More Green Technology That Pays for Itself

When I lived in Texas cogeneration was a popular option with chemical plants who required high pressure steam for their processes. When I moved to Ohio I was surprised that steel plants were not taking advantage of their process. Today I found this article in the Dayton Daily News, Bill clears path for $310M AK project.

Senate Bill 289 would allow AK Steel Corp. and Air Products and Chemicals Inc. to build a $310 million facility to capture waste gas vented from an AK Middletown Works blast furnace to generate steam and electricity as part of the state’s renewable energy market.

Today, the gas is burned off. But with this proposed facility, it could be used to generate steam and electricity for AK’s Middletown plant ”” about one million megawatt hours annually, enough to serve more than 85,000 Ohio homes, according to Air Products, which would own and operate the facility.

State Sen. Bill Coley, R-Middletown, who introduced the bill, wants to amend Ohio law so the blast furnace gas would qualify for the renewable energy market.

Companies that generate power from renewable energy sources ”” usually wind and solar ”” can sell Ohio renewable energy credits to other, less energy-efficient companies or to organizations that want to support renewable energy. The credits are meant to be incentives to pursue renewable energy creation.

The interesting twist in this bill is that the flue gas will qualify as a "Renewable energy resource". This allows the company to get a little more profit by selling renewable energy credits. It seems an odd match but it looks like a win-win situation. We get cleaner air, possibly lower electrical rates, and AK Steel gets a little more profit from the plant. Every day it stays open is a good day for the folks whose jobs are dependent on the plant. Although opening the “Renewable energy resource” credits to flue gas seems to be a stretch, there really are not that many feasible solar or wind projects in this part of the state. Although I think renewable energy credits is a dumb idea that should quietly go away, I understand why the Senator sponsored the bill. The wording in the bill is pretty restrictive on who qualifies. Here is what the bill says:

energy produced by cogeneration technology for which more than ninety per cent of the total annual energy input is from a waste or byproduct gas from an air contaminant source in this state, which source has been in operation since on or before January 1, 1985