Emerson Automation Experts - Connecting with the People behind the Technologies and Expertise - Emerson Automation Experts

Pressure Relief Valve Continuous Monitoring

Marcio Donnangelo and Marcelo Dultra presented on continuous pressure relief valve (PRV) and rupture disk (RD) monitoring for releases and leaks at the 4C Health, Safety & Environmental conference. Marcelo described a PRV. They are mechanical devices, disconnected from the control system that operate when a set pressure is exceeded. They should never operate in a normally running plant.

The traditional way to verify that a pressure relief valve is working is to do preventive maintenance on a periodic basis. Checking these is extremely labor intensive and these are typically installed in difficult to access spots such as the top of tanks. Accessing them may involve the use of cranes or scaffolding. Performing these maintenance practices often involve working in hazardous locations.

Marcelo cited a study with a U.S. refiner where 20% of the PRVs were leaking. Typical reasons for the leaks are that the PRV didn’t reseat properly after releasing. Or, debris may have gotten in the seat. Continue Reading

Refinery Flare Regulatory Compliance

Emerson's Jamie Marsden presenting on refinery flare regulatory reporting at the 2020 4C HSE conferenceAt the 2020 4C Health, Safety & Environment conference, Emerson’s Jamie Marsden presented, New Refinery Flare Regulations 40 CFR Part 63. The rule, 40 CFR 63 Subparts CC and UUU, affects any refinery with a flare used as a control device for an emission point, and those refineries must have been in compliance by January 30, 2019.

These regulations set flare operating limits, require a flare management plan (FMP), and require a continuous parameter monitoring system (CPMS) plan. The regulations also cover pilot flame monitoring, visible emissions and flare tip velocity—requirements previously found in earlier versions of the rule.

Jamie explained that the FMP rule specifically states: Continue Reading

Environmental Reporting Digital Transformation

Emerson's Meha Jha presenting at 2020 4C HSE conferenceMeha Jha described how environmental reporting is being digitally transformed at the 2020 4C HSE conference.

Typical flow measurements for compliance reporting need to be verified every year to every few years based on the local regulations. Traditionally this verification process has required process shutdown and pulling the meter for calibration.

Digital methods for verification have emerge. For Emerson flow measurement instruments including Coriolis and Magnetic flow meters, Smart Meter Verification (SMV) is the method to use while the meter remains in line with the process continuing to operation.

Meha described how Coriolis flow meters work. It produces mass flow-based measurements. The two coils within the meter twist when fluid flows through them. The phase shift of the sine waves between the coils determines the mass flow. See the earlier post, Flow Measurement Solutions for the Refinery Sector Rule Requirements, for Meha’s more detailed description.

SMV generates reports that can be used for environmental reporting such as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory compliance. These reports can be automatically scheduled to provide records over time.

For magnetic meters, also known as magmeters, Smart Meter Verification can also be applied. Here is what SMV checks for: Continue Reading

Safety Shower and Location Awareness Wireless Monitoring

In an earlier post, How Digital Transformation Can Impact Compliance for Environmental and Safety Regulation, I shared some safety examples. Emerson’s Marcio Donnangelo explored specific examples more deeply in his 2020 4C HSE conference presentation, Safety Showers and Location Awareness – Improving Safety with Wireless Monitoring.

Sources of personnel recordable accidentsMarcio opened describing three ways to help create a safe environment for all plant personnel. Through geolocation, zones can be created to keep contractors safe and efficient working only in their designated work zones. For all personnel working in the processing areas, they can be kept safe by creating zones of known hazardous locations and providing warnings when entering.

Another very important application for safer operations is location tracking to help know where plant personnel are and that they are safe and accounted for at designated muster points. This location tracking can also help identify fallen personnel are located to quickly dispatch emergency responders.

Adding wireless location sensors to personnel and locations enables the collection of data to drive safety-specific key performance indicators. Continue Reading

Wireless Toxic Gas Continuous Monitoring

Emerson's Josh Hernandez

Josh Hernandez on wireless toxic gas monitoring at the 2020 4C HSE conference

Various oil & gas producing regions can also have toxic gases such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S) come along as a byproduct. For the safety and well being of the operating personnel the areas where they work must be monitored.

At the 2020 4C Health, Safety & Environmental conference, Emerson’s Josh Hernandez presented, A New Way to Measure Toxic Gases in Upstream O&G with Wireless and IIoT. The availability of wireless sensors significantly lowers the installation and maintenance barrier for these sensors versus wired systems.

Josh opened noting that it’s not only H2S, but also carbon monoxide and oxygen depletion that are other dangerous conditions which should be monitored. Some challenges are that installing traditional gas detectors is costly and time consuming. Maintaining, calibrating, and replacing gas detectors and sensors is difficult and labor intensive. And from a justification perspective, gas detection is often viewed solely as a cost.

With wireless gas monitors, protection can be extended to new application and the cost & effort is significantly reduced to install and commission conventional wired detectors. New monitoring points can be quickly and easily installed. The sensors also integrate easily connect with existing WirelessHART networks that may be already installed. Continue Reading