Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems
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What is a Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems?
Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems – or CEMS – is a method of monitoring the emissions from the equipment of industrial sites such as refineries, oil & gas plants, or other facilities. It is a solution for companies to meet complex regulations worldwide, including Swiss OAPC, US EPE part 60/75, EN17255, KSA RCER and PME, Alberta CEMS code, and Canadian 1/EPS/PG7.
Why is continuous emission monitoring so important?
Monitoring emissions is nowadays a hot topic through the energy transition. In response to the call for climate change activism among government regulations, the cost of CO2 emissions is going to increase, at least in the European Union, which is decreasing the number of free allowances and increasing the tax on CO2 emissions. The European Union is charged with reducing emissions by 55% by 2030. The main goal is to demonstrate environmental regulatory compliance with various industrial sources of air pollutants to avoid high penalties and fines.
There is a reason why there are government regulations about the limit of emissions. On the one hand, a high concentration of contaminants like CO2 has a negative impact on the air quality levels in the vicinity of the site. On the other hand, certain contaminants like methane and CO2 are particularly damaging to the plant. Collectively known as greenhouse gases (GHGs), these contaminants help to trap heat in the environment and contribute to global warming. That’s the reason why the emissions must reduce by 55% by 2030.
What are the major challenges with managing limits on emissions?
Air pollution is one of the biggest problems faced today. To meet the requirements and standards, it’s essential to measure the emissions. But how do you know what your smokestack is releasing into the atmosphere? That is a big challenge for many companies. Also, there are other challenges:
- – Ever-changing regulatory standards
- – Technology options
- – A significant percentage of Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems (CEMS) rely on obsolete or discontinued systems.
- – The EPA-mandated 95% availability means that systems can only be down 18 days per year.
- – Emission estimating and reporting
These regulations and challenges are often complex and hard to navigate, and companies that fail to meet them can face severe penalties and fines
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What types of pollutants are measured using Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems?
Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems are capable of monitoring the concentrations of a wide variety of different pollutants, depending on the site and regulations. Generally speaking, the main pollutants measured by CEMS include carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydrogen chloride (HCI), particulate matter (PM), volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), ozone (O3) and heavy metals such as mercury (Hg).
Mercury can be harmful to the environment and is toxic to humans. Exposure to even small doses can have serious health effects and exposure to large amounts can be fatal. The largest sources of mercury emissions are:
- – Mining industry
- – Coal combustion
- – Cement production
- – Waste incineration.
What are the maximum emissions limits in the European Union?
The maximum thresholds differ depending on the size of the facility in question and the specific pollutants being targeted. Here’s a breakdown of the maximum emissions limits for both medium combustion plants (MCPs) and large combustion plants (LCPs) in the European Union.
A medium combustion plant (MCP) is defined as one which has a thermal input equal to or greater than 1MW and less than 50MW. Examples of MCPs are the facilities mentioned above, as well as manufacturing plants and other industrial sites.
A large combustion plant (LCP) is defined as one which has a thermal input equal to or greater than 50 MW. This includes fossil fuel and biomass-powered power plants and oil refineries, among other applications.
*All values are mg/m3
What are the European Standards for Environmental Monitoring?
Currently, there is no global standard for measuring emissions. That is why countries have different standards when it comes to measuring, monitoring, and issuing reports. For Europe there are the following requirements:
- – On-going quality assurance procedures (QAL3) are performed according to the EN-14181 British standard
- – QAL3 uses standard deviation and calibration function parameters
- – CUSUM, Shewhart, and EWMA control charts can be used to evaluate Out-Of-Control Periods
- – Uncertainty values are used for Emission Limit Value tracking and validated average calculation
- – All values are reported as mg/Nm3 with 0 degrees reference
- – Average validation, partial hour, and availability calculations are based on various British and European Union standards
What are the North American Standards for Environmental Monitoring?
The European standard is described above, but another widely used standard is from the USA. For the USA there are the following requirements:
- – For calibration and out-of-control determination, systems can be configured to comply with US EPA 40 CFR Part 60, EPS/1/PG7, and Alberta CEMS code.
- – Calibration drift is reported as a percent of full scale or percent of Span value.
- – Calibration error is evaluated when the drift (or consecutive drifts) exceeds the specification by a set number of times.
- – Pollutant values are reported in ppm with 25 degrees (Canada) or 20 degrees (United States) reference.
- – Calibration bias factors can be used to adjust analyzer readings.
- – Uncertainty and confidence intervals are not used for hourly and daily average calculations.
Is a Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems right for my company?
To see if a CEMS application is suitable for your company, it is important to set up some goals. The most common reasons why companies are choosing a Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems:
- – Improve the environmental performance
- – Feels that the current approach to the environment is a liability
- – Have a lack of time and/or resources to effectively manage the ecological duties
- – Do not have a clear view between the environmental goals and business goals
- – Needs to comply with environmental laws and regulations
- – Do not want to exceed quotas and avoid penalties.
- – Support process control
- – Increase plant efficiency for extended life of the equipment
- – Increase productivity
- – Decrease operating and maintenance costs of the plant/refinery.
For what industries are CEMS suitable:
- – Power generation
- – Waste incineration
- – Oil & Gas
- – Chemicals and petrochemicals
- – Renewable Energy
- – Pulp and paper
- – Metals and minerals
- – Landfills and biogas
- – Marine
- – Cement production.
What are the benefits of a Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems?
Installation of a Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems has numerous benefits.
Time is money in everything you do. An adequately utilized CEMS can reduce the time spent monitoring the emissions levels so that operators/technicians can concentrate on other tasks. It is possible that the current emissions monitoring system could use an update as CEMS technology improves regularly. Consider examining the current system to see if it needs an upgrade.
Today’s Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems monitors itself, and it detects its operational issues through built-in tracking and calibration and reports those findings to its operator/technician. This is another function in favor of cost controls, as the operator/technician spends less time monitoring the system for failures.
A Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems transmits its information over the TCP/IP network on both digital and analog channels, removing another step from your procedures and thus again saving both time and money.
Thanks to the recent attention to climate concerns, emission standards are constantly updated. No one likes to spend a lot of time reading new regulatory statements to ensure the company complies with the recent emission standards. Today’s CEMS can be updated automatically to register the latest emissions standards and determine where the company might fail to meet those standards.
Automated attention to detail, that would otherwise need to be checked by someone. Is a benefit that reduces workload and ensures that the company meets regulatory demands.
Connections and communication
Any complications arising from communicating your emissions reports are eliminated with a properly performing CEMS. It eliminates confusion, reduces communication, and provides clear information so that any contact with regulatory agencies is smooth and, most importantly, swift.
CEMS software features (AML-CEMS)
Hint’s Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems software, AML-CEMS, will read data from the database, process and validate measured values, calculate corrected gas concentrations, compute required averages, and provide data visualization, and reporting capabilities. It is used to meet regulatory compliance requirements such as EPS 1/PG/7, US EPA Part 60 & Part 75, MCERTS, and various local permit specifications. The following is an overview of the features:
- – All data processing capabilities
- – Additional reports
- – Operating time and data availability
- – Standardization to normal conditions
- – Mass rate calculations and reporting
- – Alarm acknowledgments
- – Alarm reasons and actions
- – Support for parameters values
- – Support for bias value and uncertainty parameters
- – Security and multi-level user access control
- – System audit log capabilities
- – Solenoid control capabilities
- – Data backfilling and missing data substitution
- – Full system backup and restore
- – Multi-source and multi-facility support
- – Scheduling for automatic report and control tasks
- – Support for multiple database engines.
Monitoring emissions is a key first step in reducing the environmental footprint. Emissions tell a story about what’s going on in the process and the implications on the whole system. With the right data, companies adjust their process to minimize emissions and increase efficiency. Very small changes can have a big impact – both on the planet and for the company.
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