Do end-users really care about fugitive emission, or do they only want cheaper valves?
The Correlation between Cheaper Valves and Fugitive Emissions
Fugitive emissions have become a huge concern of both the regulators and the industries. It is highly believed that some types of cheaper valves are responsible in increasing the dangerous methane emissions to the air.
It becomes a dilemma for industries because using more expensive and reliable valves or monoflange significantly increase their production cost. But in the same time, if they don’t comply with the regulations, it is possible that they can no longer stay in business. To understand the correlation between cheaper valves and fugitive emissions, let’s see the explanations below.
Valve and Fugitive Emission
Fugitive emissions release dangerous methane gas that can be huge threats for people and environment. The gases are released to the air during industrial activities due to some faults in the valves. Among all types of valves, linear valves (globe and gate valves) are the primary causes of most valve leaking cases. This is because those valves are constantly rising and rotating, contrary to ball or control valves that are easier to seal because they are static.
So, if linear valves pose big threats for the environments, why are those valves still widely used by industries? The answer is because globe and gate valves are more cost-efficient, especially for on-off operations. As a result, end-users cannot leave them behind despite of their role in releasing fugitive emissions.
Controlling Fugitive Emissions in Linear Valve
Linear valves are cheap, but they are clearly not the best for emissions control. However, it doesn’t mean that gates and globes valves should be banned completely because in some aspects, these valves are irreplaceable. The best thing to do right now is to prevent those valves from leaking during the operations.
Firstly, end-users must ensure the quality and durability of the valves or monoflange they purchase. It is very important to check the credibility of the manufacturer and purchase such important components from reputable manufacturers.
Furthermore, manufacturers also have to step up their testing game and publish credible data regarding the testing result. In the US, valve testing is conducted with methane gas while helium is used in the other countries. Even though methane gas testing is more dangerous, US manufacturers don’t have any choice because EPA doesn’t recognize the testing results if it is not performed with methane.
In addition, industries should not only pay attention to the quality of the linear valves, but also to the stuffing box. This is because poor quality stuffing box also will increase the risk of gas leakage during industry operations.
It is very hard to conclude whether end-users really care about fugitive emission or they only care about cheap valves. But at this era, it is impossible to run chemical plants, oil refineries and other similar industries without paying attention to fugitive emission.
So, besides considering the price of the valves, end-users also have to make sure that the valves, and also other components, are low-E compliant. It is very important because the cost of failure in meeting the low emission requirement will be much higher than the price of the valves.
Article kindly provided by Kp-Lok