Changes are in the air at the Lavington pellet plant.
An Environment Protection Notice has been issued as Pinnacle Renewable Energy is currently seeking a few changes to its permit.
The main changes revolved around bed dryers, the pelletmill cyclofilter and hammermill cyclofilter.
“We had a significant fire in March 2016 in one of the dryers at the plant, and despite making upgrades to prevent or contain a similar incident from occurring again, we feel that the current configuration does not reflect our commitment to eliminating all risk of upset conditions,” said Paul Pawlowski, Pinnacle Renewable Energy director of energy and environment.
“In a nutshell, the air recirculation system that we have in the bed dryers creates the potential for sparks to be delivered to the drying area where the fibre lays on the belt. In order to mitigate this risk, the recirculation feature must be removed so that only fresh air passes through the burner area prior to reaching the fibre on the belt.”
To reflect this change, the permit must be amended to reflect the incremental air being brought in and emitted from the process (> 66 m3/s versus 132 m3/s on each dryer).
It was also determined that the hammermill cyclofilter would not be required in the initial phase of development given that there was available capacity within the pelletmill cyclofilter to treat the air flow from the hammermills.
With these changes, Pawlowski says there is nothing for the public to be concerned about.
“We conducted extensive air shed modelling under direction of the Ministry of Environment that shows that there will be a marginal betterment to the original air shed modelling that was conducted in 2014 as part of the original permit.”
In regards to particulate, the current permit maximum particulate level that can be discharged from the facility is 10.314 kg/hr.
“Based on stack testing conducted to date, we have been operating at a level of approximately 2.60 kg/hr, and with the proposed permit amendment will be operating at a level of 4.60 kg/hr which would still be less than the maximum under the original permit.”
To put that in context, the average 24-hour contaminant maximum predicted concentration under the current permit are 15.6 PM10 and 7.25 PM2.5. The proposed permit amendment would be 12.1 PM10 and 5.60 PM2.5
Pawloski adds: “There will be no impacts to noise from the facility.”