An old boiler park not adapted to the limitation of atmospheric emissions

Posted on: 24 / 03 / 2022 | 0 Comentarios | Tags: , , , , , ,

Artícle published in INTEREMPRESAS.- In a period of less than three years, the new European regulation for the limitation of atmospheric emissions from medium-sized combustion plants comes into force, which aims to improve air quality and protection of the atmosphere, without too much progress having been made in its adaptation so far . The process accumulates a long delay; However, in recent years, innovation in combustion technologies has made it possible to develop burners with lower emissions even than the environmental requirements set by the new regulations.

The Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the limitation of polluting emissions into the atmosphere from medium combustion plants was published on November 25, 2015. This new European emission regulation aimed at improving air quality and protection to the atmosphere, transposed to Spain through the Royal Decree, is now four years old since its publication in the BOE of December 23, 2017, and is heading to the date of entry into force on January 1, 2025 without many medium-sized combustion plants have undertaken the reforms that such regulations require for their regularization.

As of that date of January 1, 2025, no medium combustion installation with a thermal power greater than 5 MW may be in operation without being authorized or without having been registered, and this will extend from January 1, 2029 to any installation less than 5 MW.

limitation of atmospheric emissions - Iñigo Bejar

This regulation indicates that in all facilities the emission limit that uses gas as fuel must be less than 100 mg / Nm3, an issue that is already being taken into account at the moment in the realization of new facilities. The point is that this Royal Decree indicates that also those boiler installations of more than 5 MW that were previously operational must also comply with this level of emissions. However, today there is a really old stock of industrial boilers in Spain that do not comply with this regulation, which restricts the 200 mg / Nm3 allowed by the previous regulation to half. This means that facilities will have to change their industrial burners to comply with these more restrictive emissions in a significant number of boiler rooms, since the old burners did not reach those levels.

Who is affected by this provision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment?

Air quality and protection of the atmosphere have been a priority of environmental policy for decades as a vital resource and in view of the damage that air pollution causes to human health and the environment. Thus, as the industrialization and urbanization processes of large areas have been causing negative impacts on air quality, it has become necessary to articulate legal instruments that make it possible to reconcile economic and social development and the preservation of this natural resource, both at the national, regional and international level.

Within this framework, the set of policies that the European Union has been developing since the 1970s in the matter of air quality and the international and multilateral treaties adopted have made it possible to achieve atmospheric protection objectives, such as reducing pollution, protecting the layer of ozone or combat climate change, an area in which progress is currently being made. A major advance in the European framework consisted in the approval of Directive 2010/75 / EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of November 24, 2010 on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control), which regulates the control of pollution of combustion facilities with nominal thermal power equal to or greater than 50 MW and which has been transposed into the Spanish legal system through Royal Decree of December 16, 2016 and Royal Decree 815/2013 of October 18, by the one that approves the Regulation of industrial emissions.

Limitation of atmospheric emissions in thermal power below 50 MW

However, combustion plants with thermal power below 50 MW were, in general, not regulated within the EU, so there was a regulatory gap. The royal decree of November 23, 2017 incorporates this limitation of atmospheric emissions of certain pollutants from these medium-sized combustion facilities into the ordinance. Thus, as a novelty, it incorporates emission limit values ​​for sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particles (dust), and also establishes measurements for the control of carbon monoxide (CO) emissions from facilities medium combustion. This standard will be applicable to medium-sized combustion facilities regardless of the type of fuel used, as well as to the combination of new medium-size combustion facilities whose total thermal power is equal to or greater than 50 MW. In addition, the obligation is established for the competent authorities to make a register of all medium combustion facilities with the information that the owners of the facilities provide.

The scope of application covers all combustion plants with a nominal thermal power equal to or greater than 1 MW and less than 50 MW, whatever the fuel used.

Adaptation of an industrial combustion installation to the European NOx emission regulations - E&M Combustion

Combustion in industrial sectors

The regulation updates the part of the catalog of potentially polluting activities of the atmosphere, which includes activities of electricity generation, heat generation for urban districts, oil refining, transformation of solid fuels, combustion in the commercial and institutional sectors, residential and agricultural and combustion in the industrial sectors, in order that the requirements of this decree with regard to the emission monitoring control regime can be applied to them.

For this reason, the owner of the medium combustion installation must carry out the necessary actions to adapt its facilities to the requirements of the royal decree and those that are part of facilities subject to authorization must request the updating of their authorization at least nine months before the indicated dates.

Installation of an industrial boiler - Limitation of emissions to the atmosphere - E&M Combustion

The autonomous communities, through the competent authority, will register the medium combustion installations that have been communicated to them or will initiate the procedure to grant authorization to the medium combustion installations within a period of one month from the date the owner facilitates the information. Furthermore, medium-sized combustion plants should be developed and operated in such a way as to promote energy efficiency, applying the best available techniques, which should be particularly taken into account when modernizing and adapting combustion plants.

The dates are beginning to run ……. and we see with concern that the old installations do not comply with the limitation of atmospheric emissions in gas installations that the regulations mark at 100 mg / Nm3. The old boiler park remains anchored in the emissions of 200 mg / Nm3 of the previous regulation and the equipment has not been replaced. However, in recent years, innovation in combustion technologies has made it possible to develop burners with lower emissions even than the environmental requirements posed by the new regulations. It is time to adapt to these new regulations and to face the challenge of climate change through our daily activities.

Iñigo Béjar, Managing Director E&M Combustión


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