Illinois EPA takes comment on air permitting for 16-MW project

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is taking public comment until Nov. 15 on a draft air construction permit and Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) approval for Hoosier Energy REC on a 16-MW landfill gas project.

The facility will be located at the Veolia ES Orchard Hills Landfill in Davis Junction. The facility would have six reciprocating engines and the capacity to generate about 16 MW.

The Illinois EPA’s Bureau of Air has made a preliminary determination to issue a construction permit/PSD approval and prepared a draft permit for public review.

Hoosier has lately submitted a revised application for this proposed facility that addresses certain changes from the original application, which had gone out for public notice in 2012. For example, the facility would now only have six engines, rather than seven, which results in decreases in the potential emissions of the facility.

In addition to considering the comments that were received on the initial draft permit that was prepared for the proposed facility based on Hoosier’s initial 2011 application, the Illinois EPA has also reviewed the revised application for this project. The Illinois EPA has again made a preliminary determination that the application for this project meets applicable requirements.

Reciprocating engines are the primary process technology used in landfill gas-to-energy facilities. There are a variety of sizes and engine configurations available to meet the needs of a small landfill generating system to a large system such as this facility, the Illinois EPA noted.

Landfill gas engines have become the technology of choice over combustion turbines and boilers. A query of the U.S. EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP) database was conducted. The database was filtered to remove projects that do not generate electricity, were constructed prior to 2002, and are not either currently under construction or operation. The resulting list indicates that there are 441 total landfill gas projects that meet the criteria above and of the 441, a total of 350 of them use reciprocating engines (79%). The remaining 21% included turbines, boilers, cogeneration or other technologies. Technical advances in metallurgy, turbo charging, spark plug design, manifold design and integrated electronic controls result in more efficient, powerful and durable engines, the agency said.

Hoosier Energy REC is an affiliate of Indiana-based electrici cooperative Hoosier Energy.