Benefits of Detecting Fugitive Emissions in Chemical Manufacturing

Benefits of Detecting Fugitive Emissions in Chemical Manufacturing


With little control over market volatility, it's vital for chemical manufacturers to maintain rapid market responsiveness and optimal operational productivity. Keeping close control over internal costs and processes in this challenging field requires dynamic planning and split-second solutions to leaks, equipment maintenance, and malfunctions, and other risks to productivity. Because leaks are a pervasive risk in chemical manufacturing, in this article we're exploring the benefits of detecting hazardous leaks, also known as fugitive emissions.

Fugitive emissions are usually defined as emissions of gases or vapors from pressurized equipment caused by leaks and other unintended or irregular releases of gases, mostly from industrial activities. The fugitive emissions of process materials represent an expensive loss of both commodities and revenue, as well as fire, explosion, and air pollution hazards to the environment. Increasingly, beneficial sensing technologies are improving the monitoring and status reporting on pumps, valves, vents, tanks, pipes, and other connection points where leaks may occur.

How Remote Sensors on Pumps & Connection Points Detect Leaks

Tech-based advances are significantly improving leak detection and repair activities. Wireless remote sensors installed in strategic locations like pumps or connection points can sense and report a wide range of customizable variables, such as different gases, pressures, humidity, temperatures, and wind flow.

By utilizing real-time data delivered via tech-based 'eyes' and 'ears' from remote sensors, chemical manufacturing plants are ultimately improving operational performance, regulatory compliance, and employee safety.

How to Utilize Data from Remote Sensors to Mitigate Carbon Emissions

Aegex Technologies, partnering with some of the world's foremost tech providers, offers complete end-to-end Zone 1 solution – from the worst-case scenario of a chemical plant leak and collapse to the simple detection of fugitive carbon emissions. For example, Aegex intrinsically safe NexVu IoT sensors are certified for use in Zone 1 environments and offer a customizable cloud-based/on-premises/hybrid multi-data sensor solution for detecting and mitigating fugitive carbon emissions.

With real-time monitoring data delivered from up to 40+ different sensor nodes via Microsoft Azure, the Aegex Internet of Things (IoT) platform provides real-time predictive analytics. This enables strict regulatory compliance to carbon emission mitigation as well as economically efficient process control and optimal operations productivity.

The Economic Cost of Lost Commodities

Fugitive emissions of process materials represent a loss of valuable commodities and an operations efficiency reduction. The economic cost of these fugitive emissions potentially represents serious financial loss and also negative impacts on the environment and employee health and safety. Left undetected, these impacts could accumulate, potentially instigating financial disaster.

How Fugitive Emissions Contribute to Air Pollution
Undetected fugitive emissions pose potentially dangerous risks of fire, explosion, and pollution. Once airborne, they can potentially threaten the health and safety of employees, surrounding communities, domestic animals, wildlife, and the natural environment.

Fugitive emissions seemingly play a minor role in global climate change. But, as reported in Chemical Engineering, U.S. fugitive emissions are estimated at over 300,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr), representing approximately one-third of total organic emissions from chemical plants. From industrial applications worldwide, the authors estimate fugitive emissions are over one million m.t./yr.

Detecting Fugitive Emissions is Just One of Many Benefits

Detecting fugitive emissions is only one of many benefits that real-time access to IoT-based sensor data and predictive analytics provide to chemical manufacturing. Other benefits include avoiding financial loss through lost commodities, expenses due to unplanned downtime, extended downtime for planned maintenance, and potential litigation over regulatory compliance, or the health and safety of employees.

Having tech-based 'eyes' and 'ears' overseeing your company's bottom line may also benefit your company's reputation, giving you a leading edge against competition and market volatility.