Increasing awareness of greenhouse gases and their impact on the global environment is resulting in regulations that dictate strict monitoring of flare stack sulfur dioxide (SO2)emissions. In February 2008, California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) mandated SO2 emissions must be less than 0.5 tons per million barrels of crude oil produced by 2012.
Once set forth in California, environmental regulations of this nature tend to be adopted over time by other states. A case in point is the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Rule 40 CFR Part 52 for Billings/Laurel, Montana.
Issued in April 2008 to assure attainment of SO2 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), this ruling cites both the SCAQMD and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) as references for establishing standards regarding equipment performance, analytical methods and accuracy requirements. This ruling is an indication that tough flare stack emission regulations are likely to become the norm for the continental United States.
SO2 flare emissions in Southern California are now covered by SCAQMD rule 1118, “Control of Emissions from Refinery Flares” that mandates continuous monitoring of these emissions. Section 3-I-ii of this rule specifically calls for the use of a total sulfur analyzer for continuous monitoring and subsequent recording of flare stack emissions. The Thermo Scientific SOLA II Flare is a total sulfur analysis system and is the only method tested by the SCAQMD for the purpose of monitoring and recording SO2 emissions. This continuous, online system has proven itself in rigorous field operations and is now enabling refiners to moreeasily comply with these tough regulations.