Feedback from the International Conference and Exhibition on Emissions Monitoring (CEM) this year highlighted two perspectives on the necessity of automation for both current and future regulation and monitoring challenges: monitoring fugitive emissions and fine particulate matter.
Too many companies are still handling flare stacks manually, both for routine flaring operations and fugitive emissions management. Companies that automate flare measurement processes and feed this data into plant-wide continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS), can create a data network of each plant that gives a holistic view of emissions.
Conventional methods for detecting fugitive emissions are labour intensive, time consuming and costly. Manual procedures also put operators at risk of exposure to high concentration of hazardous chemicals as surveys must be performed close to the installations under test.
Regulatory cost across the energy and chemicals marketplace has doubled in the past 10 years. While this trend will likely continue, companies automating emissions monitoring across their whole operations are minimising the impact on their business.
The conference highlighted the need for additional international regulatory and calibration standards, both to qualify plant performance and to help determine emission limits from different sources. As new regulation in these areas comes to fruition, companies still relying on manual management processes will see additional rises is compliance costs.
The continued use of manual measurement processes for particulate monitoring is also a growing area of concern for operators in the European Union (EU). Regulatory developments, specifically the 20/20/20 target – to decrease GHG emissions by 20% and to increase renewable energy use to 20% by 2020 – will see the industry turning to biomass combustion systems. While this will help companies meet objectives under the 20/20/20 target, solid fuel burning appliances and boilers emit high levels of particulate matter.
Companies will need look carefully at compliance across the whole regulatory landscape to meet targets effectively. The EU Ambient Air Quality Directive 2008/50/EC places stringent requirements on maximum levels of particulate matter in ambient air, and while EU authorities have expressed the need for a harmonised standard, this has not yet been adopted.
Fluenta provides operators with tools for sensing, measurement and management using ultrasonic technology, by far the most accurate means by which to measure flow. The conference highlighted an increasingly broad and complex regulatory horizon and integrating this technology to automate flaring processes will become increasingly crucial in the coming years.
Companies that invest in automating measurement processes across their whole operations will be well prepared to meet the increased reporting costs and heightened accuracy requirements of the future.
This article first appeared on Automation.com – click here to view.