Green Energy Partners nears permit for Georgia biomass plant

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources plans a Dec. 18 public meeting and hearing over a draft air permit for Green Energy Partners-DeKalb LLC, which plans to build an 11.5 MW (gross) facility in Lithonia, DeKalb County, Ga.

The facility will be operated under the name Green Energy Resource Center (GERC). The plant will process approximately 165,000 tons per year of wood biomass (clean, untreated wood and yard biomass) based on a moisture content of approximately 30%. The proposed biomass system will consist of two Hurst wood-fired boilers, with a maximum gross heat input rating of 93.22 million British thermal units per hour (MMBtu/hr) each, for a total of 186.44 MMBtu/hr. The boilers will provide steam to a condensing steam turbine generator to produce electricity. The facility will normally operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, except for two weeks per year of scheduled maintenance. The permit is requested for the operation of 8,760 hours per year, the DNR noted.

The majority of the wood biomass to be fed to the Hurst wood-fired boilers will be purchased from DeKalb County. The DeKalb County Public Works Department, Sanitation Division, stated that the wood biomass is hand collected from residential properties and visually inspected prior to loading onto the county’s trucks. GERC may supplement the DeKalb supply of wood biomass with additional clean wood from other sources.

Plant emissions will exhaust to a Tri-Mer baghouse collector, which will utilize a ceramic filter system to remove approximately 95% of the particulates. Trona, a fine powdered sodium based sorbent, will be injected upstream of the baghouse, to reduce emissions of SO2, HCl, and other gases. Urea or aqueous ammonia will be injected to reduce NOx. Two natural gas burners rated at 15 MMBtu/hr each, will be used inside of the Hurst wood-fired boilers for cold startup. To facilitate the production and sale of electricity as well as to improve the efficiency of combustion, the Hurst wood-fired boilers will be equipped with an intrinsic multiple cyclone collector to return particles for further combustion.

On July 24, Georgia Power filed a contract with the Georgia Public Service Commission under which it will buy power from Green Energy Partners-DeKalb. The contract itself was filed with PSC staff under seal. Georgia Power is a unit of Southern Co. (NYSE: SO).

“On March 13, 2012, Georgia Power Company (‘Georgia Power’) and Green Energy Partners-DeKalb, LLC (‘GEP-DeKalb’) executed a Certain Contract for the Purchase of Firm Capacity and Energy from a Renewable Facility Utilizing the Proxy Unit Methodology (‘QF Proxy Contract’),” said the brief cover letter. The contract will provide Georgia Power with 10 MW of capacity and energy from GEP-Dekalb’s Qualifying Facility generator located in Lithonia, Ga. “This QF Proxy Contract will meet a portion of the need identified in Georgia Power’s 2015 Request for Proposals. Georgia Power hereby requests that the Georgia Public Service Commission (‘Commission’) approve this QF Proxy Contract,” the cover letter said.

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.