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Blog post published Jul 18, 2013 Blog: Go with the flow

Fugitive emission certified valves enhance process plants’ safety

Today’s guest blogger Tarmo Laitinen is discussing the growing challenges of emission control, what kind of standard compliance is required and how does a valve supplier answer to these demands:

Oil and gas processing facilities are facing growing challenges to meet environmental, health and safety requirements nowadays set by authorities. Especially requirements for the process valves’ fugitive emission capabilities have enormously grown during the last two decades.

History

First air pollution related laws were set because of faced health issues on 19th century. The limitations have started to concern more fugitive emission sources meaning industrial valves as well. It has been shown in many studies that the valves are a major source of fugitive emissions from an industrial plant. All process valve related FE standards aim for the same purpose: to comply the applicable local fugitive emission legislation and to reduce fugitive emissions from the valves to prevent environmental damages.

Fugitive emission standards

It requires expertise to understand the different requirements of the FE standards. Direct comparison of different fugitive emission standards is not that straightforward. The fugitive emission standards can be estimated as a more or less strict standard for the valves based on the analysis of FE standards and extensive laboratory based research knowledge. That information can be transferred to a valuable end user benefit.

There are several common valve related fugitive emission standards like normative standards (e.g API624, FCI-91-1), international standards (e.g ISO 15848), end user specs (e.g Shell SPE 77/312) or some of them are set by a country’s legislation like (e.g EPA 40 Parts 60/63, TA-Luft).

The common leakage standards can be summarized so that out of the current valve related fugitive emission standards ISO 15848 offers the most comprehensive leakage level classification and testing procedures to evaluate valves’ FE performance in different, simulated operating conditions. That allows an easy comparison of valves’ fugitive emission performance.

Fugitive emission valve solutions and benefits for the end users

Markets have begun to favor ISO 15848 emission standard during the past five years. Metso’s emission performance strategy has been to develop FE in-house capability. It is shown by numerous, highly regarded 3rd party certifications done at Metso’s flow laboratory.

Valves with low fugitive emission level benefit end users in many ways. First of all, valves which have very low fugitive emission level helps end users to fulfill current environmental legislation rules which are mandatory. Secondly, there are other cost savings that can be achieved by minimizing the fugitive emissions. The lost flow medium equals lost raw material, smaller yield of the end product and lost energy as the pumps/compressors must do extra work to compensate the leakage. Health and safety issues will be minimized also by reducing fugitive emissions. A leaking packing can represent an enormous safety issue in a process plant. For example a hydrogen leak will auto ignite and cause hardly detectable flames. Such a flame will burn surroundings and compromise personnel’s and plant’s safety.

I would like to emphasize for the end users that by requiring the most comprehensive valve emission testing standard at the moment from the valve suppliers, which ISO15848-1 can be regarded, provides significant Health, Safety and Environmental benefits for process plants.



Tarmo Laitinen works as a Technical product manager of Neles metal seated ball valves for Neles & Mapag product line. Tarmo has been working over eight years in various tasks including R&D, engineering and marketing at Metso Automation Inc.. He holds a degree (M.Sc.) in Product Development from Aalto University of Technology and almost two minors from Aalto University of Economics. He can be reached at tarmo.laitinen@metso.com



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