The local businessman who invented a technology to reduce emissions at coal-fired power plants is the latest to weigh in on statements made by Leigh regarding the technology and the decision to move forward with plans to install it at the Martin Drake Power Plant downtown.
“I am responding to Councilmember Tim Leigh’s latest comments indicating that our system failed testing and is the most expensive of “48” SOx (desulfurization options) for power plants,” David Neumann, CEO of Neumann Systems Group, said in an email to City Council members Monday morning.
“Further claims are that Mr. Drew Rankin recommended ‘killing the baby’ and that Mayor Rivera inappropriately saved the project for political reasons and over the objections of Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) personnel. Mr. Leigh’s comments are highly offensive (including especially the use of imagery such as ‘killing the baby’) and from what I know about the circumstances highly inaccurate. Let him name his source(s),” Neumann wrote.
Here is the full, unedited text of Neumann’s email to council:
I am responding to Councilmember Tim Leigh’s latest comments indicating that our system failed testing and is the most expensive of “48” SOx (desulfurization options) for power plants. Further claims are that Mr. Drew Rankin recommended “killing the baby” and that Mayor Rivera inappropriately saved the project for political reasons and over the objections of Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) personnel. Mr. Leigh’s comments are highly offensive (including especially the use of imagery such as “killing the baby”) and from what I know about the circumstances highly inaccurate. Let him name his source(s).
As many of you have seen, our technology went through three phases of rigorous development funded by CSU and prior to being chosen for commercial implementation at Martin Drake and Ray Nixon. Comparative cost and performance studies were performed of NeuStream® vs Best Available Control Technology (BACT). The regulatory environment in existence during Phase 1 of the NeuStream® project (completed in early 2008) and Phase 2 (completed in early 2009) were pointing to much more stringent regulations for SOx and NOx, and for the first time new regulations on CO2. Note also that both Martin Drake and Ray Nixon at that time had and currently have NOx controls that meet Air Quality requirements. In that vein we did preliminary (and successful) testing on removal of all three emissions. That data is available for you to review. During Phase 2 of the NeuStream® project, it became apparent that in the near term no additional NOx requirements and no new CO2 requirements were going to be imposed on large coal burning sources like Martin Drake and Ray Nixon. As I understand it, it was on the basis of a documented need for SOx only emissions control capability, that we were then contracted to complete a Phase 3, 20 MW pilot plant for SOx only.
As we have shown many of you, including Councilmember Tim Leigh, EPRI in their cost study done by the URS Washington Group showed our system to be 30%-40% lower cost than any other competing technology. Councilmember Leigh has seen the cost information as well as the results of the testing on our system twice. I spent 3-hours with him in June 2011 going over our information in detail and touring Drake with him. I have documented records of precisely what he saw in June 2011. He then saw the same information again with additional detail when he recently brought in his and the Mayor’s two experts.
With regard to Mayor Rivera’s involvement in the review of our technology, my only exposure was through Dr. Duncan Stewart who Mayor Rivera asked to do an independent assessment of our technology and report to the Board. I do not recall seeing a copy of the report. However, my understanding was that it was positive about moving forward and that the Board has copies of that assessment. I spoke with Dr. Stewart over the weekend and he is prepared to comment to you about the report. Mayor Rivera spoke with me directly a couple of times about supporting his work as Vice Chairman of the Energy Committee for the National Council of Mayors and definitely was enthusiastic about supporting the technology–especially after Dr. Stewart’s review.
Additionally, with regard to what Mr. Drew Rankin said or didn’t say, I can only refer you to Mr. Tom Black, P.E., now at Fountain Electric. Mr. Black at the time was Chief Energy Services Officer and Drew Rankin’s boss. Mr. Black is also prepared to speak with you and send you information about what was happening in that time frame. I met frequently with both of them about the status throughout the program and I don’t recall ever hearing any of the comments that were attributed to them by Councilmember Leigh’s unnamed source. Our contract with CSU at the time was a Professional Services contract with many smaller short term task orders that focused our work on meeting the emissions control requirements being imposed by the State and Region 8 EPA. The State CDPHE people visited and reviewed our project several times. If something happened “on the way to the Forum” that can only be the changing State and EPA air quality requirements which caused us to narrow our project to meet those specific requirements.
Since Phase II of our project ended with CSU we have garnered other sources of funding which have allowed us to pilot and test at another Utility an optimized NOx, SOx, Hg, and particulate removal system as well as a CO2 system. All of these units use our unique scrubbing technology and all show the same promise of being, by far, the low cost provider in the marketplace.
Thanks for Listening,
David K. Neumann, CEO
Neumann Systems Group, Inc.