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Technical & Practical

June 1, 2010

Containing Fugitive Emissions

Practical ways to seal valve stems and prevent unwanted emissions

Jim Drago, Garlock Sealing Technologies

Containing fugitive emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) is a challenge to the chemical process industries (CPI). It has been estimated that these industries account for half of all fugitive emissions, and 60% of these emissions are the result of valve stem leaks. In addition to environmental benefits, effectively containing these emissions can yield significant operational and economic benefits and avoid punitive penalties for non-compliance with regulatory standards. If cap-and-trade or carbon-tax programs become law, then reducing emissions below mandated levels could yield carbon credits or reduced tax liabilities. Overall, emission reduction improves operating efficiency and creates a safer, more productive workplace.

This article describes how to effectively seal valve stems, including leak detection and repair (LDAR); various types of sealing solutions, their advantages and limitations; performance standards and testing; and proper installation.


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