As industries try to maneuver new guidelines to meet the goal of net zero by 2050, it is more vital than ever to utilize our data, experience, and technology modernization to reach climate progress.
By Kyle Daniels, President, Director & CEO Of Clarke Valve
Fugitive Emissions’ Contributions to Climate Crisis
Approximately 64% of man-made global warming is said to be caused by CO2, while methane, up to 26 times as potent, is responsible for 17%. Due to COVID-19 shutdowns, fugitive emissions recorded in the United States dropped by more than 10%, but in order to achieve true progress in the years ahead, similar reductions in emissions will need to be made without the same unprecedented circumstances.
An analysis by the International Energy Agency reveals that up to half of the emissions cuts needed to reach net zero by 2050 will need to come from technologies that have not yet reached the market. This goal will be unattainable unless the next steps are taken to develop and implement cost-effective, clean technologies, and make them readily available to the industries that are being pressed to apply them. Stronger emissions regulations to push climate progress are being proposed and executed globally, but net-zero emissions cannot be achieved without every industry’s effort to be a part of the solution.
Emissions in the Valve Industry
Since the industrial revolution, individuals have witnessed the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere soar from 280 PPM to 409 PPM. Methane has been shown to be 26 times more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas, making 100 PPM of methane equal to 2600 PPM of CO2 equivalent. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that 60% of all fugitive emissions are derived from valves, and up to 80% of this leakage is found in the valve’s stem-seal interface. Currently, the best option available for a low emissions globe valve measures leakage at 100 PPM, which allows the valve to carry on contributing to the already increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Since the passing of the Clean Air Act Amendment (CAAA) in 1990, designed by the EPA to cut key environmental threats like toxic air emissions, countless global endeavors have been made to lower fugitive emissions in the industrial sector. In spite of these efforts, the curtailing of fugitive emissions remains one of the most challenging obstacles that the valve industry faces today.
Challenging Fugitive Emissions with Control Valve Technology
“As the tools at our disposal become more sophisticated, we must also push ourselves to change our approach to problem solving. It is not enough to have access to the tools; we must also use them in their entirety as an industry to keep pushing the boundary of digitization forward. Without the right outlook, the technology only exists, lying idle,” said Catherine LeBoeuf, Clarke Valve Lead Engineer.
In the past, near-zero leakage in an operating valve has only been achievable with a bellows seal, which can be complex to maneuver during maintenance. The Dilating Disk™ Valve, manufactured by Clarke Valve, records a methane leakage rate of only 2 parts-per-million (PPM) under the ISO 15848-1 standard, compared to around 500 ppm recorded in comparable valves. In addition to virtually eliminating fugitive emissions, the design requires minimal torque to open and close, requiring less energy while running, and permitting the valves to be powered by off-grid renewables.
The distinctive and patented stemseal technology has made zero-leakage possible within a streamlined system. It also meets the requirements of the API 641 standard emissions testing, recognized by the EPA, which is exclusively applicable to quarter-turn valves. This standard allows a strict maximum permissible leakage of 100 PPM and employs methane as a testing media.
Globally, public interest in the climate has never been more prominent. The most direct route to curtailing the global climate crisis would be to dramatically cut CO2 and methane emissions, utilizing simple and cost-effective technology. Many companies within the industrial sector continue to deploy and test new, clean technologies. By continuing to adapt and maneuver upcoming regulations and guidelines for our climate, each industry can play a crucial role in reaching net zero by 2050.
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