Tennessee reviews Eastman Chemical’s coal-to-gas switch

A public hearing in Nashville before the Technical Secretary of the Tennessee Air Pollution Control Board is planned for May 7 on a plan by Eastman Chemical (NYSE: EMN) to possibly repower five boilers at Powerhouse B-253 at its Kingsport chemical facility from coal to natural gas.

This change would fit within the state’s planned regional haze reduction program. The May 7 hearing is to consider amendments to the proposed Regional Haze State Implementation Plan (SIP) to protect visibility in Class I areas. The comments received at this hearing will be presented to the Tennessee Air Pollution Control Board for its consideration.

“This will be the third public hearing for Tennessee’s Regional Haze SIP, and this hearing is limited to the proposed changes to the Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) requirements for Powerhouse B-253 at Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tennessee,” said the notice. “The proposed revisions provide Eastman Chemical Company the option to repower this powerhouse from coal to natural gas if it is determined to be necessary to comply with other federal requirements. At both Class I areas in Tennessee, visibility improvements on the worst days are expected to be better than the uniform rate of progress glide path by 2018 based solely on reductions from existing and planned emissions controls.”

The alternative BART being established in this action is limited to the five boilers at Eastman’s B-253 Powerhouse with no trading at other BART facilities in Tennessee, said a board supporting document. There is no change to the determination that a 0.2 lb SO2/MMBtu limit is BART for these units. If Eastman elects to pursue its plan to repower all five coal-fired boilers at the B-253 Powerhouse to natural gas, Tennessee has made the determination that it will represent the ultimate control of sulfur oxides, and is far superior to reducing this visibility impairing pollutant compared to coal-fired boilers using post-combustion sulfur oxides control technology, the agency noted. The five boilers are called boilers #25-#29.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.