United States (Federal)

US-1c:Boiler MACT (under the Clean Air Act)

Policy Description

The Boiler MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) Rule is a pending emission standard (as of December 2012) that, once finalized, will require industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers and process heaters located at major sources to meet numeric emission limits.

Description

The Boiler MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) Rule is a pending emission standard (as of December 2012) that, once finalized, will require industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers and process heaters located at major sources to meet numeric emission limits [1]. The Rule is officially known as the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters. The Rule will create new standards to limit mercury (Hg), dioxin, particulate matter (PM), hydrogen chloride (HCl), and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions from existing and new boilers and process heaters [2]. Although carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are not included in the list of pollutants, the Rule is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by significantly improving boiler efficiencies and promoting fuel switching (e.g., from coal or oil to natural gas) and alternative technologies such as natural gas combined heat and power (CHP).

On May 18, 2011, two days before the Boiler MACT rule was to become effective, the EPA issued a notice for delay of the effective dates [3]. This notice of delay stated that the EPA was in the process of reconsidering certain aspects of the rule. This reconsideration was a result of industry concerns and issues with the emission standards. EPA believes these concerns/issues could be best evaluated with input from the public. As a result, EPA evaluated petitions for reconsideration of specific aspects of the rules in order to ensure that the emission standards will in fact be practical to implement [4] [5].

The proposed reconsiderations were intended to be finalized in the Spring 2012 but on March 13, 2012, the EPA announced a No Action Assurance to all owners and operators of existing industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers stating that the EPA would not enforce the requirements to comply with the rule. A final rule addressing the proposed reconsideration of the rule had not been issued and the No Action Assurance remains in effect [6]. Once the Rule is finalized, compliance is expected to be required around 2016 [7].

The pending Rule requires performance tests and continual monitoring to assure continual compliance with the set emission limits [8]. Existing major sources are also required to conduct a one-time energy assessment of at least one boiler to identify cost effective energy conservation measures [9]. EPA has proposed that companies will have 3 years from issuance of the final reconsideration rule to implement the new requirements.

Approximately 14,000 boilers covered by the Boiler MACT Rule are located at large sources of air pollut­ants, such as refineries, chemical plants, and some institutional facilities, such as universities. EPA estimates that of these major source boilers, 88 percent would need to follow work practice standards (*1), including annual tune-ups, and 12 percent (about 1,750 boilers) primarily fired by coal, oil and biomass, would be required to meet specific emissions limits [10].

Policy Information Expand this section for information on the key features of the policy, such as its date of introduction, categorization, main objective(s) and linkages with other policies.

Policy Categorisation

Policy Instrument Type: Administrative, Standards

Position in the Pyramid

About Us

Participation: Mandatory

Policy Linkages

Complements Greenhouse Gas Permitting (under the Clean Air Act) Effort Defining
Complements New Source Performance Standards (under the Clean Air Act) Effort Defining
Supported By E3: Economy - Energy - Environment Supporting Measure

Agencies Responsible

Environmental Protection Agency

Primary Objective: GHG Emissions

Objective

Protect air quality and promote public health by reducing emissions from boilers and process heaters located at major sources [11].

Target Group

Industrial/commercial/institutional boilers and process heaters located at major sources, such as refineries, chemical plants, and some institutional facilities, such as universities.

Driver of energy consumption or emissions affected by policy: Total emissions.

Implementation Information Expand this section for information on targets, monitoring, verification and enforcement regimes, and implementation requirements and tools.

Coverage

The Boiler MACT Rule applies to: • Industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers and process heaters and utility boilers less than or equal to 25 MW. • Sources of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) with the potential to emit greater than or equal to 25 tons/year • Both new and existing boilers and process heaters [12] EPA estimates that approximately 14,000 boilers, less than 1% of the 1.5 million boilers in the United States, will need to meet the emission requirements set by the Boiler MACT standards [13].

Quantitative Target? yes

Target: Emission limits set for five different pollutants based on type of boiler/process heater.

Progress Monitored? yes

Verification Required? yes

Enforced? yes

Sanctions: Not yet known due to reconsideration of proposed Rule

Requirements on the Target Group

  • Comply with emission limits (note that greenhouse gas emissions are not included)  [14]
  • Perform a onetime boiler energy assessment on at least one boiler to identify cost-effective energy conservation measures
  • Perform boiler tune-ups annually or bi-annually depending on the size and usage of the boiler (*2)
  • Conduct performance tests and continual monitoring to assure continual compliance with the set emission limits [15]
  • Report testing and monitoring data to EPA [16]

Support by Government

Technical assistance is offered by the Department of Energy to:

  • Provide cost-effective clean energy strategies for compliance at coal or oil burning facilities [17]
  • Provide information on financial incentives available at the local, state, utility and federal levels [18]
  • Provide site-specific technical and cost information to major source facilities burning coal or oil. DOE will
    • Visit these facilities
    • Discuss strategies for compliance (e.g., CHP and/or clean energy options)
    • Provide information on funding and financing opportunities [19]

Implementation Toolbox

Complexity of Implementation

Government

Organizing appropriate resources to provide strategic and technical support to target group and enforcing compliance suggests a moderate level of complexity.

Target Group

Medium level of complexity based on requirements for target group (i.e., identify needed control technology; purchase and install compliant technology; monitor and report environmental performance).

Impacts, Costs & Benefits Expand this section to find information on policy effectiveness and efficiency.

Impact Quantitative Estimate Qualitative Estimate
Estimated effect on energy consumption or emissions ­Emissions of selected hazardous air pollutants (i.e., HCl, HF, Hg, metals, and volatile organic compounds) will be reduced by 40,000 tons per year for existing units and 60 tons per year for new units. ­Emissions of HCl will be reduced by 30,000 tons per year for existing units and 29 tons per year for new units. ­Emissions of Hg will be reduced by 1.4 tons per year for existing units and 10.8 pounds per year for new units. ­Emissions of filterable PM will be reduced by 47,400 tons per year for existing units and 85 tons per year for new units. ­Emissions of non-Hg metals (i.e., antimony, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, Mn, nickel, and selenium) will be reduced by 2,700 tons per year for existing units and will be reduced by 1.5 tons per year for new units. ­Emissions of SO2 are estimated to be reduced by 442,000 tons per year for existing sources and 400 tons per year for new sources. ­Emissions of dioxin/furan, will be reduced by 23 grams of TCDD-equivalents per year for existing units and 0.01 gram per year of TCDD-equivalents for new units [20]. Not yet known.
Estimated costs/benefits for industry ­The resulting total national cost impact of the final rule is estimated to be $5.1 billion in capital expenditures and $1.4 billion per year in total annual costs, including estimated fuel savings resulting from work practice standards and combustion controls [21] Not yet known.
Estimated cost for government Not yet known. Not yet known.

References & Footnotes

References

[1] "40 CFR Part 63- National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters; Final Rule." Federal Register. Environmental Protection Agency, 21 Mar. 2011. .

[2] "Fact Sheet: Final Air Toxics Standards for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters at Major Source Facilities." Environmental Protection Agency. .

[3] Giles, Cynthia. "No Action Assurance Regarding Certain Deadlines in the March 2011 Major Source Boiler MACT Rule and the March 2011 CISWI Rule." Letter to Randy Rawson, Pete Pagano, Leslie Hulse, Matt Todd, John Wagner, Tim Hunt, Robert Bessette, Bill Perdue, David Buff. 7 Feb. 2012. MS. Washington, DC. < http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/boiler/boiler_ciswi-no_action_2012-02-07.pdf>.

[4] "Fact Sheet: Final Air Toxics Standards for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters at Major Source Facilities." Environmental Protection Agency. .

[5] Giles, Cynthia. "No Action Assurance Regarding Certain Deadlines in the March 2011 Major Source Boiler MACT Rule and the March 2011 CISWI Rule." Letter to Randy Rawson, Pete Pagano, Leslie Hulse, Matt Todd, John Wagner, Tim Hunt, Robert Bessette, Bill Perdue, David Buff. 7 Feb. 2012. MS. Washington, DC. < http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/boiler/boiler_ciswi-no_action_2012-02-07.pdf>.

[6] EPA 2012. “Memorandum: Extension of the March 13, 2012, No Action Assurance Regarding the Area Source Boiler Rule to Apply to the Deadline for Submitting the Notification of Compliance Status Regarding Initial tune-Ups for Certain Area Source Boilers, and Amendment to the No Action Assurance Expiration date.” Environmental Protection Agency.

[7] Wolf, Don. "Boiler MACT Still on Hold." Burns & McDonnell. .

[8] "Fact Sheet: Final Air Toxics Standards for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters at Major Source Facilities." Environmental Protection Agency. .

[9] "Fact Sheet: Final Air Toxics Standards for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters at Major Source Facilities." Environmental Protection Agency. .

[10] "Boiler MACT Technical Assistance." Department of Energy, Mar. 2012. .

[11] "40 CFR Part 63- National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters; Final Rule." Federal Register. Environmental Protection Agency, 21 Mar. 2011. .

[12] Wolf, Don. "Boiler MACT Still on Hold." Burns & McDonnell. .

[13] "Fact Sheet: EPA’S Revised Boiler MACT Rule Will Protect Public Health and Provide Greater Flexibility to Industry." Democratic Policy and Communications Center, 8 Dec. 2011. .

[14] "Fact Sheet: Final Air Toxics Standards for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters at Major Source Facilities." Environmental Protection Agency. .

[15] "Fact Sheet: Final Air Toxics Standards for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters at Major Source Facilities." Environmental Protection Agency. .

[16] "40 CFR Part 63- National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters; Final Rule." Federal Register. Environmental Protection Agency, 21 Mar. 2011. .

[17] "Boiler MACT Technical Assistance." Department of Energy, Mar. 2012. .

[18] "Boiler MACT Technical Assistance." Department of Energy, Mar. 2012. .

[19] "Boiler MACT Technical Assistance." Department of Energy, Mar. 2012. .

[20] "40 CFR Part 63- National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters; Final Rule." Federal Register. Environmental Protection Agency, 21 Mar. 2011. .

[21] "40 CFR Part 63- National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters; Final Rule." Federal Register. Environmental Protection Agency, 21 Mar. 2011. .

[22] "Fact Sheet: Final Air Toxics Standards for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters at Major Source Facilities." Environmental Protection Agency. .

Footnotes

(*1) Work Practice Standards and other requirements allow the EPA, in cases where it is not feasible to prescribe or enforce an emission standard, to promulgate a design, equipment, work practice, or operational standard. The Standards also allow an owner or operator to use an alternative means of emission reduction if it can be proven that an equal reduction in emissions of any Hazardous Air Pollutant will be achieved.

(*2) All operators of new and existing natural gas- and refinery gas-fired units will be required to perform an annual tune-up for each unit. Bi-annual tune-ups are also required for all units with heat input capacity less than 10 million Btu per hour and for all new and existing “limited use” boilers. Limited use boilers are defined as units that are operated less than 10 percent of the year as emergency and backup boilers to supplement process power needs. [22]