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Environmental Controls in Flue Gas Releases, Flaring & GHG Emissions

To comply with environmental legislation, refiners are reducing pollution by scrubbing SOX and NOX from flue gas, installing tailgas units to sulfur plants, decreasing NOX production in fired heaters and steam boilers, eliminating fugitive hydrocarbon emissions (leaks), and in the future minimizing CO2 production (or reducing carbon footprint) which can be accomplished by increasing energy efficiency.

Flue gas from industrial sources is known to contain a large amount of compounds (i.e., CO, NOX, SOX, PM) that are considered harmful to the environment. Government agencies have set standards to control the amount of these compounds that are released to the atmosphere. The US, European Union, and Japan have imposed increasingly stringent limits on the amount of these pollutants that are permitted to be discharged from stationary sources. As a result, refiners in these regions must now install pollution control technology to ensure that they are in compliance with these tougher standards or risk being fined for non-compliance. In refineries, the main sources of stationary emissions are process furnaces, steam boilers, flares, sulfur recovery units, storage and handling facilities, and oil/water separation systems.

How it will benefit you

This study will address three urgent refinery emissions issues related to flue gas, flaring, and GHG production by assessing the latest technology know-how and operational practices to help refiners plan ahead of the commitment to decarbonization.

As of 3Q 2020, there are 13 members in the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI): BP, Chevron, China National Petroleum Corp., Eni, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum, Petrobras, Repsol, Royal Dutch Shell, Saudi Aramco, and Total as well as the World Economic Forum. Each member company will implement a range of solutions to meet this goal, including boosting energy efficiency, minimizing flaring, and reducing methane emissions, to fulfill its Scope 1 (or internal) emission reduction target. OGCI has also agreed to a common methodology to calculate carbon intensity from their upstream oil and gas operations and eventually deploy this methodology to calculate and mitigate carbon intensity in refining operations.

What does it include

The current study, completed in 4Q2017, begins by surveying stationary emissions regulations for refineries from countries around the world.

In addition to a comprehensive list of state-of-the-art technologies, recent innovations feature the latest trends and technology offerings, including: Alzeta (CSB ultra-low NOX burners); ClearSign Combustion Corp (Duplex distal flam architecture for NOX control from burners); DuPont Clean Technologies (LoTOX (low-temperature oxidation) NOX control technology); GE Power & Water (Dry Low NOX (DLN) combustion systems); Honeywell UOP (Callidus Ultra-Blue (CUBL) burners); John Zink Hamworthy, CANSOLV CO2 Capture System, and CANSOLV SO2/CO2 Integrated Capture System).

Clean burn flaring systems have become a necessity for refining and petrochemical plants as governments look to reduce the amount of conventional flaring of hydrocarbon gases to the atmosphere. Technologies from Baker Hughes, John Zink Hamworthy Combustion, and NAO can "drastically" lower VOC emissions to the atmosphere to levels that are well below currently legislated standards as

The study also includes extensive discussions of plant operations and practices that identify valuable operating experiences and daily trouble-shooting techniques shared by veteran refining professionals around the world. For instance, ways of setting maximum flare system design temperatures are recommended.

As technologies continue to develop in emission reduction, a discussion of the latest patent applications and research papers regarding environmental controls technology including flue gas scrubbing; selective catalytic reduction; selective non-catalytic reduction; FCC hardware and catalyst and additive innovations for controlling CO, NOX, PM, and SOX emissions; sulfur plant; and more.

Publication details

Publication frequency

Single publication

Publication format

Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) file


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