Many emissions control systems unaffected by MACT uncertainty

By Luke Geiver | March 16, 2012

Tri-Mer Corp. isn’t waiting around for the final U.S. EPA version of Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) provisions. Although members of Congress continue to push without success for amendments that would delay the implementation of Boiler MACT, Kevin Moss, business development director for Tri-Mer, said the company’s emission controls will meet any requirements the rules might entail.

“Good or bad, we are confident our system will meet whatever the Boiler MACT decision is”, he said. A filtration system currently offered by Tri-Mer can remove particulate matter (PM) to levels less than 0.001 grains per dry standard cubic foot. but for current Boiler MACT compliance, levels from the Tri-Mer technology are guaranteed at levels below 0.004 pounds per million Btu.

The Surface Transportation bill, aimed at dealing with the country’s aging infrastructure, was the latest possible vehicle for passage of an amendment to give the EPA more time to decipher the Boiler MACT provisions, but the amendment didn’t pass. Although companies ultimately want to know what rules they’ll need to comply with and some are waiting to find out, Moss said some of Tri-Mer’s biomass-related business is not affected by pending MACT decisions. “We expect to see a lot more systems sold as soon as that (MACT) settles out,” he said. “But we are also in the process of closing some biomass projects that don’t hinge on that.”

Tri-Mer has developed a ceramic filter system that can remove nitrogen oxide (NOx), submicron PM, sulfur dioxide (SO2), dioxins and hydrochloric acid (HCl). “These are not the old type of candle filters that were made out of very dense material,” he said. The filters are made from fibers coated with ceramics, blow molded into tube shapes roughly 10 feet long. The Ultra Cat hot gas filtration system is not only unique, but is especially attractive to certain biomass products, Moss said. The filters come equipped with catalyst nanobits sprayed on like dust throughout the filter walls. “It is like a catalyst dust that is incorporated inside and throughout the filter.”

The spray catalyst allows a Tri-Mer filter system to operate at a lower cost, because the catalyst speeds up the reaction time needed to reduce and break down NOx, Moss said. So the system can operate at much lower temperatures than standard systems. Using the Ultra Cat system, Moss said, the removal of NOx happens around 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the typical 600 degrees. “There are biomass projects like poultry litter that have all kinds of acid gases and all kinds of nasty stuff,” he said, adding that those projects are well suited for the Ultra Cat. And a lot of projects can’t get up to the 650 degree level required for NOx removal, unless they use a system like the Ultra Cat.

Cost for installing one Tri-Mer system is never the same because every project comes with its own wrinkle. But if developers are looking for particulate compliance alone Moss said Tri-Mer’s costs are roughly equal to a dry electrostatic precipitator. For developers looking for the PM plus SO2 removal, Moss said his company has an advantage because the filters require less sorbent material to get the same removal efficiency. And for those projects that require NOx removal, the Tri-Mer filtration system offers advantages related to the operating cost requirements.