Last week, Antea Group had the unique opportunity to perform a RATA (relative accuracy test audit) of the emissions from a thermal oxidizer at an ethanol production facility located in Minnesota using a state-of-the-art mobile testing laboratory.
During this RATA audit, actual stack emissions levels (including NOx, SOx, CO2, CO, O2, flow rate, temperature, velocity and pressure) from the thermal oxidizer (TO) are compared to those logged by a continuous emissions monitoring system (CEMS) permanently installed within the TO stack at the ethanol facility.
Under this facility’s Title V permit, a RATA test is required every three years. In addition, quarterly testing of the CEMS is performed using audit gases of known concentration stored on site. Antea Group personnel can also perform the quarterly CGAs (cylinder gas audits) using the calibration gases moving forward to monitor the status of the CEMS on the TO unit at the facility and between the RATA tests.
Antea Group currently has three mobile laboratories equipped to perform a variety of source testing services including RATA tests (two in Colorado and one in Texas). However, these trailers are mobile and ready to travel anywhere in the US.
What types of facilities operate sources that require emissions testing?
Oil & Gas Industry:
- Combustor/Vapor Recovery Unit Performance Efficiency tests
- Upstream and Midstream Oil & Natural Gas production or processing facilities (internal combustion engines, turbines and thermal oxidizers)
- Refineries – various sources
- Ethanol Plants – Thermal Oxidizers, boilers and bag houses
- Internal Combustion Engines used for power generation (natural gas/diesel)
- Incinerators, Boilers
- Emission sources associated with manufacturing processes
Others: Heat and power generation, manufacturing, production and processing (metals/non-metals), waste incinerators. If you are unsure, if there is a stack, then there are likely emissions testing or monitoring requirements required as part of the facility’s air permit.
The mobile laboratories are capable of performing tests for O2, CO, NOx, SOx, particulate matter, and VOCs using a variety of different analyzers including FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy). Failure to maintain compliance with facility air permit requirements can result in state or federal regulatory violations, fines and/or the disruption in operations resulting in financial impacts to the business.
In addition to our emissions testing solution, Antea Group personnel utilize FLIR (forward looking infrared camera) which is used for leak detection and repair (LDAR) programs. These cameras are becoming more widely used in O&G applications and are useful for finding fugitive emissions at oil and natural gas production and processing facilities as part of a larger LDAR program.
The EPA has determined that leaking equipment such as valves, pumps, and connectors are the largest source of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from petroleum and chemical manufacturing facilities and contribute to ground level ozone. An effective LDAR program will help reduce VOC emissions, reduce product losses and costs, increase safety for workers and operators, decrease exposure of the surrounding community, and help facilities avoid enforcement actions.