We constantly discuss the importance of overcoming valve failure and the best ways to dramatically decrease it while extending the life of equipment. When it comes to fugitive emissions control in the maritime industry, few companies know the subject better than Chesterton and its distribution partner to the industry, W&O Supply. We had the opportunity to speak to these industry leaders and discuss how the EPA is regulating fugitive emissions in valves onboard barges up and down our inland waterways, as well as, what they are doing to prepare their customers.
Fugitive emissions in valves happen when there is an issue with the seal between the process fluid and the external requirement, such as in valve gland assemblies, relief valve seal systems, unburnt flare losses, and other situations. It is estimated that up to 60% of fugitive emissions are caused by an issue with the valves, followed by problems with flanged joints and pump seals.
The EPA has been regulating emissions in refineries and plants, sometimes with equipment and sometimes by measuring raw material going into the plant versus what comes out. The agency is now expanding to include checking for fugitive emissions on barges and other marine vessels. According to David Lamphier, Manager of Sealing Technologies at W & O, the EPA uses two methods to search for fugitive emissions:
- Through infrared ariel readings of vessels
- Boarding the vessels and using detection equipment that registers emissions parts per million (ppm)
With refineries being fined on a daily basis, a similar scenario is expected for vessels. Due to their innovative products and their solid reputation as one of the top OEMs in the industry, Chesterton partnered with W&O to take their product line to the maritime market. Chesterton has developed some impressive products such as:
- Chesterton 1622 Emissions Packing – It is designed to minimize fugitive emissions and even exceeds current emissions requirements. The packing is non-hardening flexible graphite packing that does not shrink or absorb moisture and works in new valves as well as those repacked in-line. It was independently tested and certified to an average 12 ppm to API 622.
- Chesterton 1724/324 Non-hardening PTFE – It contains a unique formulation and construction that will not harden or deteriorate in a wide range of services. It can withstand steam up to 500º F and severe chemicals or solvents, and the packing is guaranteed for the life of the valve.
In addition to advanced technology, Chesterton products were found to last longer than the competition. In one such case study, two identical barges were fitted, one with Chesterton parts and the other with a competitor’s parts. The competitor’s parts began to leak within two months, while the Chesterton parts lived up to their five-year guarantee (even when installed on used valves), which is ideal given that barges typically go into dry dock every 5 years.
The two companies worked together to offer a Pump & Valve School this past October. About 40 to 45 new and established customers attended as experts outlined regulations and how they could stay in compliance. They are planning to hold another similar event in Houston tentatively set for April 2015. This is in addition to attending trade shows, holding various training seminars, and joint calls to customers, the two are working hand-in-hand in order to provide solutions and to educate.
W&O has evolved to be a company that delivers engineered solutions from one that only provided pipe, valves and fittings. Now W&O can offer the latest technologies and service to meet customer’s pump and valve needs, and with every barge meeting, Lamphier works to bring his customers into compliance or even exceeding regulatory requirements. And of course, he wants to help them with the bottom line: avoiding any fines. Now that’s the way to take care of your customers!