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SEPA monitors impact of gas flaring on air quality

23-May-2024Fenceline | Gas flaring | Industrial | Oil & Gas | PetrochemicalUK

SEPA monitors impact of gas flaring on air quality

Air quality monitoring stations have been used by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to form a new air quality monitoring network around the Mossmorran Complex near Cowdenbeath and Lochgelly, Fife.

The network of 8 AQMesh pods was deployed in addition to a fixed air quality monitoring station to help address the concerns of the local community about the impact of operational activity at ExxonMobil Chemical Limited Natural Liquids Plant and Fife Ethylene Plant in Fife, Scotland. Both plants use flaring processes to burn off excess gas, and SEPA set out a series of regulations aimed at reducing the amount – and impact – of flaring, as well as being able to provide local residents with accurate, real-time information about pollution levels in the wider community.

Commenting on using the AQMesh pods, SEPA have stated that “these analysers are easier to locate than the reference analysers due to their size and power requirements and can be installed in more accessible locations. They are useful in assessing short-term trends in pollutants; provide greater geographical coverage both up and down wind of the site; and monitor for a wider range of pollutants.”

So far, all the pods and fixed station continue to show that there have been no breaches of any air quality standards since monitoring began.

The quality of the data produced by the AQMesh pods at the Mossmorran facility has been optimised using a proprietary network calibration method known as ‘long distance scaling’, which identifies and separates hyperlocal events from individual pods in order to determine the common pollutant trends seen on each pod in the network. These data trends are then directly comparable on each pod, showing the background/baseline pollution levels across the network and can also be used to provide calibration – or scaling – factors that can be applied to each pod. The method is similar to that developed by Professor Rod Jones of the University of Cambridge, which was used for calibration and quality control of 100 AQMesh pods in the Breathe London pilot.

For more information about SEPA’s air quality monitoring network at Mossmorran, or about AQMesh, contact us today.