The Pinnacle Pellet plant in Burns Lake has now completed upgrades to its air quality and emissions systems that began earlier this summer.
Suntanu Dalal, communications officer from the Ministry of Environment reports that the plant was inspected by ministry staff on Sept. 18. 2012 and stack (emission) tests were completed over two days. Although the full results of those tests were not available at press time, the ministry expects particulate emissions to meet permitted levels.
The ministry reports that Pinnacle Pellet has hired a full-time employee to manage scrubber operation and maintenance. This, as well as improved systems for ensuring accurate and consistent blending of raw materials, feed rates and temperatures will improve local air quality.
The wet scrubber, which is the last stage in the particulate emissions control system, is now fully operational. Lorne Davies, Pinnacle Pellet’s environmental officer, told the Lakes District News in July that the pioneering technology has been difficult to set up from the start.
“We’ve put in the changes we planned on doing,” says Davies, “but we’re not necessarily satisfied yet.”
According to Davies, although the system is currently working to control emissions it is not yet fully optimized. “The systems are running,” Davies explained, “but they’re still not running as good as we’d like them to. They’re costing us a lot more money than we’d like.”
A big expense in running the emissions system is the cost of the chemicals required to maintain clean system fluids. If the system gets dirty then pumps may fail. The pumps are in a sequence so that the failure of one pump doesn’t affect the operation of the whole, but a failed pump still needs to be replaced.
Davies expected problems like this with a new system. “There’s growing pains with the system,” Davies said, “but we’re moving forward with it.”