By BRETT DUNLAP
BELPRE, Ohio - A local plant will be spending millions of dollars on two natural gas steam boilers that will greatly reduce hazardous emissions. Kraton Polymers is planning to spend $50 million over the next three years on the installation of the two boilers, a new 10-mile natural gas supply line and a steam turbine to generate electrical power.
"The new boilers will replace existing coal-fired boilers, and will ensure compliance with new environmental guidelines for emission limits," said Kraton Belpre Site Manager Scott Oran. "Making the move to clean burning natural gas will not only help ensure our energy future, but also demonstrates that we walk the talk in being a good neighbor."
The project is part of a plan to implement a strategic Energy Project to ensure the energy future of the Belpre site, said Mike White, a spokesman for the Plant.
"This is a significant investment in this plant," White said.
A public hearing was held at the Belpre Public Library on Wednesday by the Ohio EPA to accept comments on a draft air permit for Kraton to replace the two coal-fired boilers with two new boilers, which would run on natural gas and distillate oil and naphtha, a flammable liquid mixture of hydrocarbons used as a solvent for chemical industries.
The new 249 million BTU/hour boilers are expected to reduce net emissions of nitrogen oxide (-291.67 tons a year), sulfur dioxide (-3,258.32 tons a year because they won't be burning coal), particulate emissions (-109.32 tons a year) and various particulate matter (-49.36 tons a year).
Higher net emissions are expected for carbon monoxide (132.91 tons a year), volatile organic carbon (9.58 tons a year) and carbon dioxide equivalents (42,968.84 tons a year), officials said.
"Those emissions are still below the thresholds the EPA has set for us," White said. "This project will reduce hazardous air emissions by 96.5 percent."
The project is a win-win for everyone, White said. Air quality is improved for the community while the company remains a good environmental steward with the reduction of hazardous emissions, he said.
In terms of environmental protection, permits are issued with the intent of limiting the amount of pollution emitted into the atmosphere and the environment, officials said adding the project is not expected to exceed National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
"In addition to the benefit of a reduction in air emissions from the plant we expect to reduce over 1 million gallons per day of wastewater discharge," Oran said.
Oran said construction will commence on-site with issuance of an approved permit. Start-up of the new facilities is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2014 with the new gas boilers being fully operational in the first quarter of 2015.