United States                       Office of Administrator          EPA-100-F-00-016
Environmental Protection               Mail Code 1802A             May 2000
Agency                                                      (Http://www.epa.gov)
         EPA  Project  XL:  Georgia-Pacific

           Black Liquor  Gasification System


Project XL, which stands for excellence and Leadership,  is a natbnal initiative that
tests innovative ways of achieving better and more cost-effective public health and
environmental protection. The information and lessons learned from Project XL are
being used to assist the U.S. Environmental  Protection Agency (EPA) in redesigning
its current regulatory and policy-setting approaches. Project XL encourages testing of
cleaner, cheaper, and smarter ways to attain environmental results superior to those
achieved under current regulations and policies, in conjunction with greater
accountability to stakeholders. It is vital that each project tests new ideas with the
potential for wide application and broad environmental benefits. As of May 2000,
twenty-five pilot experiments are being implemented and approximately thirty
additional  projects are in  various stages of development.


Georgia-Pacific Corporatbn s pulp and paper mill in Big Island, Virginia, will testthe
effectiveness of a new gasification technology under their signed agreement with  EPA.
Georgia-Pacific owns and operates the mill that produces the components of
cardboard and emits pollutants during the manufacturing process. In April 1998, EPA
proposed a Maximum  Achievable Control Technology (MACT II) standard which, if
promulgated, would regulate hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from combustion
sources specifically associated with the recovery of pulping chemicals from spent
pulping liquor (aka black liquor ). Presently,  Georgia-Pacific combusts concentrated
black liquor in two high temperature recovery smelters. To meet the standard
proposed  for pulp and paper mills in the MACT II regulation,  Georgia-Pacific proposes
to replace the aging smelters with a black liquor gasification  system. This would be
the first commercial application of the innovative gasification  technology in the United
States. Georgia Pacifies project, EPA s 25  Final Project Agreement, was signed on
May 31, 2000.

 This new  gasification  technology has the potential to produce much lower air
emissions compared to traditional technology, eliminate smelt-water explosbn
hazards, greatly improve energy conversion, and reduce operation and maintenance costs. The emissions
expected to be reduced include: particulates, Sulfur Dioxide, Total Reduced Sulfur, Nitrogen Oxides,
Volatile Organic Compounds, Carbon Monoxide, HAPS, and greenhouse gases, specifically Carbon
Dioxide. Successful demonstratbn of the technology at Georgia-Pacifies Big Island mill would pave the
way for widespread use in the nations pulp mills, thereby multiplying many times over
the environmental, energy, and cost benefits.


This XL Project requires regulatory flexibility for the smelters in the mill s existing
chemical recovery system. Because black liquor gasification is a new technology not
yet commercially demonstrated, there is some risk that the technology will not be
successful or will network as well as anticipated. Under these scenarios,
Georgia-Pacifies existing smelters must continue to operate and may have hazardous
air pollutant emissions in excess of the EPA MACT II performance standard.  Under
Project XL, Georgia-Pacific seeks allowance for such emissions fora set period of
time (until either the new system  is working properly or, in the event of gasification
system failure, a conventional recovery system can be built to replace the smelters).
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To encourage stakeholderinvolvement, public meetings were held in Bedford, Lynchburg, and Big Island.
Information about the project was distributed to local newspapers,  radio, and  TV stations. A series of
eight stakeholder meetings were held to discuss the Final Project Agreement. The first two meetings
included tours of the Big Island facility and detailed briefing and discussions of the Mill s operations,
manufacturing process, the proposed gasification system process  and the anticipated air quality
improvements associated with the proposed new agreement.


              Will Georgia-Pacifies installation of a black liquor  gasification system provide greater
              energy conversion efficiency  and operation cost savings, while improving safety and
              environmental performance.

       "      Can EPA successfully promote new, environmentally beneficial technology through
              regu latory flexibility?


EPA Region 3:                Steven J. Donohue           215-814-3215
EPA Headquarters:            David Beck                  919-541-5421
state Contact:                Tom Berkeley                804-852-5120
Project Sponsor:               Pat Moore                   804-299-5911 ext. 286


More information about Project XL is available on the Internet at: http://www.epa.gov/proiectxl
or via Project XL s Information Line at 202-260-5745