- P.H. Glatfelter Co. expects to soon have a permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that will allow it to decommission three coal boilers at its Spring Grove industrial facility in York County.
- The permit will allow the paper products manufacturer to replace the coal units with two Babcock & Wilcox natural gas turbines. The permit also earns Glatfelter state Emission Reduction Credits (ERC).
- The permit is expected to be granted because the company demonstrated to the DEP that the new units meet the best available technology requirement (BAT) of federal and state codes for industrial boilers.
The move from Glatfelter to replace coal-fired generation with natural gas could foreshadow similar retrofits at industrial facilities and power plants across the region as companies try to comply with federal and state emissions regulations.
The BAT rating is based on the fact that the new units will affordably comply with Pennsylvania regulatory requirements pertaining to emissions and pollution.
BAT is terminology developed to apply where pollution-limiting regulations are intended to drive out older systems in favor of the best practical environmental option. It is an imprecise concept because it depends on local environmental objectives. It is neither the lowest cost nor the least polluting technology but the technology that is most achievable.
The definition of BAT typically resorts to the legal caveat of what a regulator sees as “reasonable.”
The Glatfelter permit covers, according to the DEP, “construction of two (2) Babcock & Wilcox (B&W), or equivalent, 405.8 MMBtu per hour each, natural gas fired boilers and installation of a hydrated lime injection system to reduce HCl emissions from Power Boiler No. 5, with associated equipment including, but not limited to, a storage silo and pneumatic conveying system…”
The DEP’s decision to grant BAT status and ERCs to Glatfelter for a shift from coal to natural gas is likely to drive more such retrofits in the private sector.