Redmore Environmental was instructed to undertake an Air Quality Assessment in support of an Environmental Permit Application for a proposed Coal Mine Methane Plant at Stillingfleet Moor, North Yorkshire.
What is a Coal Mine Methane Plant?
Methane is an organic gas and forms a major component of natural gas, alongside other alkanes. Although commonly associated with agricultural livestock and landfill sites, methane also occurs underground and is often found in association with coal deposits. It can be extracted and used as a source of energy, burning the gas as a fuel in a gas turbine or steam generator. A Coal Mine Methane Plant is a facility which includes the relevant infrastructure to operate this process.
Why Was Dispersion Modelling Required?
The Stillingfleet Moor Coal Mine Methane Plant comprises a single spark ignition engine. The engine burns methane evacuated from the former Stillingfleet Colliery to generate electricity for sale within the electricity capacity market. As a result of the combustion process, nitrogen dioxide and other emissions are released as waste products through a dedicated flue. These can have a negative impact on human receptors and also sites designated for their ecological importance. A dispersion modelling assessment was therefore required to assess these potential impacts in support of the Environmental Permit for the plant and satisfy the requirements of the Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD).
Undertaking the Assessment
Inputs relevant to the proposed site were inserted into the ADMS-5 modelling software in order to generate a representation of the plant and the surrounding area. This included terrain data, meteorological records, emission parameters for the engine and building dimensions of nearby structures. The online database and mapping software, Multi Agency Geographic Information for the Countryside (MAGIC), was utilised to identify ecological designations in the vicinity of the site. Google maps and Ordnance Survey (OS) maps were used to identify the location of nearby residential properties. The grid references of these positions were included in the model to represent sensitive receptors. Predictions of pollutant concentrations both with and without the operation of the plant were then made at these receptors. Contour plots were also produced showing pollution levels across the site and surrounding area.
The Coal Mine Methane Plant Assessment Results
The results of the assessment were compared against the Environment Agency criteria, as outlined in the ‘Air emissions risk assessment for your environmental permit‘ online guidance. This indicated that predicted impacts were not considered to be significant on either human or ecological receptors. Predicted pollutant concentrations were also found to be below the relevant thresholds at all locations within the contour plot. The report was submitted as part of the Environmental Permit Application alongside a Non-Technical Summary and the relevant forms. The plant was subsequently granted an Environmental Permit for operation.
Can We Assist You with Your Project?
If you’d like to find out more about the Environmental Permitting requirements for medium combustion plant, please visit our service page. If you operate or propose to operate a Coal Mine Methane Plant, or any other industrial process that requires emission control advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team to find out how we can assist you.