Many companies operating in a range of industrial sectors need VOC emissions monitoring to demonstrate compliance with environmental legislation. VOC monitoring can however, also provide many other significant benefits, including safer working conditions for operators and cost savings from the reduction of raw material during a process.
Companies that use solvents should consider the benefits of implementing a VOC emissions monitoring programme. There are a wide range of VOC monitoring techniques and analytical methods available, making it difficult to choose the most appropriate technique(s). This article aims to help you understand Volatile Organic Compounds, the legislation involved and the different types of monitoring available for your business. VOC monitoring doesn’t have to be expensive and the benefits more often than not far outweigh cost.
The Benefits of VOC Emissions Monitoring
There are many reasons why companies monitor their VOC emissions. The main one being, to provide information required by a regulator, under an Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR) permit. However, VOC monitoring can also help you:
+ Quantify abatement plant efficiency
+ Identify solvent losses and reduce costs
+ Identify and reduce solvent consumption
+ Optimise process flows through the plant
+ Avoid the need to install expensive abatement plant
+ Demonstrate continual improvement in environmental performance
+ Fulfil health and safety requirements whilst also improving working conditions
+ Identify opportunities to reduce solvent costs and VOC emissions as part of a solvent management programme
A gravure printing facility operates Solvent Recovery equipment as part of its process. Solvent laden air from the presses is exhausted to banks of activated carbon that absorb the volatile content of the gas. The activated carbon is periodically desorbed and the solvent recovered is re-used as part of the printing process.
The solvent recovery systems usually operated in closed-loop mode. In this scenario, the cleaned exhaust gas was routed back to the press hall via a cooling stage and re-used in the printing process.
The operator also had the option to run the system in open-loop, whereby the cleaned air is emitted to atmosphere rather than re-used in the process. By operating in open-loop mode, a continuous emission to atmosphere is created and the operator was able to make considerable cost savings through not having to cool down the exhaust gas prior to its re-use in the process.
The company employed Envirocare to monitor the VOC emissions under both scenarios and offer consultancy advice. VOC monitoring was carried out using a flame ionisation dectector (FID) with heated lines.
Envirocare were able to show that the emissions concentrations under open-loop running did not exceeds the limit in the operator’s EPR Permit and were able to calculate appropriate length of time that open-loop could be run so as not to create a significant mass emission release of VOC.
Like many other companies, they were also concerned about their overall environmental performance, and the gathered monitoring data allowed them to demonstrate the company’s major achievement in reducing VOC emissions from the site year on year, despite an increase in production volume.
Overall results showed that simple engineering modifications were all that was necessary to reduce the VOC emissions further, rather than a more expensive end-of-pipe solution. The change in scenario has resulted in lower VOC emissions and reduced raw material waste.
The associated annual cost savings to the company were great and the implementation of an annual monitoring programme brought about further substantial savings that far exceeded the cost of monitoring.
Experts in VOC Emissions Monitoring
Envirocare has over twenty years of VOC monitoring experience. During this vast amount of time our consultants have worked in a wide range of industry sectors and for clients of varied size and scope.
The extensive expert knowledge and experience that has been accumulated along the way ensures that Envirocare can offer your business the best possible VOC emissions testing service available, offering UKAS and MCERTS accreditation for every Environmental Agency ‘Standard Reference Method’ and many more besides.
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