The Biomass energy facility operated by Dominion Power in Georgia utilized railroad ties as a feedstock. There are concerns by some residents that the complaints of odor and smoke associated with the Biomass energy facility in Georgia will similarly apply to ITD’s facility due to it utilizing the same feedstock, that is, railroad ties.
Although the feedstock is similar (railroad ties), the Biomass energy process and the process utilized by ITD are completely different. Biomass energy actually burns railroad ties to create energy, whereas ITD neither burns, nor creates energy with its feedstock. Biomass power operates very similarly to coal power, with a similar pollution profile. Moreover, Biomass power generally operates under the Title V category permit, which is for facilities with high pollution, unlike ITD’s facility, which would operate under a Synthetic Minor permit.
Additionally, ITD’s kiln exhaust system has no visible emissions.
The complaints of odor apply to most Biomass energy facilities, regardless of feedstock. One study found that 7 out of 9 Biomass energy facilities in Europe received odor complaints. Another study found odor associated with the presence of sugar in hardwoods. Due to the legacy tie feedstock (30 - 40 years old) utilized by ITD, ITD does not anticipate the sugar present in the legacy tie feedstock to be sufficient to generate odors.