Nitric Acid Production Project Protocol FAQs
- How should ownership of emission reductions be established?
- Are projects eligible at new nitric acid plants?
- What if the CEMS installation, certification, and QA/QC did not follow the precise requirements laid out in Section 6 of the protocol? Must I request a variance?
- Will the Reserve consider a variance with regard to statistical treatments of historical data series used to determine allowable operating conditions (AOC)?
- The protocol requires that AOC be established for the NAP using the best available historical data from the previous five campaigns. What if one of the five previous campaigns was anomalous, therefore not representing best available data?
- How does one know if a project exceeded HNO3,MAX and how exactly is the HNO3,MAX value derived for calculating emission reductions?
- How will the EPA Tailoring Rule and/or greenhouse gas regulations affect nitric acid production project eligibility?
- Are full campaigns necessary in order to calculate emission reductions under this protocol? Can credits be calculated for only part of a campaign length?
- Q: How should ownership of emission reductions be established?
A: The party with primary liability for the emissions is the party that initially has the right to claim credits. This party is named as the facility owner/operator on Title V Air permits. This party may subsequently assign the right to claim emission reductions to other entities, in which case other entities may have the right to claim credits. Contracts and/or other documentation must show explicitly that the right to claim credits has been assigned to another party.
- Q: Are projects eligible at new nitric acid plants?
A: No, projects are only eligible at existing, relocated or upgraded nitric acid plants (NAPs), provided historical HNO3 production levels and allowable operating conditions can be established for such NAPs in accordance with Section 5 of the protocol. The one exception is if a permit application for construction was submitted to the appropriate government authorities prior to December 2, 2009. Restarted nitric acid plants are only eligible if they were out of operation for less than 24 months or if they were restarted any time prior to December 2, 2007, after being out of operation for a period of 24 months or longer.
- Q: What if the CEMS installation, certification, and QA/QC did not follow the precise requirements laid out in Section 6 of the protocol? Must I request a variance?
A: In many cases, yes. However, Version 2.0 of the protocol lays out several exemptions and specifications, especially with regard to pre-existing CEMS systems or systems employing different technologies than initially assumed in Version 1.0 the protocol.
- Q: Will the Reserve consider a variance with regard to statistical treatments of historical data series used to determine allowable operating conditions (AOC)?
A: No, because any such deviation from the statistical treatment presented in the protocol will represent a different methodological approach. The Reserve does not consider variances that deviate from the Reserve’s methodological approach.
- Q: The protocol requires that AOC be established for the NAP using the best available historical data from the previous five campaigns. What if one of the five previous campaigns was anomalous, therefore not representing best available data?
A: When one of the five previous consecutive campaigns is justifiably anomalous, the project may instead use five non¬-consecutive historical campaigns (i.e. exclude the anomalous campaign and add another campaign from the next available historical records). Under these circumstances, an explanation and justification for excluding the anomalous campaign must be included in the verification report for the project. See Sections 5.1.2 and 5.2.2 for complete guidance.
- Q: How does one know if a project exceeded HNO3,MAX and how exactly is the HNO3,MAX value derived for calculating emission reductions?
A: To calculate HNO3,MAX, daily or hourly average HNO3 production levels must be calculated based on annual HNO3 production over five consecutive years (see guidance in Sections 5.1.1 and 5.2.1). Total HNO3 production over a full 12-month period should be summed and averaged daily or hourly, excluding times when the NAP was out of operation. HNO3,MAX equals the highest of these five average HNO3 production values.
A project campaign exceeds HNO3,MAX when the total daily or hourly average HNO3 produced during one campaign is greater than the HNO3,MAX value. When this occurs, HNO3,MAX must be scaled by multiplying the average daily or hourly HNO3,MAX value by the number of operating days or hours in the period for which emission reductions are being calculated. The HNO3,MAX,SCALED value is then used in Equations 5.6, 5.11, and 5.13 to calculation emission reductions.
- Q: How will the EPA Tailoring Rule and/or greenhouse gas regulations affect nitric acid production project eligibility?
A: The EPA’s Tailoring Rule and subsequent greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting requirements, which took effect January 2, 2011 may affect project eligibility. Generally, projects are ineligible when the project activity becomes required by law. Under EPA’s new GHG regulations, nitric acid plants undertaking significant facility expansions that increase facility emissions by 75,000 tCO2e/yr will be legally required to pursue a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit, which requires implementation of “best available control technology” (BACT) for GHGs. The EPA has not given explicit guidance on what will be considered BACT for nitric acid plants. However, it is possible that the abatement technologies eligible under this protocol may be mandated for certain facilities. If this is the case, then projects will not be eligible at those facilities, as installation of the abatement technology will be legally required and therefore non-additional.
Additionally, projects already underway may be required by EPA to reference their abatement technology and/or emission levels when applying for a renewal of the Title V air permit. However, because the issuance of the new or revised Title V permit will not itself require or mandate the implementation of any new GHG abatement, the Reserve expects that such permits will not affect the eligibility status of currently registered projects. See Section 3.4 of the protocol for complete guidance.
- Q: Are full campaigns necessary in order to calculate emission reductions under this protocol? Can credits be calculated for only part of a campaign length?
A: A reporting period must represent a full campaign, defined as the full length of operation of one set of primary catalyst gauzes (i.e. the time between new catalyst installations or new charges of catalyst gauze). However, a project developer may choose to verify a reporting period that spans less than a full campaign. Any such reporting period is referred to as a “sub-campaign reporting period.”
For any sub-campaign reporting period whose end date is prior to the completion date of a full campaign, the project developer must apply a 5% discount to the total emission reductions quantified and reported for that reporting period. Upon completion of the full campaign, the project developer must quantify the emission reductions for the entire campaign. The emission reductions reported for the final sub-campaign reporting period shall be equal to the reductions quantified over the full campaign minus the sum of emission reductions that were reported for prior sub-campaign reporting periods within the same campaign. See Sections 7.4 and 7.4.1 for complete guidance.