Natural Gas Boilers
General Electric makes conversion under state clean-air permit plan
By Brian Nearing
Photo: John Carl D'Annibale
GE Global Research Center Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 15, 2010, in Niskayuna, N.Y. (John Carl D'Annibale / Times Union archive)Photo: John Carl D'Annibale
Exterior of GE Global Research Monday, May 6, 2013, in Niskayuna, N.Y. (Will Waldron/Times Union archive)Photo: Will Waldron
The air around the sprawling General Electric research facility near the Mohawk River has gotten cleaner since boilers there are running mainly on natural gas, rather than the most-polluting form of fuel oil.
Combustion of that type of oil releases much higher levels of soot, sulfur dioxide (which causes acid rain) and nitrogen oxide, which contributes to the formation of smog. Smog can worsen breathing issues for people with asthma and other respiratory ailments.
GE spokesman Todd Alhart said the fuel changeover in Niskayuna has already been done. "We use both fuels, but we are burning more natural gas now and that is the majority of our fuel, " he said.
Switching from bunker oil to natural gas reduces soot emissions by 96 percent, sulfur dioxide by 99 percent, and NOx by about 75 percent, according to figures from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
In Niskayuna, the draft air pollution permit for the plant also reflects new federal limits for nitrogen oxide, which were adopted in 2012, and will also require GE to test boilers at Niskayuna to "determine actual NOx emission rates."
GE has been burning more natural gas because the price of the fuel has declined considerably, making it cheaper than fuel oil, according to DEC.
Natural gas prices have fallen because of a glut caused by natural gas hydrofracking in neighboring Pennsylvania and other states.
HydroTherm 85,000 BTU Natural Gas Residential Boiler - Sabre
Home Improvement (HydroTherm)
Rinnai Q85SN 85,000 BTU Natural Gas Condensing Boiler
Home Improvement (Rinnai)
HTP MC Series 120,000 BTU NAT/LP Gas Boiler
Home Improvement (Heat Transfer Products)
Westinghouse WBRCNG140W 140K BTU Space Heating Boiler with Optional Domestic Hot Water, Natural Gas and Wall Hung System
Home Improvement (Westinghouse Water Heating)
Buderus 1-GA124/30G Natural Gas Sealed Comustion Hot Water Boiler (85% Efficiency)
Home Improvement (Buderus)