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Petroleum Coke:


Wolverine identifies the controversial BP Whiting Refinery in Indiana as one possible source. ... Plant ozone season NOx input emission rate (lb/MMBtu) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Petroleum Coke:

Petroleum Coke What do we really know
about what may become the primary fuel at the
Wolverine Clean Energy Venture?
Presented by Jim Dulzo, Michigan Land Use
Institute Tom Karas, Michigan Energy
Alternatives Project
Obtaining, burning, and disposing of PETROLEUM
COKE are all causes for major concern. We want
to look at each of these concerns Sources On-Sit
e Storage Burning/Emissions Waste Disposal
Where does this fuel come from? How dirty is
it? Wolverine identifies the controversial BP
Whiting Refinery in Indiana as one possible
source. Whiting wants to produce oil from tar
sands in Canada, and would then use the refinery
waste from that oil to produce petroleum coke.
Because tar sands have higher sulfur and toxic
heavy metal content than regular crude, the
petroleum coke that Wolverine would get from BP
would likely have even higher concentrations of
those materials than standard pet coke. So,
one of the main concerns is the quality of the
petroleum coke--how much sulfur and toxic heavy
metals it contains. Is Wolverine going to buy the
cheapest (dirtiest) or the more expensive
(cleaner) pet coke available?
Questions about storing pet coke. Petroleum Coke
is very dusty. So it is important to look
closely at how Wolverine plans to protect the
community from fugitive dust. Fugitive dust from
piles of uncovered pet coke piles have created
problems all over the country. Here is a photo
of a dusty fuel pile from a coal plant in
Maryland. Since pet coke is dustier than coal,
the picture for Rogers City on a windy day would
be even worse.
Photo by Tim Berkoff, Crofton 1st
Dust plume
Dust plumes like the one above are a frequent
sight when fuel supply piles are left unprotected.
Port of L.A. Covers Its Petroleum Coke By Sandra
Murillo LOS ANGELES--After years of public
outcry, lawsuits and environmental studies,
politicians and officials at the Port of Los
Angeles announced Thursday that all petroleum
coke piles at the port have been covered. Petrole
um coke, a coal-like byproduct of the oil
refining process, is exported to Asia for use as
an industrial fuel. If inhaled in sufficient
quantities, the material can cause cancer,
officials said. Studies have shown a link
between elevated levels of coke dust in the air
and the deaths of people with respiratory illness
and heart disease. An early study in Long Beach
showed that coke dust comprised 12 to 15 of
air pollutants.
The L.A. Times news article goes on to quote Port
of Los Angeles manager Lowenthal, who says of the
petroleum coke that passes through his
facility, We ship out some of the worst stuff
in the world.
Note the two black domes, built specifically to
contain pet coke dust. It took many years of
litigation to force the Port Authority to take
these protective measures.
Heres another example of covered storage for Pet
DTE Pet CokeVicksburg, MS Facility
Barge unloading to 10,000 ton covered storage
1,400 Ton pulverized petcoke storage silo
What will Wolverine do to contain fugitive pet
coke dust and ash?
Not much, apparently. Wolverines DEQ permit
application says that the largest fuel pile,
almost 500,000 tons--about two-thirds of all
on-site fuel--will have NO dust suppression.
What about emissions from burning Pet
Coke? Lets look at what the federal government
said in a 2006 report detailing all of the
electrical generating units in the country.
This report details 4,851 electrical generating
plants. Of those plants, the number that
reported using petroleum coke in 2006 as a
primary fuel was.. Two!
Lets compare those two petroleum coke plants with
two existing Michigan coal plants
Notice that the federal government clearly
classifies petroleum coke differently than coal.
If the federal government makes that
distinction, how can anyone claim that petroleum
coke is the same as coal?
The same spread sheet lists each plants
pollution emissions
Clearly, burning pet coke is dirtier than burning
coal. Here, Pet Coke emits at least four times
as much NOx and 10 times as much SOx per BTU than
coal. That means far more smog, acid rain, and
bad health effects, particularly for those with
asthma, breathing difficulties, and heart
disease. And since burning Pet Coke emits 5 to 8
percent more carbon (CO2), the savings from
burning this dirtier, cheaper fuel could be
canceled out by the carbon tax the federal
government will soon impose on such emissions.
But wont the MDEQ make sure that what is coming
out of the smokestacks is always as clean as
technically possible? Not necessarily. Seeking
fuel flexibility, Wolverine has conveniently
prepared its DEQ air permit application so that
the emissions controls would run at full throttle
only under the worst-case fuel scenario. In other
words, they wont have to run pollution equipment
at full throttle unless they use the dirtiest
fuel. What they havent put forth is how low they
can get air pollution levels when burning the
cleanest fuel and running control equipment at
full capacity. But this is what the Clean Air
Act requires. Why doesnt Wolverines Clean
Energy Venture want to run pollution equipment at
maximum capacity all the time, instead of just
when it burns the cheapest, dirtiest fuel?
According to their own application, Wolverine
plans to do as little as possible to control both
fugitive dust and controlling smokestack
emissions. The planning commission has the
power to require Wolverines best efforts on
this. The company is NOT motivated to make that
effort, because it reduces their bottom
line. This commission can decide whether
Wolverine operates as cleanly as possible, or as
cheaply as possible. Which will it be?
What about the waste stream from Petroleum Coke?
The waste stream from petroleum coke is much
larger than from coal because, when burned, pet
coke loses only 50 of its volume. In addition,
pet coke ash contains far higher levels of toxic
heavy metals than coal ash does.
The waste stream could be even higher because of
the type of boiler Wolverine wants to
use--Circulating Fluidized Bed. The World Energy
Council, an industry trade organization, explains
the problem like this
The biggest drawback with this technology CFB
is that it produces large amounts of solid waste
(almost 1.5 to 2.0 times as much as PPC
technology and 30 to 40 times as much as CGCC
The report goes on to say, in reference to
petroleum coke, that, given that the plant will
inject limestone to capture sulfur
emissions. With very high sulfur content (7 to
8 percent), the quantity of waste can be as much
as 50 percent of the amount of petroleum coke
burned. If local ash disposal cannot be
accommodated at a reasonable cost, this
technology may not be economically feasible.

  • So, there are three things making the Wolverine
    Clean Energy Ventures solid waste stream worse
  • It will largely use petroleum coke, which loses
    only half of its mass when burned.
  • It uses CFB technology, which is known for higher
    rates of waste production than other kinds of
    burning technologies.
  • With high sulfur fuels, the use of limestone to
    control those emissions contributes even more to
    an already very large waste stream.

So, can that huge amount of waste be used
somewhere else as an industrial byproduct, and
how much will Wolverines plant generate?
CFB boiler ash cannot be used as a cement
replacement in concrete due to its unacceptably
high sulfur content. The disposal in landfills
has been the most common means of handling ash in
circulating fluidized bed boiler power plants.
However, for a 300  MW CFB boiler power plant,
there will be 600,000  tons of ash discharged per
Source http//
If Wolverines Clean Energy Venture produces
waste with significantly elevated toxic heavy
metals compared to coal, and it cannot be used as
an industrial by-product, where will it go?
Apparently, Wolverine wants to put it in an
onsite landfill. But its SUP application said
nothing about designing that site to handle pet
coke ash, which has significantly more toxic
heavy metals than coal ash. And since the
plant, by Wolverines own estimate, will produce
910,000 tons of such ash a year, the company will
eventually have to truck the waste elsewhereto
the tune of 160 semi loads per day. The county
must come to an agreement with Wolverine about
paying for the heavy wear and tear on roads,
assuring safe transport, and protecting air
quality, community peace and quiet, and Presque
Isle Countys quality of life from such heavy,
dangerous traffic.
These kids go to school near a coal plant in
Pennsylvania. Will Rogers City schoolchildren
have to protect themselves like this as
truckloads of pet coke waste material are
transported to disposal every day?
And, given that much larger waste stream, who
will pay for the expansion of your local landfill
and upgrading it to handle toxic ash?
Many people take the view that the MDEQ is
responsible for protecting Rogers City and
Presque Isle County from the harmful effects of
operating a new fuel-burning power plant
MDEQ has the responsibility to protect the
communitys health. And just as that agency can
be more stringent than the federal government,
the planning commission can be more stringent
than the state. That, in fact, is the whole
point of having a local planning commission.
State-based analyses often do not pay enough
attention to the kind of special, local concerns
we are raising in this presentation. But you and
your fellow commissioners can. If Wolverine
insists on calling this project its Clean Energy
Venture, you have the power to make sure they
take every step possible to live up to that
  • The Presque Isle County Planning Commission
  • Make sure all fuels, particularly pet coke, have
    proper storage and dust controls--from ship, to
    stockpile, to boiler.
  • Require Wolverine Clean Energy Venture to attain
    maximum cleanliness for each fuel, rather than
    the minimum that the dirtiest fuels rules allow.
  • Make sure that onsite waste storage protects the
    local water table, the ambient air, workers, and
    the community from highly toxic pet coke ash.
  • Make Wolverine responsible for financing the road
    expansions and repairs that 160 daily round trips
    by heavy semi trucks require.
  • Require Wolverine to protect the community from
    the health, safety, traffic, noise, and quality
    of life hazards of heavy trucking of toxic waste.
  • Require Wolverine to finance, maintain, and bond
    for the construction, operation, and eventual
    closing down of a toxic waste storage site.

  • Why must you address these legalities and
  • When you buy a new car or hire someone to perform
    a service, it is ALWAYS best to get a written
  • Wolverines Special Use Permit is that written
    guarantee. Currently, the document is so vague
    that it would be of little use in a court case if
    there was ever a problem with Wolverines Clean
    Energy Venture.
  • Once Wolverines SUP allows petroleum coke, the
    PIPC will be unable to change or improve the
    operation without costly litigation.
  • Requiring these guarantees from Wolverine will
    NOT slow down the plant, unless the firm wants to
    fight these common-sense points.
  • Requiring these guarantees will protect the
    communitys health, welfare, and safety far more
    effectively than the current SUP.
  • PIPC is the first and last line of defense for
    this regions health, safety, and welfare. If you
    do not rise to this occasion, who will?

So, those are the special challenges of handling,
burning, and disposing of petroleum coke.
RememberPet Coke is not coal. And it is
dirtier than coal. But it is cheaper than coal.
Do not let Wolverines attempt to boost its
bottom line by burning cheap fuel unnecessarily
harm the community. Health, safety, and welfare
are always more important. These steps are
reasonable, wise, and necessary. So is the call
for a public hearing before allowing Wolverine to
add petroleum coke to its fuel mix. Thank you
for your time and consideration.