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Fugitive Emissions focus of Flow Control Exchange 2019 Conference & Expo

Flow Control Exchange India is a unique combination that includes a technical conference, exhibition, and practical workshops. It offers technical seminars, master classes, and valve courses. Participants can access end-user forums focusing on valves and actuation.

The conference and expo, powered by Valve World and Valve World India, is a mega event. It focuses on all related technologies in flow control systems. Local and international suppliers and end-users embraced this opportunity. Many used it to expand their business networks and technical knowledge.

The conference ran from October 3-4, 2019, in Mumbai, India. I am the Business Development Manager for AS-Schneider Middle East FZE. Thus, I was the moderator for the session on Fugitive Emissions. This session focused on three areas:

  • The norms in today’s Indian industry concerning fugitive emissions. It also focused on how these norms are evolving.
  • An EPC perspective on fugitive emissions.
  • How fugitive emissions regulations focus on sealing criteria.

This year’s conference was only the second run in India. It proved to be the best platform for Valve companies, end-users, and the EPC. Process licensors, contractors, and students also benefited. I admire the thought, bringing together the technical conference, exhibition, and workshops. It is unlike other events, which are usually either a conference or exhibition only.

This platform guarantees a productive outcome for learning and networking. It also enabled discussion of challenges to find a solution. I am thankful to Valve World, Valve World India, Mrs. Kay Creedon, and Mrs. Joanne McIntyre for allowing me to be a moderator for the Fugitive Emissions session. I am grateful, especially for the topic, Fugitive Emissions. All the valve companies, including us, work towards the same goal. We all want to ensure reduced Fugitive emissions in the plant in India.

identified several goals. These goals call for the use of special technology and approaches, seventy-five percent of which are already deployed and working. AS-Schneider’s VariAS-Block Series valves are one such innovation.

What is Fugitive Emission?

The United States, the European Union, and some other countries track fugitive emissions for specific industries. Fugitive emissions are accidental emissions of vapors or gasses from pressurized equipment. They escape because of leaks or other irregular releases from industrial activities.

These can be broadly classified as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) or Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP).

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines FE’s as unintentional emissions from actions or facilities that “could not reasonably pass through a stack, chimney, vent, or other functionally equivalent opening.” The following are examples of fugitive emissions and their sources.

  • Fine particles
  • Dust
  • Quarries
  • Aerosols
  • Storage piles
  • Leaky pumps, valves, flanges, or compressors

These emissions come with several hazards and risks. Leaks from pressurized equipment occur through valves. They also pass through mechanical seals, pipe connections, and other related equipment.

Why do Fugitive Emissions test for valves?

Ordinary wear and tear on industrial equipment can cause breaks and leakage. Petrochemical plants fill their pipelines with volatile liquids and gases. We can say the same about other components such as pumps, flanges, and pressure relief valves. Thus, fugitive emissions of volatile organic compounds are possible.

Fugitive emissions contribute to climate change and air pollution, and they also constitute a cost, that of lost commodities. AS-Schneider can carry out leak detection on your valves. We use fugitive emission tests according to ISO 15848-1 and 2, Shell SPE 77/300 and 312, API 622, TA-Luft, and much more. With detection, you can minimize and control leaks at your process facilities. We have trained and qualified test engineers. We also take into account the potential hazards of fugitive emission testing procedures. Your plant may have tens of thousands of potential leak sources. Such a situation would make it challenging to manage leak detection. At AS-Schneider, we have a leak detection and repair manager who can undertake this important project for you.

In the typical facility, 62 percent of fugitive emissions come from faulty valves. Consent decrees are now driving customers to request a five-year packing replacement guarantee. They are also looking for FE compliant certificates. Non-compliance to the consent decree FE leakage levels can result in fines. It can also cause unplanned shutdowns for the customers. Thus, many customers are implementing leak detection and repair programs. This trend is driving valve vendors to provide FE compliant certificates even for replacement packings. The trend has also led to more customer specifications for valves. Vendors now have to issue FE certifications for valves at full pressure-temperature ratings. Valve makers who do not meet low emission requirements might lose market share.

These emissions can cost you. For example, you can lose some of your product as it leaks into the atmosphere. In your workplace, they can be a health and safety hazard for your employees. They are also a hazard to nearby communities. Pollution can create environmental hazards and accidental greenhouse gas emissions. If you’re dealing with flammable liquids and gases, there could be a risk of fire and explosion. That’s why it’s so important to fix all leaks.

What is Low Emission valve?

We have seen the high percentage of FEs attributed to valves. Thus, it’s easy to see why the EPA focuses on the reduction of valve emissions. In the old days, engineers determined valve leakage by doing a visual inspection. Nowadays, government policies are in place for the specific measurement of valve leakage. Engineers now measure such leakage to the molecular level in parts per million. We have to become acquainted with terms such as “certified low-leaking valves.” Another new term is “certified low-leaking valve packing technology.” The EPA has outlined these and more in consent decrees.

Leaky valves are not the only source of FE’s. Adjustments to other components can also make a difference. Fifteen percent of fugitive emissions come from pumps and flanges, for example. You can tighten your pipe flanges as an easy way to make smaller reductions. Fugitive emissions are significant and are an increasing concern. These strategies aim to reduce the potential for leaks. Where leaks do occur, engineers can use these tips to spot and correct them as fast as possible.

(Image Source: AS-Schneider)