Combustion Gas Measurement and Monitoring Standards

A person searching on the subject of gas-fired heaters came upon one of the many posts here on this blog. He wanted to know:

Is there any International standard or code compliance to measure or monitor the gases (like type of gas and range, etc.) in the gas fired heaters? (Other than optimizing the combustion)

Emerson’s Doug Simmers, whom you may recall from earlier gas analyzer-related posts, noted:

Most gas measurements for non-combustion purposes involve reporting emissions of polluting gases such as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), and soon to be carbon dioxide (CO2). My experience is that the requirements are set locally, country by country. In the United States, we have variability from state to state, and even city to city.

Patrick Truesdale, a member of Emerson’s Industry Solution Group specializing in greenhouse gas (GHG) regulatory practices and found in many GHG-related posts, offered:

It would be best if you could identify the particular application and region to give you a more correct answer.

In the USA, there are a lot of regulations-I will summarize three:

  1. Acid Rain deals basically with SOX, NOX, particulate, CO, and ozone. For the most part these involve stack gas measurements using continuous emission monitoring systems (CEMS) plus Annubar for flow. Some combustion devices may only deal with alternative inferential analysis using O2 or the fuel higher heating value (HHV), carbon content (CC), etc.
  2. GHG regulations are something recently enacted by the U.S. Congress for all 50 states. It is along the line of what is already in places for Europe and California but is very specific in terms of analysis that must be made-mostly ASTM-based. It covers CO2, methane (CH4), N2O and a host of fluorocarbon gases. The type of measurement is very industry process specific, and it runs from combustion units to process emission, even fugitive emissions from compressors, valves, pneumatic controllers that use CH4. This regulation applies throughout the USA; however, it is possible in the future that a state may implement a more restrictive requirement from a permitting point of view-the measurement will remain the same.
  3. There is an up and coming ozone reduction, which will be regulated, via states and regions.

Outside the USA, the regulations tend to depend on ASTM or European norms. There is a key point in all of these regulations. The regulatory agency CANNOT impose a standard, which has a consensus industry standard in place. This is by law. So staying with ASTM/European norms is usually best practice.

Now comes the real challenge in developing countries-there is a mechanism under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change for developed countries to invest in environmental projects (which are pre-approved) in selected developing countries-referred o as Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The investment allows for abatement trading credits in another country that has an emission restriction-referred to as Certified Emission Reduction (CER). Normally what happens here is the country of the investor specifies the standards BECAUSE there is now a financial instrument (a custody document) that must be produced which is verifiable and auditable.

Thanks Doug and Patrick for sharing your thoughts on this question.

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