Survey of Emissions Associated with Enclosed Combustor Emission Control Devices in the Denver-Julesburg Basin

Monday, 15 December 2014
Walter B Knighton1, Cody R Floerchinger2, Jody Wormhoult2, Paola Massoli2, Edward Fortner2, Bill Brooks2, Joseph R Roscioli2, Daniel Bon3 and Scott C. Herndon2, (1)Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, United States, (2)Aerodyne Research Inc., Billerica, MA, United States, (3)The State of Colorado, Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver, United States
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) play an important role in local and regional air quality. A large source of VOCs comes from the oil and gas industry and the Denver-Julesburg Basin (D-J Basin) has seen a sharp increase in production in recent years primarily due to advances in horizontal drilling techniques. To help curb emissions with extraction and production of natural gas and its associated oil, emission control devices are required for facilities emitting over 6 tons of hydrocarbons per year. Within the ozone non-attainment area, which encompasses Denver and much of the front range, enclosed combustion devices (enclosed flares) are required to reduce hydrocarbon emissions by at least 95%. While certification tests indicate that these enclosed combustor devices provide high destruction removal efficiencies, there is considerable interest in knowing how well they perform in the field. As part of Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry Experiment (FRAPPE) project conducted during the Summer of 2014, the Aerodyne Mobile Laboratory (AML) surveyed oil and gas operations within the Wattenberg gas field and the surrounding D-J Basin. The AML deployed a full suite of gas and particle phase instrumentation providing a comprehensive set of on-line, real-time measurements for the major natural gas components (methane and ethane) and their combustion products (CO2, CO, NOx) using a variety of spectroscopic techniques. Additional gas phase organic gas emissions were made using a proton transfer reaction mass spectrometer (PTR-MS). Particle number and composition were determined using a condensation particle counter and an Aerodyne Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS). A summary of the number of enclosed combustor devices measured and their observed combustion efficiencies will be presented.