• Quantifying the Products of Incomplete Combustion from Petroleum, Petrochemical & Chemical Sector Gas-Fired Process Heaters & Industrial Boilers

  • Authors: James Seebold
  • Publication date:

    January 2015


The petroleum, petrochemical and chemical sectors are the most combustion-intensive of all of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industries of the Future. The average garden-variety 300,000 barrels per day oil refinery has over 50 process heaters and industrial boilers typically firing hydrocarbon gaseous fuels at upwards of 3 billion Btu/hr continuously year-in, year-out to provide the energy products upon which America depends. In the United States, the 1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to promulgate new regulations on emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) from petroleum, petrochemical and chemical sector process heaters and industrial boilers. Unfortunately, the good science upon which to base those regulations was well known to be extremely limited and the paucity of field data then extant was widely recognized to be severely flawed. Accordingly, PERF 92-19 was conceived to enable concerned individuals on all sides of the US EPA’s Industrial Combustion Coordinated Rulemaking (ICCR) table to understand the emissions from petroleum, petrochemical and chemical sector gas-fired process heaters and industrial boilers. Utilizing beyond state-of-the-art measurement techniques, the project produced actual detections of the chemical kinetically-expectable hydrocarbon species emissions at concentrations so low as to demonstrate conclusively that they pose no threat whatsoever to public health and welfare. The result? Ultimately no regulations related to the products of incomplete combustion (PICs) from gas-fired petroleum, petrochemical and chemical sector process heaters or industrial boilers appeared in the US EPA’s subsequently promulgated Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rules and no published health effects studies have appeared to date for the reason that there is simply no story there. The process and product of the landmark PERF 92-19 study are recorded in this paper.

  • Research: Journal

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