial Area

This listserv has been very useful. I'd like to get some feedback from
its members regarding a proposed project that meets the following
description. This is an open question and I'd like to get as
broadranging a set of comments as possible. I'd like to know if there is
technology available to mitigate any environmental negatives that might
be associated with this type of plant.

The project would be located in a small river based municipality, in a
brownfields, environmentally impacted, minority, and low/moderate
area. From a market perspective the location is ideal in that the local
power company will buy the power, a compressed gas company will
buy the
carbon dioxide, a greenhouse project will use cogenerated steam. I'd
like to know what the environmental impacts are likely to be. The
nearest residents are within a half mile of the proposed project site.

The project is a small (22 megawatt) energy and carbon dioxide plant
that uses clean wood salvaged from construction debris, used pallets,
residential landscaping material as fuel. This material is currently
being disposed of in area landfills.

The project has number of advantages for the citizens of Wilmington:
i) it creates approximately 65 jobs
ii) it saves rapidly diminishing space in landfills through recycling
waste wood materials, and 
iii) emissions from this environmentally friendly project is but a fraction
of those emitted by conventional coal or oil fired power plants.

Thanks In Advance,

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