Evaluation of the monitoring system for volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions at NATREF, South Africa
An evaluation of the VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions monitoring system of Natref (National Refiners of South Africa) was conducted to determine the effectiveness of the system. Natref monitors fugitive plant equipment VOC emissions, VOC emissions from the wastewater treatment area and the tank farm as separate entities. The hiatus in the VOC emissions monitoring system is the absence of an overall VOC emission scenario at Natref. Data of VOC emissions from Natref's field data were used to determine the overall VOC emission scenario at the refinery. Since no control guidelines are available for VOC emissions in South Africa. it was necessary to with refineries in the USA and Western Europe to determine how effective Natref’s VOC emissions monitoring system is. The percentage VOC emissions at Natref from the three areas fell outside the benchmark ranges and different scenarios were simulated to determine the possible causes. The results of this evaluation brought to light inadequacies in the VOC emissions monitoring system at Natref and an estimated loss of approximately three million rand per annum due to VOC emissions. The absence of a coherent picture of VOC emissions at the refinery can lead to sub-optimal expenditure of resources to reduce VOC emissions. The value of a monitoring system lies therein that information obtained from it can be used to implement effective control measures in order to make a contribution to the protection of the environment and therefore towards sustainable development.