Penn State permits switch away from coal at West Campus Steam Plant

Pennsylvania State University is nearing an air permit plan approval for a West Campus Steam Plant (WCSP) Improvement Project that involves replacement and fuel conversion of coal-fired boilers.

The WCSP which is located on the University Park Campus located in College Township, Centre County.

“This project’s proposal consists of replacing two (2) coal-fired units with natural gas-fired, removing the old gas-fired boiler (Boiler No. 5) and converting two (2) existing coal-fired units to fire solely natural gas as fuel for operation in order to reduce the potential to emit levels of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) emissions below the major source of HAP thresholds, 10/25 tons per year for single HAP and combined HAP, respectively,” said a notice of intent to approve published by the state Department of Environmental Protection in the Aug. 3 Pennsylvania Bulletin.

“As applicable and set forth in the following regulatory requirements, the application is subject to the best available technology (BAT) provisions of 25 Pa. Code §§ 127.1 and 127.12 apply to the new units that will replace Boiler No. 1 and 2,” the notice added. The proposed boilers’ emissions are also subject to National Standards of Performance for Stationary Industrial Boilers.

There is a 30-day comment period from the date of this publication. A public hearing may be held, if the DEP, in its discretion, decides that such a hearing is warranted based on the information received.

This switch away from coal by Penn State is part of a broader national trend, spurred on by a campaign from the Sierra Club, for universities across the country like Iowa State and Michigan State to get off of coal for clean-air and energy sustainability reasons.

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.