Volatile Organic Compound Control

A Flare for Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Control

There are essentially two types of flares which can be used for VOC control: an elevated, open-flame (known as a candlestick flare), and an enclosed flare, where the flame is contained in a cylindrical, insulated vessel. The open-flame candlestick flares are elevated so the flame is kept away from ground level, which reduces the effects of heat, smoke, and noise. Both types of flares are vertically mounted.

Open flame (candlestick) flares are mostly utilized by the oil and gas and chemical industries, at petroleum refineries, chemical plants, and natural gas processing plants and production facilities. They are also commonly used at oil or gas extraction sites having oil wells, gas wells, offshore oil, gas rigs, and landfills. In industrial plants, flares are typically used for burning off flammable gas released by safety valves during unplanned over-pressuring of plant equipment.

Enclosed flares are mainly installed at landfill sites, sanitary (wastewater) treatment plants, or anaerobic digestion plants such as for the biogas industry, which converts organic waste to produce methane, which can then be used as a source of fuel or for heating. A flare can be used in any process that results in the generation of and collection of biogases (methane).  Although burning hydrocarbons in a flare, rather than releasing them into the atmosphere without burning them, is a more environmentally friendly solution, a great amount of greenhouse gas is released into the environment through flaring.

To find a detailed description of VOC control with flares see US EPA Section 3 VOC Controls.

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