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The Energy Transition for Better Air Quality

Legislation such as the Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) is aimed at driving manufacturers to use fuels offering emission savings such as LPG to meet their industrial heating needs. Adrian Heath, National Account Manager for Industry and Transport at Calor, takes a look at the reasons behind this sustainability drive to move away from heavy oils. He explains how businesses can make their switch from fuels that don’t meet the emission targets easier by involving their future energy supplier of choice to support them from the very start of the process.
According to the World Health Organisation, ambient air pollution accounts for an estimated 4.2 million deaths per year due to stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and chronic respiratory diseases1. The gases and pollutants that are often put under the spotlight include those that the Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) seeks to limit – namely nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and particulates. 

The directive, which has been incorporated into the Environmental Permitting regulations in England and Wales - requires owners and users of boilers, engines and turbines with a net rated thermal input between 1MW and 50MW to comply with Emission Limit Values (ELVs), which vary according to the fuel type. 

For industries who are located in areas which are off the mains gas grid and rely on heavy oils and biomass to power their industrial heaters and boilers, the regulations will prompt a rethink, as these fuel sources are unlikely to meet the limits for SO2, NOx or particulates without secondary abatement. Complex installations which require further reduction in their emission levels need bespoke permits, which are considerably more expensive than standard ones. 

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) already meets standards for SO2 and NOx and particulate emissions as well as offering reduced CO2 output, with margin to handle some tightening of ELVs in the future. It is ideal for processes employed in a range of industries, including food and drinks production, asphalt manufacturing, waste processing for recycling and the generation of heat and electricity using combined heat and power. 

A large number of industries coming under the MCPD legislation requirements are likely to use package burners as part of their heating or steam generation processes, which use either oil or gas. In most cases, to enable the boiler to use LPG, only the burner will need a modification. Understandably the whole project will involve more than just changing the burner and here the support of a reliable business LPG supplier with industry expertise is key.
For example, fuel storage will need to be considered. Depending on the size of the plant, a large amount of industrial LPG may need to be stored on site. If over 25 tonnes of LPG are specified, planning permission for hazardous substance will be required. To be able to store over 50 tonnes of LPG on site, compliance with lower tier COMAH – Control of Major Accidents and Hazards regulations – is also a must. In order to ensure maximum safety, there are also certain regulations on where bulk LPG storage is to be sited. The design and installation of pipework between the gas supply and the burner also needs careful planning and consideration. Responsibilities are usually agreed and allocated between the various parties involved. All this means that bringing in the LPG supplier from the start of the transition process will help to ensure that the project will run smoothly. 

For example, we can advise and support customers right from the beginning. Using our technical engineering expertise, we can work with engineering consultants or directly with customers throughout the whole process to assist with planning applications, installations and even post-implementation requirements and documentation. Our dedicated team of experts can deliver turnkey and non-turnkey solutions, and for large or complex installations, we offer project design and management services together with a bespoke industrial LPG site installation service. We pride ourselves on taking an open and honest approach with no ‘hidden’ costs, and what’s more, our strategic investment in gas storage facilities means that we can ensure security of supply. We also offer several pricing options, including fixed pricing, to help you plan and budget for your energy costs.
There is no doubt that the MCPD is ultimately good news for the environment and public health. By moving away from more polluting fuel sources to solutions such as LPG to meet industrial heating needs, businesses can reduce their carbon footprint and help to improve air quality now and in the years to come. Choosing the right supplier on this journey is key to making the transition easy and trouble-free. Talk to us today to find out how we can help.