What are Fugitive Emissions and how do you reduce them?
Fugitive emissions are emissions of gases or vapours from pressurised equipment due to leaks and other unintended or irregular releases of gases (usually a Hydrocarbon), mostly from industrial activities. As well as the economic cost of lost commodities, fugitive emissions contribute to air pollution and climate change.
Fugitive emissions present other risks and hazards. Emissions of volatile organic compounds such as benzene from oil refineries and chemical plants pose a long term health risk to workers and local communities. In situations where large amounts of flammable liquids and gases are contained under pressure, leaks also increase the risk of fire and explosion. Leaks from pressurised process equipment generally occur through valves, pipe connections, mechanical seals, or related equipment.
Hydrocarbon releases are highly flammable and could cause a major accident if ignited. Therefore the requirement for materials with high temperature and fire-safe capabilities is important. High temperature gaskets or sheet materials used in these applications should be fire-safe to API standard 6FB (third edition), and be able to withstand a wide temperature range – cryogenic to 1000°C and corrosive environments.
Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR)
To minimise and control leaks at process facilities, operators carry out regular Leak Detection and Repair activities (LDAR). An LDAR program is designed to monitor, control and audit an entire facility's emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), and achieve compliance with European environmental regulations in pollution emission and clear air. In the US, LDAR regulations affect almost all US industry processes where VOC’s are used or manufactured.
Training programmes are available to support engineers working in flange assembly, pipeline integrity and hazardous area operations. These programmes increase competencies in pipeline integrity, and are a critical factor in achieving and maintaining leak-free performance.
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