Fugitive Emissions and "Apollo" Flow Controls Solutions

By Kyle Spangler - Industrial Products Manager
November 14, 2017

Valve Emission Contributions

Fugitive emissions refer to leaks in process equipment that escape into the atmosphere unintentionally. Recent studies have shown that industrial process valves account for a large portion of an industrial plant’s overall emissions and “Apollo” Flow Controls has been working to meet the evolving demands of emissions standards. Many industrial facilities are now being required to establish Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) programs and can be subject to heavy fines if they are found to have unacceptable levels of fugitive emissions. In order to help its customers stay compliant, avoid fines, and save money by conserving valuable process fluids, “Apollo” Flow Controls’ has developed two different stem packing systems designed to minimize fugitive emissions over a valves’ lifespan.

EPA Method 21

The adoption of fugitive emissions requirements has been characterized by several different global standards. Comparison between the different standards can often be technically challenging since they use a variety of testing methods, test fluids and may require different detection levels. The most commonly used method for fugitive emissions leakage testing in North America is EPA Method 21. EPA Method 21 requires that valves exhibit no more than 100 ppmv stem seal leakage of methane and this test is performed using a portable “sniffing” device. When shipped from the factory, all “Apollo” industrial ball valves and butterfly valves meet this leakage requirement.

API Standards & Apollo’s Solutions

In addition to the EPA’s requirements, there are also standards set by the American Petroleum Institute (API) for levels of fugitive emissions. API 622 is a standard for testing graphite packing systems and “Apollo” Flow Controls’ has developed its “-EF” graphite packing system to meet the requirements of this standard. API 641 is a standard that specifies the requirements and acceptance criteria for quarter-turn valves. It requires valves to undergo 610 mechanical cycles and 3 thermal cycles and exhibit less than 100 ppmv during the entire duration of the testing. The intent of this test is to show that the valve design will have minimal fugitive emissions after extensive operation. “Apollo” Flow Controls offers several flanged and top entry valves with “-EF” graphite packing that meets API 641. If graphite is not an acceptable packing material, “Apollo” Flow Controls also offers its “-ZPx” packing systems. These systems utilize the robust Chevron packing and are backed up with a secondary o-ring made of Viton, Buna or Kalrez. This system is designed to keep fugitive emissions below 100 ppmv methane for extended periods of operation.

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