I have seen a flare in some oil and gas industry plants. They
are burning dangerous gas in the flare. Does it contribute to air
pollution when they are burning those dangerous gasses? 2. Is there any
technology that has been found in order to treat the dangerous gasses
without burning it in the flare so that it will not create any air
pollutants? thank you...
A very good question. I wish I had the answer. The same thought occurred to
me. The flare should be able to at least boil water.
The gases being burned in oil refinery flares are simply some of the
lighter hydrocarbons (mainly methane gas) that are not practical to use
for other purposes. Burning these unwanted gases eliminates the
problem of releasing methane gas and other light hydrocarbons
directly to the atmosphere. The combustion products are mainly water
and carbon dioxide, neither of which are classified as "pollutants".
In answer to your second question, there is no practical alternative to
burning the (mainly) waste methane, other than to develop more
clean-burning flares. Steam is sometimes injected into the flare to help
reduce the smoke that is sometimes generated.
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Update: June 2012