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Pre-Compliance Planning: When to Begin

The following is taken from an artile we published in the Winter edition of The Steamlines, our corporate newsletter.  Climate change and compliance in California and other parts of the nation is a hot topic, and often times, companies are faced with tough decisions, with little information. Find out how Nationwide Boiler dealt with meeting compliance, through a proactive approach. In the long run, it was the right decision and today we continue to push the envelop in energy efficiency and ultra low emissions.

A recent shift away from coal and towards natural gas has been brewing in the United States. Many companies are taking advantage of the plunge in natural gas prices due to the introduction of horizontal drilling technology leading to the expansion of new reserves throughout the United States.

Business Week recently reported that several major utilities including Progress Energy, Tampa Electric and General Electric all have new strategies based on a shift to natural gas. Many of these strategies are combined with other renewable energy projects such as solar and wind power, helping to create a “balanced” strategy and utilizing all possible energy and efficiency instruments.

However, the Energy Information Administration suggests that natural gas prices will not stay low for long and that the fuel-switching trend will be short-lived. It may only be a matter of time when the laws of supply and demand take in effect, driving up fuel prices. If and when this happens, will these strategies change or will it be too late? Unlike the utilities above which have conducted major shifts in their business plans associated with predicted price savings, many other companies in varying sectors have decided to wait before committing to long-term strategies. This holds especially true on the topic of climate change. Many companies are taking the sidelines until climate change policies become final and are not making risky shifts to their business plans. Overall, when it comes to long-term environmental planning, when is it the right time?

From experience, long-term, pre-compliance planning paid off for Nationwide Boiler. As local air quality regulations in California rapidly decreased the limits for NOx emissions, Nationwide took action to research and develop strategies that would enable our rental boiler fleet to perform at the lowest NOx levels available. Ultimately, Nationwide chose a compliance strategy based on the best technology currently available, able to deliver the highest performance. Our CataStak Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) System was born through this discovery and today the CataStak SCR product line includes solutions for gas turbines, steam generators, watertube and firetube boilers, field-erected boilers and heaters.

Had Nationwide waited for final determinations made by air quality regulators, we would not have been able to provide a product offering for our customers by the time compliance was mandatory. In the long run, pre-compliance planning enabled us to better serve our customers with reliable, well proven solutions and in the process the company has grown, provided new jobs and Nationwide Boiler has expanded its operations to include a new strategic business unit. The new business unit, Nationwide Environmental Solutions, was specifically formed to help solve tough compliance issues and provide total plant solution that yields both emission reductions and increased energy efficiency.

Currently, both federal and state regulators are proposing aggressive strategies to combat climate change and promote energy reductions. In California, the Global Warming Solutions Act requires California to develop regulations that will reduce gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Assembly Bill 32, targeting large generators of greenhouse gas, is currently in the drafting phase to support the act and it includes a cap-and-trade program that establishes a cap covering 85% of the state's GHG emissions. If passed, large industrial sources that process at or above 25,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents will fall under these rules starting January 1, 2012. Similar situations are happening in TX, NY and other areas around the United States and the implications for businesses (as well as consumers) may be insurmountable. Increases in electricity, natural gas, transportation, product, and administrative costs are unknown, but likely.

Through our own experience we have learned that in terms of environmental planning it is vital that companies look and plan ahead in order to effectively manage risks, control costs, and to maintain competitiveness. The development of pre-compliance strategies based on best performance standards and efficiency upgrades should be of concern for every major facility in addition to the negotiation of long-term fuel and supply-chain contracts.

If you need assistance in developing a pre-compliance strategy, call Nationwide Boiler today. Our proactive approach to climate change was the right choice for us, and we are confident that it will also be the best choice for you.

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Tips to Maintain Air Compliance

We recently came across an article in Pollution Engineering that highlights an important issue for all major facilities - air fines and how to avoid them. It is everyone's responsibility to ensure compliance and the best way to do so is by educating yourself and your team and by networking with others in the industry. Below highlights the main points from the article, but please visit the link above for a more detailed approached.

1.     Compliance is a team effort and the best preventive measure is to keep the entire team aware and fully briefed on where the facility stands in regards to compliance. With everyone in the know, compliance becomes a vested interest and a shared responsibility.

2.     A basic review of your facility's Title V permit, a federally enforceable document that provides parameters on plant emissions, is a good first start. A review of the basic allowable permissions contained in the permit will lead the way.

3.     Set a date for a frequent (yearly) review of the Title V permit. This will help flag inconsistencies and avoid further inspections and notices of violation (NOV).

4.     Get to know your local inspectors and do not hesitate to ask them for guidance. Ask them informative questions about what common violations they have seen lately and what others in the industry are doing to keep in good standing.

5.     Check out the following websites: The EPA's Acid Rain Inspectors Guide and the Clean Air Markets Division.

6.     To help keep abreast of changing regulations, join an association membership and attend industry events (conferences, seminars and tradeshows). Organizations such as the ABMA, CIBO and others update their members on a continual basis.

7.     Subscribe to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Monthly Digest Bulletin. This e-magazine can be subscribed to by emailing usaepa@govdelivery.com. 

8.     Show pride in maintaining compliance and recognize and reward employees for their efforts in maintaining compliance.

9.     When evaluating vendors for stack testing, check their references, inquire about their experience in performing the tests needed to stay in compliance, and make sure that their work is conducted to the highest standards. Ask vendors if they are a Qualified Stack Test Individual, or QSTI.

10. Let your customers know about your compliance goals and your efforts to maintain "green" in your facility. Also promote this message to your stakeholders in the community.

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Best Performance Standards (BPS) Boiler

Are you looking for a boiler that offers the latest boiler technology in emissions and efficiency? Does your boiler need to meet an upcoming compliance deadline date and you are not sure what to do? If so, you have come to the right place.

Nationwide Boiler continually seeks technology that offers the maximum emission reductions and the highest thermal efficiency that may provide valuable emission credits and energy rebates. Our Best Performance Standards Boiler keeps this tradition alive and is equipped with the latest technology to ensure you are operating with the greatest efficiency possible.

The BPS boiler is designed with the latest efficiency upgrades (high turndown controls, O2 trim, VFDs, and extended surface economizers) and includes the CataStak SCR System for 2.5 ppm NOx.  Nationwide's patent pending NOx reduction control system is also included for precise ammonia flow control.

The yearly efficiency savings and emission reductions that are quickly achieved with a BPS boiler provide a greater return on investment and most importantly, peace of mind with compliance assurance for years to come.

Call us today to obtain a free product bulletin and to learn more about our BPS solution.

BPS

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Rental Boiler Considerations - Save Time, Save Money and Minimize Risks

Companies require rental equipment for several reasons. By understanding the rental process and following the guidelines below, it is possible that the result will be both cost-effective and technically successful.

Steam Requirements - Up front planning is the most important stage when renting equipment. First, the maximum potential steam load needed must be calculated. Your steam requirement is expressed in either boiler horsepower (hp) or lb/hr (one boiler horsepower is equal to 34.5 lb/hr steam at 212°F).

Accessible Location - A location must be selected that is easily accessible for the delivery and setting of heavy machinery and one which has easy access to the building or equipment in which the steam will be required.

Utility Connections & Supply - Fuel, water and electric power connections must be easy to access and are of sufficient size to meet the needs of the rental unit. Typically, rental boilers fire natural gas, No. 2 oil, or heated No. 6 fuel. It is also important to make sure that there is sufficient fuel capacity to supply any existing units and a temporary boiler.

Equipment Supplier - When evaluating a supplier of rental equipment it is important to know if the company is a full-time, dedicated rental company with the experience, equipment and capabilities you require. In addition, the location of the company's equipment is important, helping to minimize transportation costs and travel time. It is also important to determine if the company provides start-up and installation services.
Here at Nationwide, we have boilers located throughout the United States and our service department is available 24 hours a day for technical support.

Reputable rental companies will provide complete drawings and equipment specifications in considerable detail. Such items include the total capacity and operating characteristics of the boiler, water treatment needs and requirements, emissions requirements, weather protection, performance testing, and ASME code requirements.

Proposal Evaluation - When evaluating a proposal, normal factors including payment terms, change-of-scope clauses, liability coverage, and transportation costs need to be addressed. A well written proposal should address the rate and term on the rental unit, freight costs, time and travel charges for technicians, and should specify appropriate responsibility for installation and removal costs. You should also get the warranty statement for the rental equipment.

Operating Permits - Before installation of the equipment can occur, it is necessary to arrange for any operating permits required from regulatory agencies. This includes special permits that may be required in those areas where emission limits are strictly controlled. Areas in California including the San Joaquin Valley and the South Coast require sub-10 ppm NOx requirements.

Nationwide Boiler took the lead in equipping our units with Low NOx burners and SCR systems (the CataStak). Users facing 5 ppm NOx can rest assure that we have an immediate solution.

Maintenance - To ensure continuous, safe, and trouble free performance of the unit, there are a number of regular checks and maintenance tasks which must be performed. It is important that a log sheet be kept on site for the recording of every routine check and maintenance items completed. Daily checks include an examination of all safety devices, followed by an inspection of the low-water cutoff during every shift. The entire system should also be checked for leaks and corrected immediately. The flame pattern of the burner must also be inspected to make sure the combustion devices are working efficiently. Moreover, proper boiler performance is highly dependent on following the proper feedwater treatment and correct blowdown techniques. Failure to maintain proper water chemistry is a major cause of damage to rental boilers and the single biggest rehabilitation expense.

Return Shipment - Lastly, there are certain steps that must be taken to ensure safe return of a unit to the rental company's facility. It is the responsibility of the user to have plant or local boiler shop personnel disconnect equipment after use, which includes draining and flushing all boiler lines with clean water to help minimize any chance of corrosion. A final check of the condition of the boiler should be properly documented, recorded and sent to the rental company once the equipment is shipped.

As long as you plan in advance, budget accordingly, verify connection sizes, address permitting issues, properly train operators, frequently monitor the feedwater quality, and take responsibility in maintaining the equipment once it is installed, you can be confident that the risks associated with renting equipment will be minimized and that your project will be a success.
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