Overcoming the toxic gas danger in pulp and paper mills

 Overcoming the toxic gas danger in pulp and paper mills


  Overcoming Toxic Gases Threat in Pulp and Paper Mills

By Joshua Hernandez, Global Product Manager, Rosemount Flame and Gas Detection Products, Emerson Automation Solutions

All processing equipment aims to safely deliver their equipment operate with regulations and profitable. Safety comes first with these goals. Therefore, it is important to measure, to warn about irregularities and to understand the dangers that could negatively impact the facility or staff. A potential hazard is toxic gas. Tragically, there are still deaths from toxic gases in the pulp and paper industry 1 .

A wide range of applications can cause toxic gases. This sounds like a simple safety concern until you see what toxic gases, in this case hydrogen sulfide, really mean:

  • 5 - 10 ppm: Relatively low metabolic changes
  • 100 ppm: Immediately lethal and hazardous to health (IDLH)
  • 100 - 1,000 ppm: Serious effect on respiratory, central nervous and cardiovascular system
  • 1,000 - 2,000 ppm: Unconsciousness and possible death

Obvious Toxic gas is a critical problem that threatens not only life, but property as well, since it is flammable. One of the industries with high potential for the release of hydrogen sulfide is pulp and paper production. The equipment associated with the power process, where hydrogen sulfide can pose a significant safety hazard, includes fermenters, recovery boilers and steam power plants. Hydrogen sulfide is produced from the chemical processes to delignify wood material in discontinuous or continuous digesters, and hydrogen sulfide can be entrained in steam pipes running throughout the plant, jeopardizing the safety of personnel and equipment.

The monitoring of toxic gases is not only a problem of safety but also of operational efficiency. An increase in hydrogen sulfide concentration is an indication that something went wrong in the process. Canceled maintenance trips due to unreported gas leaks can also be costly and time consuming.

The monitoring of the release of toxic gases is critical, but as in many other industries, the production of pulp and paper is cost-sensitive. In some installations, the installation and operation of conventional gas detection systems at the required locations may be prohibitively cost-prohibitive due to geographic location and infrastructure. The installation, wiring, and commissioning costs for each additional wired device can increase the total installation cost of the instrument by tens of thousands of dollars. Therefore, the operators had to rely on portable gas detection devices or no longer operate any gas detection devices.

For this reason, wireless monitoring of toxic gases is fully complied with. The International Safety Standard of the Electrotechnical Commission 62591 (which covers Wireless HART devices) is so significant - it offers one cheaper solution. New advances in wireless monitoring of toxic gases are remarkable, as shown in the comparison in Figure 1.

Figure 1

When looking at a wireless poison gas monitor, it is important to choose one that is fully integrated and battery operated. These combined features enhance the coverage of toxic gases to protect personnel and protect critical assets. Today's wireless technology provides reliable readings and allows remote field data retrieval up to once per minute. The instrument should allow a quick and easy installation, so the system can be up and running in minutes. Accurate wireless readings remotely keep the operator up to date on changing conditions, reduce the number of manual maneuvers and improve safety by keeping people away from hazardous areas and protected from disasters. In pulp and paper mills, wireless gas monitors should be installed near recovery boilers where "black liquor" is burned.

Wireless toxic gas monitors protect any system from hydrogen sulfide. It can be implemented at a fraction of the cost of traditional surveillance and offers far more flexibility - a win / win for the pulp and paper industry.

Figure 2: Rosemount 928 Wireless Toxic Gas Monitor from Emerson

About the Author

Joshua Hernandez is global product manager for Rosemount flame and gas detection products at Emerson Automation Solutions, Shakopee, MN. Email him [email protected].

https://www.sia.org.au/news-and-publications/news/two-fatalities-in-suspected-hydrogen-sulfide-gas-leak-paperfactory [19659022] Did you like this article?

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