2012 Aug. 30: Require all OWBs to use a retrofit system

In case you haven’t yet seen this, EPA published its final report this June on researching an OWB Emissions Supression System. This controlled test (emphasis on “controlled”) resulted in a 50% PM reduction and a 65% CO reduction:

http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/display.abstractDetail/abstract/9481/report/F

The next phase of this test started June 1, 2012. http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/display.abstractDetail/abstract/9707

Here’s the project description:

“The Phase II program will further develop testing and measurement protocols, determine the optimum combustor catalyst-support combination, examine supplemental air supply for the combustor redesign the retrofit unit for easy maintenance, conduct testing of non-ideal fuels, and conduct long-term testing. It is expected that results from these tasks will identify an optimum retrofit design for use on existing 0WBs. In the commercialization option program, application of the catalytic combustor to new OWB models and units other than Central Boiler will be examined.”

I’m most curious about what EPA will do with the results of this research, especially since they’re including new OWB models (Phase II). The Phase II project runs through May 31, 2014, so a final retrofit product may not be available until then. I would hope that EPA would use this as the “best available control technology” requirement in regulating OWBs and allowable emissions.

OWB/IWBs need to be regulated as stationary sources, as originally requested by the attorney’s general back in 2005: “The States of New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Vermont, and the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) hereby petition the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use its authority under section 111(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act (the “Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 7411(b)(1), to list outdoor wood boilers (OWBs) as a category of stationary sources under section 111(b)(1)(A) and to promulgate standards of performance for OWBs under 42 U.S.C. § 7411(b)(1)(B).”

Until EPA decides to regulate OWBs, I would like to see states that won’t ban OWBs to require all OWBs (existing and new) to use a retrofit system if the system can eliminate the nuisance problem for neighbors. But, I don’t expect that to happen until the second phase of this study is completed.

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