Alcoa opts for its own gas-fired heaters at Iowa plant

Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) is working through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources on an air permit for a project to replace steam from a nearby coal-fired power plant with steam and heat produced by new on-site facilities at its massive Alcoa Davenport Works (ADW).

“Alcoa Davenport Works currently purchases steam for building heat and manufacturing processes from the utility (MidAmerican Energy) located nearby,” said a DNR fact sheet. “MidAmerican Energy is a coal-fired power plant. ADW is proposing to produce its own steam and building heat. The facility will be installing direct-fired natural gas space heaters, makeup air units and conversion burners, water heaters, infrared heaters and boilers as part of this heating replacement project. A diesel fired internal combustion engine (emergency generator) for the new boiler plant will be installed as part of the steam replacement project.”

A DNR memo from February shows that the coal plant in question is MidAmerican’s Riverside facility.

The complete list of new equipment proposed for this project that will have air emissions includes:

  • three gas-fired boilers;
  • four water heaters (gas);
  • 10 process heaters (gas);
  • up to 30 gas heaters/furnaces;
  • up to 49 gas infrared heaters;         
  • up to 120 direct-fired space heaters (gas);
  • up to 44 make-up air heaters (gas); and
  • one emergency generator (diesel).

Natural gas usage in this new equipment will be limited to keep this project minor for NOx emissions. The potential emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) for the new equipment, however, are above the prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) threshold even with the fuel usage restriction.

The public comment on this permitting runs until July 18.

Alcoa Davenport Works is the largest sheet and plate production facility in the world. It produces a variety of sheet and plate products used in the process and marine industries. The plant was constructed in 1948. It is more than a mile long, and houses more than 130 acres of high-tech manufacturing under one roof, or about 5.5 million square feet. It currently employs 2,200 people and is a focal point of the global aluminum industry with 25% of revenues coming from exports.

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.