Plans underway for coal-to-biomass conversion at Fla. plant

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is separating out under a separate permit the CEMEX Brooksville South cement plant from a former, coal-fired cogeneration plant on the same site in Hernando County.

“This permitting action is to re-permit Portland Cement Line No. 2 (Cement Line No. 2) at the CEMEX Brooksville cement plant by incorporating the original PSD construction permit (PSD-FL-351) and all subsequent construction permit modifications pertaining to Cement Line No. 2 into a ‘clean’ new construction permit,” said the DEP final permit for one of two lines at the site, which was issued on Sept. 4. “Obsolete and redundant permit conditions and emission limits will be removed with the most recent New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) emission limits incorporated into the permit, as applicable. Cement Line No. 2 includes a raw mill system, a dry process preheater/precalciner kiln system, clinker handling system, finish grinding operations, two cement loadout silos, and coal handling and grinding operations.”

The Cement Line No. 2 permit was issued in conjunction with a final permit for Cement Line No. 1. In the re-permitting of Cement Line No. 1, any reference to the recently separated Central Power and Lime (CP&L) power plant which is now under the control of Florida Power Development LLC was removed. “The CP&L power plant was recently separated from Cement Line No. 1 by Air Construction Permit No. 0530380-001-AC (PSD-FL-090E),” the DEP noted. “In that project, the power plant was authorized to convert from coal to biomass as its primary fuel, de-rate in power from 150 megawatts (MW) to approximately 80 MW and separated from Cement Line No. 1 into its own facility having its own facility ID number and enforceable permit requirements.”

Cement Line No. 1, controlled by CEMEX Construction Materials Florida LLC,  and the power plant were originally permitted under common ownership as a cogeneration facility, which made the power plant subject to Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act definition of a cogenerating facility, that physically exhausted emissions through a common stack. Today, the Cement Line No.1 and the power plant are under separate ownership and the two units will in the future exhaust to separate stacks. The cogeneration definition no longer applies to the power plant, the DEP noted. After the re-permitting of Cement Line No. 1, the line will share no commonality with the power plant and may have a new baghouse and stack.

“The applicant proposes to convert the existing coal-fueled unit to a 70 to 80 MWg woody biomass-fueled power plant that will operate as a separate facility,” said a technical report on the power plant conversion issued by the DEP in December 2011. “The project includes: new fuel storage and handling systems; internal structural modifications to the existing boiler and other power plant components; conversion of the pulverized coal boiler to a grate suspension boiler; and installation of air pollution control systems and an exhaust stack distinct from those of the Cement Line 1. An approximately 165-foot new exhaust stack will be located downstream of the final heat recovery equipment and emissions control equipment.”

Through the conversion from a pulverized coal-fueled unit to a woody biomass-fueled unit, the nominal heat input rating will be reduced from 1,850 to 900 MMBtu per hour (higher heating value). The converted woody biomass-fueled boiler will generate 490,000 pounds per hour (lb/hour) of steam at 1,887 pounds per square inch and 950 degrees Fahrenheit in conventional waterwall boiler tubes. The boiler will be equipped with start-up ignition burners that will use ultra-low-sulfur distillate fuel oil and natural gas.

Florida Power Development is an affiliate of J.P. Morgan, the DEP said in a public notice. The firm’s authorized representative and mailing address are: Daniel Hopkins, Florida Power Development LLC, 700 Louisiana, Suite 1000, Houston, Texas 34601. An April 7 article in the Tampa Bay Times said Florida Power Development is also associated with Arroyo Energy and locally-based FB Energy. The article quoted Rick Jensen of FB Energy as saying that the power plant was currently idle and that the coal-to-biomass conversion should be completed next year.

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.