Flares are important safety devices used as part of refining and petrochemical processes. They are used throughout the industry as a safety mechanism to ensure process units do not exceed safety limits.
The use of flares is minimised wherever possible. However, flaring can occur during unplanned operational interruptions, scheduled downtime and sometimes during a start-up and shutdown.
To avoid releasing gases directly into the atmosphere, excess gas is burnt in a controlled, environmentally effective manner. A pilot light at the top of each flare burns continually, so the flare is available when needed.
The gases are combined with steam and burned off to ensure maximum combustion and minimise emissions. The use of steam can occasionally lead to a rumbling sound. This is a normal part of the process and is nothing to be concerned about.
Despite close and constant monitoring, there can be a short delay in which sometimes smoke may appear before sufficient steam can be supplied to the system. Once the steam is present, complete combustion is achieved.
A great deal of heat is generated when flaring and as such a flare is usually a tower 20 to 150 metres above ground. This prevents any potential for the heat generated affecting the surrounding equipment or people contained within the process unit.
Flare systems are constantly tracked and monitored to ensure the process is conducted safely and to minimise environmental impact on the surrounding area.
At EET Fuels we are committed to improving processes and technology and aim to reduce the amount of flaring through improved recovery and reprocessing of excess materials.