The Big Picture on Full Systems Emissions ComplianceTo remove operational risk from emission compliance, power plants need to look beyond catalyst maintenance.
Power Plant Owners and Operators are challenged with maintaining optimum emissions system performance over time, at a minimum lifecycle cost, while keeping in full permit compliance. It’s no easy task, made more complicated by a range of emerging factors and challenges. Plants today are being tasked to:
MAXIMIZE PROFITS IN A CHANGING MARKET
Many plants are operating at a bare minimum staffing level while simultaneously expected to increase profitability operating with aging assets. Additional constraints further challenge power plants to have adequate subject matter experts available to ensure they remain in compliance, creating a lack of certainty and increased risk. NOXCO helps to de-risk investments and address these gaps at the plant level with remote operations and compliance expertise for aging assets.
ADAPT TO DIFFERENT OPERATING PROFILES
The power industry is experiencing transformational change with the high growth of renewable energy displacing fossil generation and dramatically changing combined cycle plant dispatch profiles and profitability. Start/stop operations, increased load following operation and transient conditions, less energy sales during higher energy margin daytime hours, as well as increased time at low loads combine to create massive challenges for emissions systems to maintain performance and compliance.
ADHERE TO STRICT REGIONAL GUIDELINES
Plants in non-attainment areas have stricter permit guidelines and different environmental emissions requirements in order to meet specific local environmental objectives. Plants that operate with stricter and higher air quality standards due to denser populations, policies, or reliance on tourism are especially vulnerable to emissions compliance risks.
Catalyst Maintenance does not equal Full System Emissions Compliance
Catalyst life is critical to power plant operations, but it is only one component of a complete and fully integrated emissions system. And optimizing emission system performance and lifecycle cost is much more than managing catalyst replacement intervals.
Integrated solutions are required that can provide wrapped services designed to keep plants fully compliant, optimize performance, deliver fixed costs and peace of mind.
Understanding the Risks
US power plant emissions of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Carbon Monoxide (CO) as well as other pollutants are regulated by the Clean Air Act of 1970 and subsequent 1990 CAA Amendments which established National Ambient Air Quality Standards and air permit programs in order to protect the public health and the environment. The EPA is the primary regulating authority with state and local regulatory agencies tasked to establish and enforce permit requirements.
Key stakeholders must understand the permits and regulations for the continuous monitoring of emissions. While most permit violations are unintentional and could be the result of equipment failures or maintenance issues, there are penalties:
- Failure to properly operate a power plant in conformance with applicable permit limits may lead to civil penalties of up to $37,500 per day per violation.
- In the case of an individual committing criminal or willful violations of the CAA, the EPA has authority to assess fines and seek imprisonment.
- Willfully operating a plant while not in compliance is a federal crime, and the individual whose name is on the permit is personally liable.