Hyperion Refining, LLC announced late Monday that it will accept all the restrictions except one of those mandated by regulators in the air permit for Hyperion's Union County, S.D., refinery.
"In a permit as all-encompassing and detailed as this, there's bound to be an area of disagreement, and
we're pleased there's only one aspect we are appealing," said Hyperion Vice President Preston Phillips.
Hyperion's appeal is based solely on the numeric emission limit achievable through the application of
Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for emissions of carbon monoxide from large process heaters.
Hyperion and DENR are in full agreement as to the technology to be applied.
The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) drafted the air permit to
require Hyperion to meet a BACT limit of 0.007 pounds of carbon monoxide per million BTU heat input.
While there are currently technologies available that will reduce CO emissions to small amounts, none
are available that will consistently meet the 0.007 mark, said Colin Campbell of RTP Environmental.
Campbell is one of the nation's leading air quality experts and was brought on by Hyperion to lead its air
"We are willing to accept all the other restrictions imposed by the board, except this one, and even on
CO limits we agree with the Board's intent of minimizing emissions," Phillips said. "It's not a matter of
desire, it's simply the case that there is no evidence this level can be achieved 24 -7 every day of the
year. Importantly, the CO controls we proposed would be the most stringent in the country."
Monday was the deadline for filing what's termed the "Statement of Issues on Appeal" to the South
Dakota Sixth Judicial District Circuit Court. Phillips said he's aware that opponents also filed a Statement
of Issues on Appeal, but Hyperion has not had a chance to thoroughly review the statement, and
therefore can't comment on it.
Despite the one area that Hyperion appealed, Phillips said the State did an excellent and thorough job
on the air permit. The 93-page document was drafted by experts at DENR, and that draft was refined
and approved by the Board, which included numerous requirements and stipulations Hyperion must
meet. The process included public comment and more than 10 days of technical hearings.
Campbell, of RTP Environmental, said that in addition to the BACT for carbon monoxide from process
heaters, there are several other cutting-edge technologies that regulators and Hyperion do agree will
bring effective environmental controls. Among those that will be utilized by the Hyperion refinery that
collectively separate it from existing facilities in the United States are:
Highly efficient removal and recovery of sulfur from:
Use of SCR, or selective catalytic reduction, (in addition to the ultra-low-NOX burners) for most process heaters.
- petroleum intermediates,
- transportation fuels
- fuel gas burned in the refinery's process heaters
- Ultra-low-NOX burners for control of nitrogen oxide emissions from all process heaters
- A wastewater treatment plant designed to incorporate both steam stripping and
activated sludge biological treatment for highly effective removal of benzene and other hazardous air pollutants from water before it is discharged.
- Designing the facility to allow for the elimination of a fluidized catalytic cracking unit,
which nearly all other refineries contain. These units are typically the single largest
sources of emissions at a refinery.
In addition, Hyperion agreed last week to the requirement in the air permit that the company employ
the use of thermal oxidizers on its hydrocarbon storage tanks, making it the first refinery in the country
to do so.
The Energy Center will also use a hydrogen-producing, integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC)
power plant to provide electricity for the facility. This IGCC plant will include a patented syngas cleanup
process that provides highly efficient removal of sulfur and other contaminants and also includes
activated carbon for control of mercury emissions. Campbell said no existing IGCC power plant has such
effective emissions controls.
"The key," said Campbell, "is that under the permit authored by DENR and authorized by the Board, the
air is protected and so are residents in South Dakota and throughout Siouxland."