Curbing emissions of methane gas is a major concern for many industrial sectors. Typical emissions-abatement methods involve combustion, but a new flameless technology designed by Thermon, Inc. (Austin, Tex.; www.thermon.com) employs a proprietary explosion-proof catalytic pad in place of a combustion reaction, making it safer to use while also creating fewer emissions.
Thermon’s EnviroDyne Methane Destruction Unit (MDU; diagram) can convert over 90% of fugitive methane emissions into carbon dioxide and water vapor using principles similar to the catalytic converters found in vehicles. “Since the conversion process takes place at a lower temperature than conventional flaring, it can be used in designated hazardous locations where potentially explosive gases are present,” explains Thermon product manager, Dave TenEycke. The unit is certified to meet requirements for use in Class I, Div. 1 & 2 hazardous locations, making it much more versatile than flaring to convert fugitive emissions from a wide variety of pneumatic devices in locations where flames could create serious explosions. “We do not know of another certified product of this type designed for methane abatement,” says TenEycke. Furthermore, he adds: “EnviroDyne’s lower operating temperature also means that it does not generate harmful oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions, which do occur during flaring.”
Another benefit of the MDU is that it has no moving parts and requires little human intervention during extended operation. “The unit requires only electricity, often via a battery, during initial startup and can run indefinitely once started, as long as clean fuel and adequate air supply are available,” says TenEycke. The technology has been trialed at multiple sites and is currently available in several sizes and voltages.