Preventing VOC fugitive emissions in your compressor application

Process gas compressor applications have changed very little over the last several decades. What has changed are the requirements for an oil-free compressor that can minimize Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) fugitive emissions and provide long term reliability.  Stricter government environmental and safety regulations as well as plant-level regulations have increased the demand for better technology.

The sealing technology unitized in today’s process gas compressors provides the answer:  Oil-free operation preventing gas contamination as well as multiple rod sealing configurations to reduce or eliminate fugitive emissions of VOCs.  When properly sized and configured, the rod seals – or “packing” – use differential pressure along with a spring-assisted pressure to provide a dynamic seal on the piston rod.  In typical double seal machines, the lower packing (vertical machines) acts as an oil wiper preventing oil migration into the gas stream.  The upper packing serves to prevent process gas from entering the crankcase, contaminating the oil sump and ultimately venting to the atmosphere.

For flammable and toxic gas applications, the use of a third packing is utilized. This provides two chambers in the distance piece that can be purged or padded with an inert gas.  A closed loop nitrogen purge system is then implemented to eliminate emissions completely.

typical nitrogen purge kit on a triple-seal Blackmer HD363C compressor.

Reciprocating gas compressors have been in use for decades and have a proven track record for reliability in the field.  They are oil-free, provide zero emission options and do not require any additional downstream filtration or separators.  All of this equates to a lower overall cost of operation and reduced footprint in many cases.

S&S Technical designs, engineers and manufactures custom compressor packages for a variety of process gas applications.  Our value-added, automated solutions provide a low overall cost of operation and high reliability.

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