New Flare System VOC Regulations & Reduction Control Options

The 21st Ethylene Producers Conference
2011 AIChE Spring Meeting
AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
March 13, 2011 - 8:00pm

As this abstract is written, there will be flare system emission testing in a controlled environment underway that will likely pave the way for new VOC control measures on all flare systems in the US. The TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) sponsored testing held in Q4 2010, will result in published flare test emission results and summary report to be issued in Q1 2011. New flare regulations shortly thereafter from the TCEQ will be announced, that will then roll over into new EPA US wide flare system VOC control regulations. Most every flare in the US will likely be affected by these new wide sweeping regulations. These, yet to be determined, final VOC regulations will likely target steam and air assist type flare systems across all of the US. Steam assist type flare systems for smokeless control are widely utilized in olefin processing plant facilities. The preliminary field testing done by the TCEQ indicated that air & steam assist type flare systems, without proper design and control, can potentially over air or over steam a flare to the point of producing significant VOC emissions, well beyond the permitted rates likely for that facility. Remote infrared hand held cameras, now readily available in the market, can detect flare VOC emissions from outside the plant property fence line, and thus flare VOC emissions can now be easily detected. This paper will present retrofit and new flare system design control options for VOC reduction, such that the flare system owner can best determine their method for control in order to meet these forthcoming regulations.
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