Environmental Research in the Petroleum Refining and Petrochemical Industries: Projects

Petroleum Refinery Risk and Technology Review

Client

USEPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards

Description

Under this project, we supported EPA's risk and technology review of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for petroleum refineries (40 CFR 63 subparts CC and UUU).

We developed and implemented a detailed information collection request (ICR) to gather additional information from petroleum refineries regarding their processes, controls, and emissions to support a comprehensive risk and technology review for the petroleum refining sector. Part of this ICR included the development of a detailed emissions inventory that was used in conjunction with dispersion modeling to project the human and ecological exposure and risk associated with emissions of specific hazardous air pollutants (HAP) on a source-specific basis. We identified advances in technology and practices for reducing emissions of HAP from a variety of emission sources including equipment leaks, storage vessels, wastewater collection and treatment, fluid catalytic cracking units, catalytic reforming units, delayed coking units, sulfur recovery plants, flares, and miscellaneous process vents. These control techniques were evaluated in terms of costs and effectiveness in reducing emissions as well as reducing risk associated with these emissions.

Advancements in ambient monitoring techniques were identified as a potential means to improve compliance assurance. We identified passive diffusive tube monitoring as a cost-effective means to monitor ambient concentrations around a petroleum refinery or petrochemical complex. We prepared a monitor placement and sampling guideline that was used to in the development of a draft EPA method for diffusive tube monitoring. We also supported regulatory development efforts by preparing technical support documents and a proposal package to amend these NESHAP. Upon proposal, RTI will provide additional regulatory support to address public comments and develop a final promulgation package to amend these NESHAP.

Emission Estimation Protocol for Petroleum Refineries

Client

USEPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards

Description

To support the emission inventory information collection conducted as part of the Petroleum Refinery Risk and Technology Review, we provided support for the development of the Emission Estimation Protocol for Petroleum Refineries document. This "refinery protocol" document is intended to provide guidance to refineries as well as state and local agencies in developing more comprehensive and accurate emissions inventories, particularly for emissions of specific hazardous air pollutants that do not have emission factors in EPA's AP-42 (Compilation of Air Pollutant Emission Factors).

Our engineers reviewed and compiled literature and source test data to develop tiered emission estimation methodologies and default emission factors for key petroleum refinery emission sources, including the following: equipment leaks; storage tanks; process heaters and boilers; process-specific vents associated with fluid catalytic cracking units, fluid coking units, delayed coking units, catalytic reforming units, sulfur recovery plants, and other miscellaneous process vents; flares; wastewater collection and treatment; cooling towers; loading operations; fugitive dust sources; and malfunctions/upsets. The draft protocol document was revised based on public comments and a final protocol document was published to support the information collection conducted as part of the Petroleum Refinery Risk and Technology Review.

As part of the Petroleum Refinery Risk and Technology Review information collection, EPA required many petroleum refineries to conduct detailed emission source testing of specific process units. Consequently, the EPA now has significantly more data to develop appropriate calculation methodologies and emission factors. We are currently supporting EPA by reviewing and compiling recent source test data for the purposes of revising the Emission Estimation Protocol for Petroleum Refineries document as well as the default emission factors for petroleum refineries in AP-42 (Compilation of Air Pollutant Emission Factors).

Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program–Regulatory Development and Implementation Support

Client

USEPA Office of Atmospheric Programs

Description

Our environmental engineers provided regulatory development and verification support for a variety of industrial source categories under the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) mandatory reporting program, including the petroleum refining and petrochemical subparts (40 CFR 98 subparts X and Y). We prepared an assessment of current GHG emissions and projected the number of reporting entities and the amount of GHG that would be reported at various reporting thresholds. We identified and evaluated alternative monitoring approaches and developed cost and uncertainty estimates for these monitoring alternatives. We also prepared technical support documents and assisted in the development of proposal packages, response to comment documents, and promulgation packages for petroleum refinery and petrochemical facility sources (among others).

RTI also supported the development of EPA's electronic reporting tool (e-GGRT) through review of requirements documents, XML instructions, e-GGRT instructions, e-GGRT screens, and help files. We performed testing of e-GGRT and provided change requests to ensure all required reporting elements were properly collected by the system. We also evaluated the confidentiality concerns associated with the required reporting elements and provided support for regulatory amendments, as necessary. After implementation of these reporting requirements, we provided verification support for the 2010, 2011, and 2012 annual reports for a majority of the GHG reporting program subparts, including those for petroleum refineries and petrochemical manufacturers.

Review of Petroleum Refinery Regulations and New Source Performance Standards for Refineries and for Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturing Industry Equipment Leaks

Client

U.S. EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards

Description

Under this project, we supported EPA's review of the New Source Performance Standards for petroleum refineries, synthetic organic chemical manufacturing industry equipment leaks, and refinery equipment leaks (40 CFR 60 subparts J/Ja, VV/VVa, and GGG/GGGa). This review was required by a consent decree.

We collected and summarized information on state and local standards, reviewed recent consent decree requirements, and analyzed emissions test data for the affected industries and sources. This information was used to identify applicable control techniques to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds.

We evaluated these control techniques in terms of costs and effectiveness in reducing emissions, then developed and evaluated the cost-effectiveness of various regulatory alternatives. We also supported regulatory development efforts by developing technical background documents, proposal packages, response to comments, and promulgation packages for each of the regulations reviewed. Because these reviews were subject to court-ordered deadlines, many of the tasks were performed as quick-turnaround tasks.