Issue Date: April 27, 2015
Wasted Potential Energy
In the article “Environmental Protection Agency, Refiners Clash Over Hazardous Air Pollution,” I took particular note of the following sentence: EPA “would also strengthen operational requirements for flaring, the process of burning off and destroying excess hydrocarbon gases” (C&EN, Jan. 26, page 27).
Why does anyone flare anything anymore? These hydrocarbon gases could be used as raw materials in refinery processes. At the very least, they could be burned to produce energy for processes within the refinery instead of wasting the energy by releasing it into the air. What am I missing?
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