Sealing and containment devices are an integral part of efforts to minimize emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Plants, refineries and other facilities have an increased incentive to ensure that valves and other rotating equipment operate to emissions-compliant levels. With more regulations on the horizon, we wanted to gain a broader perspective by speaking to two leading experts on the subject.
Sealing and Containment Devices That Can Reduce Emissions
A primary motivation for industrial facilities to reduce emissions is government regulation led by the Environmental Protection Agency and similar agencies at state and local levels. “Sealing development plays an important role in emissions in methane, oil, and gas – which is my focus area,” says Sean Wright, Senior Manager at the Environmental Defense Fund Plus Business Program. He discussed the example of how compressors often come up in this area and the importance of both having the correct seal and maintaining it.
“Even a 1% to 2% loss can be significant, especially with methane,” says Wright. “It’s 86 times more potent than CO2 for its first 20 years of release into the environment. It also has a negative impact on climate change and can damage the reputation of natural gas as a cleaner source of energy. It’s a classic win-win to use sealing devices. The plant gets to keep their product, it doesn’t go on to damage the environment, helps the plant run effectively, and provides well-paying American jobs to those who make the seals. If they don’t use these products, especially with methane, they aren’t serving their own best interest. They lose product. There have been issues with more and more regulations on methane since 2014, notably in Colorado, California, Wyoming, and even Canada.”