VOC emissions data may be invalid, warns Quantitech 07 September 2011

Plants that use certain flame ionisation detectors (FIDs) to achieve their MCERTS environmental certification may be using invalid data – and hence invalid emissions certificates.

That's the warning from Keith Golding, managing director of Quantitech, who is now urging stack testers and the managers of prescribed industrial processes to check the MCERTS certificates of their FIDs.

"The FID fuel gas for which the certificate is valid is now specified," explains Golding. "So process operators should ensure that if the certificate specifies a Hydrogen/Helium mix, for example, any compliance monitoring must use this mixture – or their results will be invalid."

Golding says users of the Sick Bernath 3006 FID need not be concerned because their MCERTS field tests were conducted with both fuel gas options – Hydrogen and the Hydrogen/Helium mix. However, Hydrogen is by far the more preferable option, he adds, because it is far cheaper.

H2/He gas is at least three times the cost of Hydrogen gas, but, he points out that some FID manufacturers are unable to achieve the MCERTS performance requirements using Hydrogen, so have to resort to the more expensive H2/He mix.

Operators' reluctance to use that higher-cost mix is understandable – even more so when high fuel gas flow rates (up to 180cc/min) are also required by some FIDs. Golding points out that this means a real gas cost up to 27 times greater than with H2 alone on more sophisticated FIDs – as well as health and safety issues around large gas bottles in the field.

"Typically the 3006 is able to operate for a full working week from one 1-litre bottle of Hydrogen, so the MCERTS approved ability of this instrument … is a major advantage to process operators and stack testers."

Brian Tinham

Related Companies
Quantitech Ltd
Sick UK Ltd

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