Monitoring & metering

combustion emissions Stricter monitoring requirements for

The new monitoring requirements being imposed on Medium Combustion Plants (MCPs) and Large Combustion Plants (LCPs) in Europe is symptomatic of environmental initiatives affecting a wide variety of industries. In the following article, Dr Andrew Dixon from Gasmet Technologies UK explains how instrumentation manufacturers are responding to these new challenges


he combustion of fuel and waste produces a wide variety of pollutants and greenhouse gases, so regulators

around the world are increasingly imposing stricter emissions limits and monitoring requirements as part of initiatives to improve air quality and fight climate change. Generally, as emission limit values are being lowered, the number of parameters being monitored is increasing, and the requirement for continuous monitoring is growing. The growing number of parameters that

Gasmet’s CMM provides the lowest EN15267 certified range for measurements of mercury


have to be monitored means that operators have to employ multiparameter technologies such as FTIR, or purchase a number of analysers to meet the requirements. For this reason, Gasmet UK has developed an integrated systems capability, so that it is now able to design and build complete MCERTS approved monitoring systems, designed to meet plants’ individual requirements. However, one of the pollutants of major concern, mercury, necessitates a specific monitoring technology, and since the emissions limits are so low, it

is necessary for this technology to have performance certification at these levels. In Europe, member states have the opportunity

to set specific limits and monitoring requirements that fit within the framework established by the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED). So, individual states may set stricter limits, or individual plants may implement more rigorous monitoring and abatement technology in order to demonstrate good environmental performance. In most cases, this is undertaken: as part of a corporate responsibility strategy; in response to demands from stakeholders; or in anticipation of tighter future regulatory requirements. Mercury is considered by the World Health

Organisation to be one of the top ten chemicals of major public health concern, so there are global initiatives to lower the emissions of this toxic element in its various compounds – particularly from power plants, waste combustion and cement plants. In November 2015 the European Parliament

signed a new directive that imposes emission limits on MCPs. Under the directive, an MCP is any equipment that burns fuel, with very few exceptions, and where the rated thermal input is between 1MW and 50MW. Diesel or gas engine generators rated above 400kVA are also applicable, in addition to any appliance that uses fuel to generate heat or electricity. Boilers, generators and other mobile plants rated above 1MW thermal input are also included. By regulating emissions to air of SO2, NOx and

dust, the MCP directive aims to reduce air pollution and lower risks to human health and the environment. It has been estimated that the MCP directive will apply to over 30,000 plants in England and Wales. The controls will apply to

new plants from December 2018, and to existing plants from 2024 or 2029. New environmental standards for LCPs

strengthen the requirements of the IED for both reduction and monitoring requirements. The new specifications stem from a review of the Best Available Techniques (BAT) Reference Document for LCPs, the so-called LCP BREF. This includes new BAT-associated emission levels (BAT-AELs) and sets new monitoring requirements for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury, and particulate matter. The BAT conclusion was published in August 2017, and will come into effect with a four year transition period. The LCP BREF applies to combustion plants

with a total rated thermal input exceeding 50MW. However, it also applies to smaller units where they are directly related to a combustion plant. This includes the gasification of coal and other fuels, and the waste co-incineration plants for non- hazardous waste (> three tonnes/hour) or for hazardous waste (10 tonnes/day). Continuous monitoring is required: for ammonia

where NOx reduction by ammonia is employed; for mercury on plants ≥ 300MWth, when coal

and/or lignite is used, including waste co- incineration; and for hydrogen chloride when solid biomass and/or peat is used in LCPs or waste co- incineration plants. The BAT-AELs for mercury emissions to air

from coal and lignite burning power plants are extremely low. For example, a new coal-fired power plant with ≥ 300MWth has a BAT-AEL of <1-2μg/Nm3

mercury (yearly average), and an

existing lignite-fired power station with a thermal input under 300MW has a BAT-AEL of <1- 10μg/Nm3

mercury. November 2018 Instrumentation Monthly

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