Continuous Emissions Monitoring training workshop in Bhubaneswar, India

The International Centre for Sustainable Carbon (ICSC) is working on a US Department of State-funded, collaborative, capacity building project in India designed to help to reduce emissions from the coal combustion sector as India moves to more stringent emission standards for particulate matter (PM), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Although the current emission limit for mercury is not low enough to require action at this stage, the impending requirement for mercury monitoring will ensure that multi-pollutant control strategies can incorporate mercury co-benefit reduction almost immediately.

The project is focused on a series of training workshops for flexible operation of coal power plants, continuous emissions monitoring (CEM), multi-pollutant control and ash management designed to enhance understanding and improve the efficiency in each area. The intention is to provide training and leave behind a legacy of accessible materials so that the training can continue into the future, well beyond the lifetime of the project.

Following two successful training sessions on power plant flexibility in June, our first training workshop on CEM took place in Bhubaneswar this week (w/c 11 July); the first of four CEM workshops on this subject in India.

As with the topic of flexibility, the ICSC reviewed the status of emissions monitoring in India to determine and develop the appropriate capacity building. The report on this work can be downloaded here.

India is moving from relatively lenient to challenging emission standards for PM, SO2 and NOx. With these new limits comes a requirement for compliance monitoring. India has established one of the most advanced data reporting systems in the world to deliver data instantaneously and directly between CEM monitors and the Central and State Pollution Control Boards (CPCB and SPCBs). The nature of the system is such that there can be no tampering with data at the CEM and the source. If the SPCB does detect any issues, closed circuit televisions (CCTVs) and remote calibration can be used to check that the CEM is operating as it should. Currently, however, the skills set required to attain the optimum benefits from CEMs is lacking. For example, source operators rely heavily on the equipment vendors to maintain CEM performance and the quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) procedures are not always carried out as regularly or as thoroughly as necessary.

Although standardisation of the CEM equipment is already in place in India, our research suggested that the standardisation of CEM application may be missing – that is, standardisation of the training of the staff who must maintain and operate the CEM systems. In Europe, there is the MCERTS (monitoring certification scheme) and in the USA there is the QSTI (Qualified Source Testing Individual) scheme, either of which are effective. India, however, is using a blend of US and EU approaches in the CEM selection process and so this needs to be reflected in the training.

With input from local Indian experts, the ICSC created a training workshop which combines best practices from both the US and the EU systems. Sean Warden, incoming president of the Source Evaluation Society in the USA, shared over 30 years of experience in stack monitoring at power plants and industrial sources. Roland Zepeck, IBD Ltd, shared over 40 years of experience in providing CEM systems internationally, with significant time spent in India. We also brought in live presentations (via TEAMs) from David Graham, a UK expert who has been heavily involved in the development of European standards, and Jeff Ryan, a US expert who was pivotal in writing many of the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) standards.

Over 120 delegates were provided with the training to fast-forward their understanding of CEM application – from the policies which require CEM use, through to the practicalities of setting up a monitoring system in a challenging location on a source stack.

In addition to classroom training, delegates had hands-on experience with equipment provided by local vendors. They were also taken to a 165 MW circulating fluidised bed captive power unit supplying a steel plant where the course trainers talked them through the particulate and gaseous monitoring systems in operation. Hands-on training with a particulate monitor at the stack was also provided; a level of engagement rarely seen at an event such as this. Delegates’ understanding was assessed throughout the training event and certificates were awarded to those who successfully completed a written test that showed that they had gained knowledge and skills in the area of CEM application. Over 100 delegates were presented with certificates.

Feedback was excellent; delegates enjoyed the event and there was keen interaction with the trainers.
The ICSC team in India now travels to Bhopal to repeat the exercise from 17-22 July. Other topics will be presented at subsequent workshops later in the year.
The project also calls for related work in Indonesia, focusing on technologies and practices to reduce mercury emissions – watch this space.