EPA proposes changes to NSPS for combustion turbines

On June 22, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed revisions to emission control requirements for new, modified, and reconstructed stationary combustion turbines.

These regulations, known as New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), apply to stationary combustion turbines located at power plants, pipeline compressor stations, chemical and manufacturing plants, oil fields, landfills and institutional facilities. They are used to produce electricity and to drive heavy equipment like compressors.

EPA will take comments on these proposed changes after publication of them in the Federal Register.

In July 2006, EPA took final action to update the NSPS for new, modified, and reconstructed stationary combustion turbines. These amendments strengthened the NOX and SO2 standards for stationary combustion turbines by 90% and 80%, respectively. The June 22 action is in response to a request for reconsideration from the Utility Air Regulatory group, said an EPA fact sheet on the changes.

In the proposal package EPA is proposing to, among other things:

  • Maintain the current numerical NOX standards, but specify that periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunctions are now covered by the emissions standard.
  • Allow owners/operators of stationary combustion turbines burning byproduct gas to petition the EPA administrator for a site specific NOX limit.
  • Allow owners/operators of stationary combustion turbines and any associated heat recovery equipment covered by both the previous combustion turbine NSPS and a steam generating unit NSPS the option to petition the administrator to instead comply with these standards of performance for combustion turbines.
  • Specify that even though the definition of “stationary combustion turbine” under federal regulations includes ancillary equipment that only the combustion turbine engine shall be considered when determining if a stationary combustion turbine is new or reconstructed.
  • Exempt owners/operators of stationary combustion turbines that are complying with the SO2 standard in either of the standards of performance for petroleum refineries from the SO2 standards in these performance standards for combustion turbines.
  • Amend the SO2 standard for owners/operators of stationary combustion turbines burning low-Btu gases to be the same as the current standard for combustion turbines burning biogas (landfill gas, digester gas, etc).
  • Recognize the environmental benefit of electricity generated by combined heat and power facilities to account for the benefit of on-site generation avoiding losses from the transmission and distribution of the electricity.
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.