Opsis blog

Trending Emissions Monitoring

Trending Emissions Monitoring

Industrial emissions within the European Union are governed by the Industrial Emissions Directive, the IED. It is a framework directive largely relying on industry-specific reference documents on best available techniques, BREFs. The BREF for waste incinerators (WI) was revised during the 2010s and a new version became effective in December 2019.

The expectations on industrial emissions control are in practice expressed in BREF conclusion documents, BATCs, accompanying the BREFs. Accordingly, there was also a new WI-BATC released in late 2019. Some of the new conclusions were “associated emission levels” (AELs) on total mercury and dioxins in the emissions to air, both types of compounds being very toxic and bad for the environment.

Following the IED, the new standards must be implemented through national legislation and the industry must comply with this not later than four years from the release of the new WI-BREF, that is by the end of 2023.

Continuous Monitoring of THg

Mercury emission limits and mercury monitoring are nothing new, but it was not until the 2019 version of the WI-BATC that requirements on continuous monitoring were introduced. It took some time before the orders started to be placed, but with a rapidly approaching implementation deadline, we have seen a steadily increasing flow of new THg instruments being delivered across Europe in 2023.

Long-term Sampling of Dioxins

The new WI-BATC also came with new requirements on dioxins emissions monitoring. In contrast to for example mercury, there is no viably available technology for detection and quantification in real time. The approach is instead to gather a sample of the emissions. The sampling runs continuously for two to four weeks. After the end of the sampling period, the exposed sample container is sent to a laboratory where the total amount of dioxins is established using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Dividing the lab result with the total volume that passed the container yields the average dioxins concentration in the emissions during the sampling period.

The long-term sampling is to be repeated every month. With an up to four-week sampling period, the dioxins sampling can approach continuous monitoring although with a very low time resolution. There is also notable delay in reporting given the time it takes to ship and process the exposed sample at the laboratory and to compile the dioxins emissions report. However, it is still a matter of close-to continuous monitoring of the dioxins emissions to air.

And the Winner is…

So, who has gained the most from the new regulations on mercury and dioxins emissions monitoring? Well, they have meant business for instrument suppliers like OPSIS but that’s merely a side effect. In the long run, the real winners are the European environment and everyone living there, now being less and less exposed to toxic mercury and dioxins.

More to Read

Do you want to find out more about mercury monitoring and dioxins sampling? Then you’ve come to the right place! Click on the links below to read more about these topics.

Emissions Monitoring through Long-term Sampling >>
Regulating Mercury Emissions >>
New European BAT Conclusions for Waste Incineration – it’s Time to Monitor Total Mercury >>
Long-term Sampling of Dioxins and Carbon Dioxide >>
Continuous Emissions Monitoring of Total Mercury >>