Master of Environmental Studies Capstone Projects

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

5-2011

Comments

Presented to the Faculties of the University of Pennsylvania in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Environmental Studies 2011.

Abstract

The motivations of short-term and outsized profits lure many entrepreneurs to seek inclusion in the ever-growing biomass industry in Pennsylvania. This recent growth and the trend among those entrepreneurs that see their projects fail can be attributed mostly to the void of any useful guides on the biomass industry in Pennsylvania. This results in a lack of planning and confusing and contradictory information, which in turn results in a lack of useful information. In an effort to make more biomass projects successful, the research will result in a guide that will outline numerous environmental considerations for those entrepreneurs planning to start a business in the biomass industry. Often there is confusing and contradictory information about the biomass industry and exactly what the correct process is for obtaining all of the necessary air quality plan approvals and permitting needed for successful biomass projects. The primary focus of this guide will be to obtain a complete understanding of the various definitions of the biomass industry, outline the process and various steps of the air quality plan approval and permitting process and make recommendations for the implementation for successful projects. The criteria applied in evaluating the research included a practical review of the information obtained using professional working experience, a review and investigation of similar guides, textbooks and regulatory websites. The results of the research produced information about the biomass industry from all environmental media,but due to the longer time frames involved this guides main focus is in the air quality plan approval and permitting process. The results of the research produced information specifically in the areas of public support, funding opportunities, the relationships involving vendors, control devices, federal and state level particulate regulations, odor issues, opacity issues, fugitive emissions, stack testing, education, environmental permit management and pre-application meetings with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP). The results of the research also produced positive and negative results concerning why some biomass projects fail and why some succeed.

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Date Posted: 01 November 2011