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Biomass Digesters and Gasification Facilities

Biomass is biological material that is available on a renewable recurring basis and is used as a source of renewable energy (329 IAC 11.5-2-3 [PDF]). It includes agricultural crops; agricultural wastes and residues; wood and wood byproducts including wood residue, forest thinning, and mill residue wood; animal wastes and byproducts including manure; aquatic plants; algae; and byproducts of processing agricultural crops.

Appropriate feedstock refers to specific solid waste streams that have been segregated from other solid wastes and that can be successfully processed for recovery of materials or energy through a biomass anaerobic digestion facility or a biomass gasification facility (329 IAC 11.5-2-2 [PDF]). Examples of common appropriate feedstocks include food waste; cooking oil and grease; industrial waste such as paper pulp; sewage sludge; off-spec or unused animal feed that are nonindustrial waste sources; dried distillers grain; food waste from the food manufacturing and food services industries; or wood pallets.

About Biomass Digesters and Gasification Facilities

A biomass anaerobic digestion facility (i.e., biomass digester) promotes the decomposition of biomass to simple organics and biogas products in the oxygen-free (i.e., anaerobic) environment of a closed, sealed chamber. The term includes a methane recovery system. A biomass gasification facility (i.e., gasification facility) incorporates equipment to carry out a thermochemical process that, with little or no oxygen present, converts biomass into a synthetic gas.

Regulations

Biomass digesters and gasification facilities are regulated by rules in the Indiana Administrative Code at 329 IAC 11.5 [PDF]. Owners or operators who plan to construct or expand facilities storing, reusing, or processing biomass for energy production or production of a reusable byproduct such as animal bedding must obtain a registration from IDEM before starting operations. The biomass facilities may also accept appropriate feedstock along with biomass for energy production or production of a reusable byproduct. They also must comply with applicable requirements under 329 IAC 11.5. Indiana’s biomass rules help prevent threats to human health or the environment, including the creation of a fire hazard or vector attraction; air, land, or water pollution; or other contamination.

Exclusions

Facilities and activities that are excluded from regulation are identified in 329 IAC 11.5-3-1 [PDF].

How to Register

Owners or operators of biomass digester or gasification facilities must complete and submit the applicable form(s) and requested documentation to IDEM per 329 IAC 11.5-4-1 [PDF]. Instructions are provided on the form(s). There is no application fee, and public notice is not required. The registration process has three options:

  1. If the biomass facility will NOT be located at a confined feeding operation (CFO) or concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) and will process only biomass and appropriate feedstock, submit the Biomass Anaerobic Digester/Gasification Facility Registration Application (State Form 55309, available on the IDEM Forms page).
  2. If the biomass facility WILL be located at a CFO or CAFO and will process only biomass and appropriate feedstock, submit the Biomass Anaerobic Digester/Gasification Facility Registration Application (State Form 55309, available on the IDEM Forms page) AND the CFO/CAFO Application Packet (State Form 55051, available on the IDEM Forms page).
  3. If the biomass facility will be processing solid waste that does NOT qualify as appropriate feedstock, submit the Biomass Anaerobic Digester/Gasification Facility Registration Application (State Form 55309) AND the solid waste processing facilities permit application (State Form 53315). Both forms are available on the IDEM Forms page. If this facility will be located at a CFO/CAFO, also submit the CFO/CAFO Application Packet (State Form 55051, available on the IDEM Forms page).

Biomass registrations are valid for up to 5 years. Registrations are not transferable. When property upon which a biomass digester or gasification facility is located and/or operating changes ownership, the new owner must apply to IDEM for a new registration 30 days in advance of taking ownership of the facility, and may operate the facility in the interim.

Owners or operators should also check with local government agencies to determine if any local approvals are required.

Financial Assurance for Cleanup and Closure

To protect Indiana taxpayers from the costs of cleaning up abandoned facilities, 329 IAC 11.5-8-1 [PDF] requires owners or operators of biomass digesters or gasification facilities to post financial assurance. Facilities with a CFO approval or a CAFO permit are exempt from the requirement to obtain financial assurance for biomass.

Financial assurance provides IDEM with funds to clean up and properly close a facility if the owner or operator were to abandon or does not remove and properly dispose of waste remaining at an operation that goes out of business. The amount of financial assurance is specified in the rule. To obtain the language necessary for financial assurance mechanisms, please contact the financial assurance staff listed on the Contact page.

Other Regulatory Requirements

In addition to obtaining a registration, owners or operators of biomass digesters or gasification facilities must comply with other applicable requirements under 329 IAC 11.5 [PDF], including:

  • Storage requirements (329 IAC 11.5-5-1) Operational requirements (329 IAC 11.5-6-1)
  • Closure requirements (329 IAC 11.5-7-1)
    • Facility owners or operators must notify IDEM in writing at least 14 days before the date the registered facility permanently ceases accepting biomass or appropriate feedstock. They must remove all biomass, appropriate feedstock, reusable byproduct, and residue from the facility and properly dispose of it. They also must decontaminate and properly close the facility.
  • Disposal requirements (329 IAC 11.5-7-2)

Modifications or Registration Renewals

Modifications to a facility must be approved by IDEM, and are required prior to a change in the facility process, the facility location, the amounts of biomass or appropriate feedstock, or if the facility will be expanded.

Registration renewals are due at least 60 days before the expiration date of the current registration.

Owners or operators must complete and submit the Biomass Anaerobic Digester/Gasification Facility Registration Application (State Form 55309, available on the IDEM Forms page) and all requested documentation to IDEM for modifications or renewals. Instructions are provided on the form. IDEM’s review and enforcement process for late renewals is set forth in nonrule policy document Waste-0062 (available on the IDEM Nonrule Policies page).

For Assistance

Please contact the Solid Waste Permits Section staff for more information or assistance.

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