The efficient use of energy is one of the best ways to decrease human impact on the environment, and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) projects are a good way to fulfill this goal. CHP is a method for a facility to generate power (electricity) and useful heat (steam) from one unit rather than using separate units. This reduces capital investment and increases overall efficiency. Facilities that have excess electrical or steam generating capacity may find CHP an economical option. If you are considering a CHP project, most likely you will need to apply for an air quality construction permit before you begin. Allow at least 65 days for construction permit application processing. There are several things to consider.
Iowa’s Air Quality and Permission to Construct
The Ambient Air Monitoring conducted across the state shows that air quality is good in most areas of the state. Construction permits help ensure new facilities are designed and built in such a way that air quality remains high, despite adding a new source of air pollutant emissions. Some common questions about permitting CHP facilities are answered in the following document:
Where to Locate
The location within a community chosen for a facility is important. The DNR has compiled the Cleaner Air, Better Communities guide to assist in this key decision.
Ambient Air Analysis
In order to ensure that the Iowa’s air quality is maintained an ambient air analysis may be required for projects that are projected to emit a larger quantity of emissions, or for projects locating in areas with existing emissions of air pollutants. The construction permitting Form MD can be used to determine if an analysis will be needed for a particular project.
When an ambient air analysis is necessary, using dispersion modeling helps design the proposed facility so that it will comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The following information can be used to assist in this effort:
Depending on the pollutants that will be emitted by the project, there are certain areas of the state that may require special consideration. These include two areas of Iowa currently designated as non-attainment: a small area in Council Bluffs for lead, and approximately one third of Muscatine County for sulfur dioxide (SO2).
There are several other areas of the state that are classified as maintenance areas. These areas include Buffalo for particulate matter (PM10), Cedar Rapids (SO2), Clinton (SO2), Mason City (PM10), and Muscatine (PM2.5). Locating in any of these areas will require special considerations to ensure that the proposed project will not cause or contribute to an exceedance of the national standards.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority has complied information to assist in the development of CHP projects in Iowa.