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Last updateFri, 26 May 2017 2pm

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The Future of Coal: Efficiency Over Politics?

The Future of Coal: Efficiency Over Politics?

Many changes in the power industry have ...

Valve World Americas Event Set for June 20-21

Valve World Americas Event Set for June 20-21

End users, distributors, EPC/AEC personn...

Water Hammer

Water Hammer

Water hammer is a shock wave transmitted...

Turning the Tables on Valve Corrosion

Turning the Tables on Valve Corrosion

Multiple valve manufacturers and users w...

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Industry Headlines

Emerson Acquires MYNAH Technologies

4 DAYS AGO

Emerson has completed the purchase of MYNAH Technologies, a long-time Emerson alliance partner. The addition of MYNAH will help support Emerson Automation Solutions and its Operational Certainty program. Terms of  the acquisition were not disclosed.

MYNAH software is currently in use at more than ...

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Roger Fix Named Chairman of Flowserve

4 DAYS AGO

In its most recent annual meeting, Flowserve announced that Bill Rusnack and Lynn Elsenhans have retired as members of the board of directors. Flowserve also announced that board member Roger Fix has been elected to replace Rusnack as chairman.

"Bill and Lynn provided years of distinguished service to ...

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Oil-Fired Plants Provide Small Amount of U.S. Electric Capacity, Generation

3 DAYS AGO

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration , roughly 70% of petroleum-fired electric generating capacity that still exists today was constructed prior to 1980. Utility-scale generators that reported petroleum as their primary fuel comprised only 3% of total electric generating capacity at...

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ExxonMobil, SABIC Agree on Proposed Petrochemical Project

4 DAYS AGO

Affiliates of Exxon Mobil and SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation) signed an agreement to conduct a detailed study of the proposed Gulf Coast Growth Ventures project in Texas and begin planning for front-end engineering and design work. The agreement was signed during the Saudi-US CEO Forum in R...

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Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Survey Shows Expansion in May

2 DAYS AGO

Tenth District manufacturing activity continued to expand at a moderate pace in May, and expectations for future activity increased strongly. Price indexes were mixed, but recorded little change overall. The month-over-month composite index was 8 in May, up from 7 in April but down from 20 in March.

Ac...

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Business Borrowing for Capital Investment Up 8% in April

3 DAYS AGO

The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s (ELFA) Monthly Leasing and Finance Index, which reports economic activity from 25 companies representing a cross section of the $1 trillion equipment finance sector, showed their overall new business volume for April was $7.9 billion, up 8% year-ov...

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Controlling And Monitoring Control Valve Fugitive Emissions

vmsum12_fugitive_emissionsSince valves are the number one source of leakage, those faced with reducing fugitive emissions need to look at the most challenging type: control valves.

Process plant managers have a host of good reasons to minimize fugitive ­emissions from their facilities and reduce the amount of process fluid released into the atmosphere and surrounding environment. Those reasons include keeping employees and neighbors safe, lessening the facility’s environmental impact, complying with increasingly stringent air-quality regulations, optimizing the plant’s energy ­consumption and maximizing plant operating efficiency.

Industrial valves are a leading source of leakage from typical process plants. In fact, studies of refineries have shown that valves and relief valves account for about 75% of fugitive emissions.1

Because of this reality, monitoring, ­controlling and reducing valve leakage can make a significant impact on overall plant fugitive emissions. Of particular concern are control valves, which pose a greater challenge than other industrial valves because of their typical operating mode and potential leak paths. There are, however, techniques, technologies and strategies that plant owners and managers can implement to better manage fugitive emissions from the control valves in their facilities. This article highlights some of these options for typical control valve features, characteristics and options.


CONTROL VALVE LEAK PATHS

Standard control valve designs include a number of potential external leak paths. For example:

Globe-style Control Valves

vmsum12_fugitive_emissions_1Figure 1. Potential leak paths in globe-style control valvesFigure 1 shows a cross-section of a typical globe valve or linear operating valve, with the key potential leakage locations highlighted. The process fluid is contained within the valve body, which is a pressure vessel designed in compliance with standard ­pressure vessel codes, such as American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Deutsches Institut für Normung e.V. (DIN; in English, the German Institute for Standardization) or Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS).

There are several static joints or locations interfacing with the valve body where external leakage is possible, including the pipeline-flange connections and the valve-body-to-bonnet joint. Leakage at these joints is uncommon because of the static nature of these joints and the fact they are typically sealed with gaskets and then bolted together. Leakage is still possible, however, so these joints should be monitored.

The primary valve leak path is the stem-seal interface, which is typically sealed using packing installed within the valve bonnet. This is a dynamic interface, as the stem moves up and down through the packing box area during operation.

Control valves are typically applied in continuously throttling services to maintain a specific set point or operating range for different process variables, such as pressure, temperature and flow rate. As a result, the valve packing wears over time, allowing more leakage across this interface. In addition, thermal expansion and contraction caused by the process fluid and ambient temperature changes can further increase the leakage rate. Thus, the packing must be periodically tightened or fitted with some kind of mechanical compensation, such as “live loading” the packing with springs to maintain the seal integrity and control leakage to the atmosphere.

Another key contributor to packing wear in globe-style control valves—and, thus, another source of potential fugitive emissions—is the presence of foreign particles or debris in the surrounding atmosphere. Since the globe valve strokes in a linear motion, the valve stem moves up through the packing area as the valve opens and then moves back down into the packing area as the valve closes. As the valve cycles from open to close, a portion of the stem is exposed to the environment, creating an opportunity for particles to attach to the stem surface and potentially impact the packing wear rate and sealing capabilities. These particles also can increase the operating friction, which reduces the overall responsiveness and controllability of the valve.

Rotary-style Control Valves

vmsum12_fugitive_emissions_2Figure 2. Potential leak paths in rotary-style control valves Figure 2 shows a cross-section of a ­typical rotary-style or rotating-motion-design control valve. As with globe-style valves, the pipe-flange connections and the stem seal area are potential paths for process fluid to leak into the environment. However, many rotary-style ­control valves have an integrated body and bonnet, eliminating that location as a potential leak path.

A key advantage of rotary-style control valves in managing fugitive emissions is the rotating motion of the valve stem as the valve is opened and closed. The stem stays within the stem seal or packing area, minimizing the possibility of introducing foreign particles or debris into the sealing interfaces. As a result, these valves are typically more effective in reducing the possibility of fugitive emissions leakage, and normally deliver greater reliability and operating efficiency from this perspective.

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