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Hot Mix Asphalt Facilities

Written by Ellia Ciammaichella August 17, 2000 This permit handbook chapter describes the permitting procedures for hot mix asphalt facilities (HMA). A hot mix asphalt facility is defined by EPA, 40 Code of Federal Regulations, Subpart I, 60.91 as any facility "used to manufacture hot mix asphalt by heating and drying aggregate and mixing with asphalt cements." District Regulation 8-15 limits the use of rapid-cure liquid asphalt, medium-cure liquid asphalt, emulsified asphalt, and slow-cure liquid asphalt (road oil). The District also prohibits per Regulation 12-3-301, air blowing of asphalt unless all effluents are incinerated at temperatures above 1202 degrees Fahrenheit for not less than 0.3 seconds, or use of an effective air pollution control as determined by the APCO. Portable HMA facilities must meet the criteria of District Regulation 2-1-105, 2-1-220, and 2-1-413 on portable equipment operated in the district. Some useful information can be found at the U.S. Department of Transportation web site on hot mix asphalts ( The National Center for Asphalt Technology (, also called the NCAT, is also a good reference on hot mix asphalt facilities. Section 11.1 of EPA AP-42, January 1995 version, also gives a general overview of hot mix asphalt plants. The first two sections of this chapter describe the types of hot mix asphalt facilities that may be encountered, the process description, and the air emissions associated with hot mix asphalt facilities. The next three sections discuss Bay Area Air Quality Management District permit requirements for this equipment and items necessary for a permit application. The sixth section is an engineering evaluation template and includes typical equipment/process descriptions, sample emission calculations, applicable regulatory requirements, applicable District policies, and sample permit conditions. I. PROCESS DESCRIPTION

A hot mix asphalt facility is an assembly of mechanical electronic equipment where aggregates are blended, heated, dried, and mixed with asphalt. An HMA facility can be constructed as a permanent plant, a skid-mounted (easily relocated) plant, or a portable plant. HMA portable or mobile facilities accounted for 20 percent of HMA facilities in the US in 1982. HMA facilities produce asphaltic concrete, which is a mixture of well graded, high quality aggregate (which can include reclaimed asphalt pavement [RAP], reducing the amount of virgin rock and asphalt cement needed to produce HMA), and liquid asphalt cement which is heated and mixed in measured quantities. The asphalt cement may be blended with petroleum distillates or emulsifiers to produce cold mix asphalt, sometimes referred to as cutback or emulsified asphalt, respectively. Aggregate is any hard, inert mineral material used for mixing in graduated particles or fragments. It includes sand, gravel, crushed stone, slag, rock dust, or powder. Aggregate for asphalt paving are generally classified according to their source or means of preparation. The amount of mineral (fine) aggregate in asphalt paving mixtures is generally 92 to 96 percent by weight and 75 to 85 percent by volume. Asphalt is a dark brown to black cementitious material (solid or liquid), roughly made up of 5 percent bitumen and 95 percent fill material. The bitumen is the crude fraction remaining from the distillation of oil and is a cementitious material composed principally of high molecular weight hydrocarbons.

only a portion of the several phases of batching is accomplished automatically. Drum mix facilities inject the oil directly into the rotary dryer with the aggregate and then heat the entire mixture. As the hot aggregate leaves the dryer. exhaust fan.000 are parallel-flow drum mix. 1. and 300 are counter-flow drum mix types. parallel flow and counter flow designs. Storage tanks at HMA facilities are usually fixed roof (closed or enclosed) and vented due to the smaller size of the tanks. where it is weighed to achieve the desired aggregate-toasphalt cement ratio in the final mix. Continuous mix facilities.000 and 200. Storage tanks are used to store heated liquid asphalts and asphalt cement at HMA facilities. continuous mix (mix outside drum).Most HMA facilities are comprised of the same basic air pollution sources.000 gallons. and drum-mix. dust collection system. The mixture of aggregate and asphalt take place in a separate mixing chamber called a pug mill. semi-automatic. The mixing time is necessary to obtain a homogenous mixture of uniformly distributed and properly coated aggregates of unchanging appearance. After drying.600 active HMA facilities. and reclaimed asphalt paving (RAP) area. The batch mixing time is the time period between the start of the opening of the weigh hopper dumping mechanism and the start of the opening of the discharge gate. A normal batch cycle time is 45 to 60 seconds. bucket elevator. or button. The hot-mix is conveyed to a hot storage silo or dropped directly into a truck and hauled to a job site. which represent a very small fraction (about half percent) of the plants presently operating. In a fully automatic operation. or fully automatic. In both cases the interior of the drum is equipped with flights that veil the aggregate through the hot exhaust as the dryer rotates. These components are the dryer.300 are batch mix. asphaltic cement and mineral aggregate are mixed in the last third of the dryer. the aggregate is typically heated to temperatures ranging from 275 to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and then coated with asphalt cement in one of two ways. In a drum mix type. storage bins. switch. each phase of the batching is performed by a manipulation of a lever. liquid asphalt cement is pumped from a heated storage tank to an asphalt bucket. Higher organic emissions are expected from the drum mix type since the oil is exposed to both higher aggregate temperatures and to the open flame of the rotary dryer. There are two basic designs of drum mix facilities. A batch mix facility has a plant tower which includes the vibrating screens. weigh hopper. In a semi-automatic operation. Batch facilities add the oil to the heated aggregate after the rotary dryer. Aggregate from the weigh hopper is dropped into the mixer (pug mill) and dry-mixed for 6 to 10 seconds. RAP may also be added at this point.  Batch Mix Facilities Batch mix facilities are categorized as either manual. About 85 percent of the HMA facilities being constructed are the counter-flow drum mix while batch mix and parallel flow drum mix account for 10 and 5 percent respectively. of which 2. the operator opens various hot bins over a weigh hopper until the desired mix and weight for individual components are obtained. In a manual operation. usually less than 30. are not discussed in this chapter. which is pre-programmed to a controller. The average maximum production rates for batch mix and drum mix facilities are 105. . burner-blower. These operations primarily differ in the coating procedure used to add asphaltic concrete oil to the aggregate mixture. HMA facilities can be classified into three main categories: batch mix.1 of EPA AP-42 cites approximately 3. The two most common designs are the batch mix and drum mix facilities. This means that a batch mix facility can produce 60 to 80 batches per hour. Concurrent with the aggregate being weighed. it drops into a bucket elevator and is transferred to a set of vibrating screens that drop the aggregate into individual "hot" bins according to size. The liquid asphalt is then dropped into the pug mill where it is wetmixed until homogeneous. The June 2000 draft section 11. Thus a facility with a 5 ton pug milI (mixer unit) can produce 300 to 400 tons per hour of hot mix asphalt. To control aggregate size distribution in the final batch mix. Most batch mix facilities are fully automatic. asphalt cement heating and storage. all phases of batching are performed automatically by using a started switch. and mixer.000 tons per year respectively. The asphalt is introduced directly into the dryer chamber to coat the aggregate.

Some particulate matter also come from the fuel used for heating the aggregate and asphalt. the liquid asphalt cement mixing zone is located behind the burner flame zone so as to remove the materials from direct contact with hot exhaust gases. Secondary particulate sources at HMA facilities are the hot aggregate elevators. There are two basic designs of drum mix facilities: parallel flow and counter flow designs. and the efficiency of the combustion process. which has been proportioned by size gradations. weigh hopper. hot storage bins. In batch mix facilities. Because liquid asphalt cement. thereby reducing particulate emissions. move toward the other end of the drum in parallel. Since the typical drum mix facility. are mixed in a zone not in contact with the hot exhaust gas stream. the primary source of particulates from HMA facilities. the aggregates. The organic compounds that are emitted from counterflow drum mix plants are likely to be products of a slight inefficient combustion and can include hazardous air pollutants (HAP). pug mill (mixing unit). Parallel flow drum mix facilities have the advantage of giving the mixture a longer time to coat and to collect dust in the mix. the material flow in the drum is opposite or counterflow to the direction of the exhaust gases. but may be as large as 200 million British thermal units per hour. HMA facilities have two major categories of emissions: ducted sources and fugitive sources. the rotation rate. and loading and transportation. and sometimes RAP. these secondary sources can emit as much as 2000 pound an hour. The amount of particulate generated within the dryer in this process is usually lower than what is generated in a batch dryer. particulates emitted from the dryer can be as high as 6700 pounds an hour. Dryer burner capacities are usually less than 100 million British thermal units per hour. The top of the hot product elevator and the storage silo should be covered and/or ducted to a control device. asphalt storage. but also mixed with the asphalt cement. Sulfur dioxide and other gaseous emissions are also emitted. Ducted emissions are usually collected and transported by an industrial ventilation system having one or more fans or air movers. Aggregate. the type of fuel used. counterflow drum mix plants will likely have lower VOC emissions than parallel flow drum mix plants. particularly if a fuel with a high ash content is burned. Gaseous emissions come from the burner-blower. II. storage silos. As the drum rotates. unlike a batch facility. eventually to be emitted to the atmosphere through some type of stack. aggregate. Drum Mix Facilities In a drum mix facility. screens. In this counterflow design. Without abatement. . and ductwork. mainly come from the heated aggregate in the rotary drum dryer. Dust that may escape collection before the primary collection device generally consists of particulates having 50 to 70 percent of the total mass being less than 74 microns. the hot product elevator can also be a source of gaseous emissions. exhaust fan. aggregate is not only dried and heated within the drum. The quantity of particulate matter emitted depends on the rotary drum dryer gas velocity. is introduced to the drum at the burner end. AIR EMISSIONS Most of the pollutants emitted from hot mix asphalt facilities are particulates. Each operation can be a potential source of pollution if controls are not employed. In addition. dust collectors. as well as the combustion products. Uncontrolled. the aggregate must be properly proportioned prior to its entry into the mixing drum.  Ducted Emissions Ducted emissions. the feed rate. Fugitive emissions result from process and open sources and consist of a combination of gaseous pollutants and particulates. and the specific gravity and aerodynamic characteristics of the particles. does not incorporate a gradation screening unit. heating system. the particle size distribution.

The plant tower of a batch facility.  Fugitive Emissions The major source of process fugitive emissions in batch mix facilities is the batch tower which is vented into the primary collection device. If crushing. CO and VOCs. which includes the screens. these may result in fugitive particulate emissions. The number and type of fugitive emission sources associated with a particular facility depend on whether the equipment is portable or stationary and whether it is located adjacent to a gravel pit or quarry. and a primary collection device such as a skimmer.In drum mix facilities. Some design modifications to reduce or eliminate blue smoke include installation of flame shields. but may also contain volatile organic compounds (VOC) and a fine aerosol of condensed liquid particles. breaking. Secondary particulate sources generally use branch ducting to the primary collection device. or baghouse. Also. wet scrubber. A blue smoke plume may arise due to the condensation of VOCs to form fine liquid particulates. and flow rate. and from the asphalt storage tank. . from the bed of the truck during transport to the job site. collection efficiencies can get as high as 99 percent or greater. and mixer. although natural gas is normally transported in a pipeline. Chute discharges should be made into transport devices and not onto the ground. particle size. At all HMA facilities there may be particulate and slight process fugitive volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from the transport and handling of the hot-mix from the mixer to the storage silo and also from the loadout operations to the delivery trucks. The aggregate elevator conveys dried dusty material to the screening unit and should therefore be completely housed and connected by a scavenger duct to the dust collection system to prevent emissions from any cracks or holes. emissions from the drum mixer consist of a steam with a substantial amount of particulate matter and small amounts of SOx. Particulates from HMA facilities is controlled by the use of a secondary collection device. rearrangement of the flights inside the drum. A shroud and a water sprayer may be put around the discharge opening to avoid excess dust emissions. NOx. Emissions from the drum mix RAP process (in which old asphalt pavement is crushed and screened for processing) are similar to emissions from regular drum mix facilities. usually a mechanical collector. called a fugitive dust or scavenger system. Small amounts of VOC emissions can also result from the transfer of liquid and gaseous fuels. which also may contain small amounts of hydrocarbon compounds. or cyclone. The overflow and reject chutes must be completely enclosed and maintained in good working condition to prevent dust emissions. The collection efficiency may also depend on the design. bag material. A baghouse is generally more efficient than a scrubber. Attempts to apply electrostatic precipitators have met with little success. The liquid particles produced depend on the temperature of the asphalt cement and aggregate entering the mixer. organic vapor and its associated particulates may also be emitted directly to the atmosphere as process fugitives during truck loading. Excess gaseous emissions from truck loading can be avoided by minimizing the free fall distance between the mixer discharge or storage silo and the haul truck. except that there are more VOCs because of the direct flame volatilization of petroleum derivatives contained in the old asphalt paving. knockout box. The collection efficiency of these control devices are primarily dependant on the proper air and water flow. should be completely housed and connected to a collection system. The emissions captured and transported by the dust collector are mostly aggregate dust. In all HMA facilities. The fugitive dust from these emission points is usually in the very small particle range due to the low gas velocity applied to these points. or grinding operations occur at the plant. fine particulate collected from the baghouses can be a source of fugitive emissions as the overflow particulates is transported by truck (enclosed or tarped) for on-site disposal. Limiting the percentage of RAP in the aggregate feed can reduce the VOC emissions. and adjustments in the asphalt cement injection point. With this combination. batches.

and requiring proper maintenance of equipment. and carbon monoxide. mainly sulfur. conducting periodic source tests. . Many facilities have reduced these emissions by using natural gas and implementing effective maintenance programs. Other sources of gaseous emission can be the asphalt and fuel storage. Maintaining proper temperature controls on asphalt storage tanks is important in preventing gaseous emissions. nitrogen oxides. Other Emissions Gaseous emissions are usually controlled by limiting the type and quantity of fuel used. Both the burner-blower and the exhaust fan emits products of combustion. especially the burner-blower.