Valve Actuator Upgrades Help Users Minimize Fugitive Emissions and Cut Cost

By Sandeep Mukunda

Category:
Technology Trends

End users have been putting an increasing emphasis on minimizing fugitive emissions in recent years.  One of the key contributing factors has been the release of increasingly stringent, environmental regulations such as the Clean Air Act in the US and the international Paris Agreement.  These regulations have been designed to minimize the negative impact of green-house gases on the environment and their potential influence on climate change.  Above and beyond the impact of new environmental regulations, oil & gas companies are also beginning to pay more attention to the cost of product loss associated with fugitive emissions as the industry continues to adapt to the new “lower for longer” attitude that carries an increased focus on cutting costs and trimming inefficiencies.  Furthermore, minimizing fugitive emissions often helps users improve their brand reputation and the public’s view of the company. 

 

Valve actuator upgrades are critical for pipeline operators striving to minimize fugitive emissions

Realizing leakages associated with valve actuators are a major source of fugitive emissions, send users have begun to upgrade their installed base of older valve actuators with high-quality, certified valve actuators designed to lower emissions and ensure reliable operations. Finding solutions to lowering fugitive emissions is particularly important in oil and gas pipeline applications, which traditionally employ a variety of hydraulic, direct gas, and gas over oil valve actuators.  Gas-powered valve actuators have been the ‘go-to’ technology for natural gas pipelines and make up most of the valve actuators installed in pipelines around the world today.  One of the key problems with conventional gas-powered valve actuators, is the higher levels of fugitive emissions associated with their design, which exhaust natural gas into the atmosphere with each stroke of the valve.  This leads to unnecessary costs associated with lost product and potential fines for non-compliance with environmental regulations.  To avoid this, end users are either completely replacing their gas-powered actuators with newer electric actuators or retrofitting their existing units with advanced valve operating systems designed to lower fugitive emissions by re-injecting the extracted natural gas back into the main pipeline.

Leakages associated with valve actuators are a major source of fugitive emissions
Sources of fugitive emissions (Valve World News)

 

Lowering fugitive emissions helps improve brand reputation

Minimizing fugitive emissions helps end users improve their brand reputation and the public’s view of the company, which is critical to success. Consumers today are selective about which companies they choose to support.  Taking steps to lower your company’s fugitive emissions is a sign that your company is environmentally conscious.  Promoting your company as being environmentally conscious helps attract customers who are looking to support environmentally conscious businesses while strengthening your company’s relationship with its existing customer base.

Valve actuator upgrades also help lower maintenance costs and unplanned downtime

In addition to lowering fugitive emissions, valve actuator upgrades help users cut costs associated with both unnecessary maintenance and unplanned downtime.  Similar to intelligent valve positioners, intelligent electric actuators help facilitate enterprise-wide asset management initiatives through their data storage and connectivity capabilities.  These intelligent electronic actuators are equipped with solid-state motor drives with enhanced functionalities such as wireless, remote monitoring, data logging and transfer capability. To enjoy these benefits, users are shifting away from conventional mechanical and electro-mechanical actuators in favor of more sophisticated electronic actuating solutions, especially in heavy-duty applications.

ARC’s global market research study on On-off (isolation) Valves market, Control Valves market, Valve Actuators market, Pressure Relief Valves market and Severe Service Valves market provides the required strategic market qualitative and quantitative information and guidance to aid both valve suppliers and end-users in process industry.

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