Monday, September 3, 2012

98,801 Tons per year is a Minor Source of Emissions?

Link to this:

When I think of a Minor Source of air pollution, I think of something like this:
According to the EPA, an average modern lawnmower produces ~90 lbs
of CO2 and other Greenhouse Gasses each year.
A 90 lb woman.

PA DEP is considering the Williams Central Compressor Station in Brooklyn PA a "Minor Source" of Emissions at 98,801 Tons of CO2 equivalent of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Per Year.

The EPA considers 100,000 tpy as the threshold for a "major source" of GHG emissions.
Major sources are regulated at a much higher degree than minor sources, like lawnmowers.


So having been involved in engineering for ~20 years,
I like to get a visual on what the data looks like.
Because 100,000 tons is a little hard to grasp.

So every one has seen a 100 ton coal rail car:

And everyone has seen a 100-car train:

This is what 100 coal cars look like.

A 100 car train is about 1 mile long.
100 cars times 100 tons = 10,000 tons.

This is what 1000 coal cars looks like.100,000 tons per year is like TEN TRAINS,
Each train is 100 cars long @ 100 tons per car.
A 10 mile long train, 1000 coal cars total.
This is 100,000 tons = MAJOR source.

BUT since the Williams Central Station compressor
is "only" 98,801 tons per year,
it is a "minor source" and is regulated much less stringently.

Here is what 98,801 tons looks like:

So remember our train that is 10 miles long?
Total of 1000 cars @ 100 tons each?
REMOVE JUST 12 CARS, and this becomes a "minor source".

This is 98,801 tons = MINOR source of GHG emissions.

98,801 tons is 6 orders of magnitude greaterthan emissions of the average lawmower,
yet they both are considered
"minor sources" of emissions

100 ton coal cars x 1000 cars (10 miles long) = Major Source.
100 ton coal cars x 988 cars (9.9 miles long) = Minor Source.

Do you see the difference?

The EPA says:
EPA’s GHG Tailoring Rule, issued in May 2010, established a common sense approach to permitting GHG emissions -- from

So is it "common sense" to group
practical physical quantities
which are 6 orders of magnitude apart
both under the quantity "small"?

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)


Random Blogger said...

Bill - did you see the arrest of Daryl Hannah and the 78 year old woman in TX yesterday? Foreigners are able to take American land through eminent domain? If the constitution pipeline gets approved, how many NY and PA citizens will be faced with the same? Please sign and share this petition to oppose the Constitution pipeline with your readers. Saudi's and other foreign oil / gas owners of companies operating in the US shouldn't be allowed to take our land away from us for foreign profits!

Vera said...

it's all insane, Bill; Humans are destroying their own Habitat besides that of other species. What is more insane than that? I have seen enough horrors the past four years here in my county and elsewhere, and I don't know if I can see any more.

Steve said...

Brilliant, Bill. Thanks for doing this. I will use in educational forums which I will be presenting.