Optimism exudes from British environment event!
Visitor numbers for this year’s MCERTS air monitoring event (29th to 30th April 2009 at the Bretby Conference Centre) grew by 10% in comparison with the 2007 figures. Expressing his delight with the success of the event, MCERTS organiser Dave Curtis from the Source Testing Association (STA) said, “Prior to the event we were concerned that visitor numbers might be reduced as a result of the recession, so it was very pleasing to note that delegate numbers have continued to grow.
“I think there are a number of reasons for the success of the MCERTS events. Firstly, they have become an established red letter date in the diaries of everyone involved in air monitoring because they provide an opportunity to catch up on the latest regulatory information; secondly visitors are able to view all of the latest monitoring technologies; thirdly, process operators can network with people that are facing the same challenges in their working lives and finally, the more recent emphasis on operator self-monitoring means that process operators have to have a greater understanding of the monitoring requirements.”
Doug Wilson, Head of Monitoring and Assessment at the British Environment Agency, expressed his delight with the success of the 2009 event, adding: “It was very pleasing to note the high level of participation in the MCERTS 2009 Conference, Workshops and Exhibition. Our objective to continuously improve the quality of monitoring combined with the increased emphasis on operator self-monitoring means that events such as this provide an excellent opportunity for all stakeholders to meet and discuss issues of common concern.
“The Environment Agency is a great supporter of the MCERTS events, not just because they enable us to provide the latest help and guidance on regulations that apply to air monitoring, but also because we can gather feedback from people we regulate and others who undertake monitoring.”
2009 was the fifth in a series of MCERTS events, all of which have been jointly organised with the Environment Agency of England and Wales, Environmental Technology Publications and the STA. Established in 1995, the STA is a non-profit making organisation with a corporate membership of over 200 companies from process operators, regulators, equipment suppliers and test laboratories.
|The MCERTS 2009 Conference and Workshop presentations are freely available|
Repeating on both days of MCERTS 2009, the key features of the Conference included presentations from high profile speakers at the Environment Agency (EA), National Physical laboratory (NPL), United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), and AEAT. These included: a detailed examination of the implications of the Environment Agency’s Better Regulation programme and the move to greater Operator Self Monitoring (OSM); an overview of the relationship between MCERTS and new CEN and ISO Standards; an assessment of the role of monitoring, reporting and verification under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme; correlation between greenhouse gas emissions reported nationally and those reported from industrial facilities for process regulation; and UKAS involvement in accreditation to EN 14181.
The Agency’s John Tipping described how the Agency continually seeks to improve its regulatory activities by balancing a wide variety of different (and sometimes conflicting) needs to deliver risk based, cost-effective regulation. Environmental protection is the overall objective, but it is also important to avoid the imposition of an unnecessary burden on industry, so the Agency encourages process operators to take responsibility for their own performance and thereby engender trust in their relationship with the regulator.
From April 2008 the PPC and Waste Management Regulations were consolidated into the Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR) and OSM is a key feature of the new regime. Monitoring standards are specified within MCERTS (Monitoring CERTS) and operator performance is now measured under the OPRA (Operational Risk Appraisal) and OMA (Operator Monitoring Assessment) schemes which represent a greater emphasis on auditing.
John mentioned that Operator Monitoring Assessment (OMA) was established to strengthen the auditing of operators’ self-monitoring arrangements. Initially, OMA was applied to the monitoring of emissions to air from industrial processes regulated under Integrated Pollution Control (IPC). However, it is now being extended to the monitoring of emissions to air and water from EPR (Environmental Permitting Regulations) installations. John advised process operators not to wait for the EA to visit, but to “download the guidance from the EA web site now – and get on with it!”
Jeff Ruddle, Accreditation Manager (Environment) at UKAS gave a presentation outlining a pilot project for accreditation to BS EN14181 – Quality Assurance for automated monitoring systems. The pilot project will enable UKAS to test the suitability of assessment criteria and provide stakeholders with confidence in the value of accreditation for this activity. If the project is successful, all participants (there are 16 applicants) will receive accreditation in December 2010.
He also expressed concern with the number of instances in which UKAS, stakeholders and process operators had not been satisfied with work undertaken by a significant number of stack emissions testing organisations, largely as a result of their failure to follow correct procedures. Consequently, he said, “We will be increasing the frequency of unannounced visits and will also raise awareness of the importance of following correct procedures and accreditation. Furthermore, we will instigate a process whereby sanctions are published so that process operators are better informed in their choice of monitoring provider.”
Reflecting on UKAS’s experience to-date in the accreditation of various monitoring standards he said, “The employment of an MCERTS approved contractor does not absolve the process operator of all responsibilities relating to the quality of monitoring that is undertaken on its own site.”
The EA’s Rob Gemmill provided an update on implementation of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in the UK, with particular emphasis on the requirements for monitoring, reporting and verification. This included reference to some of the latest developments concerning aviation, carbon capture and storage and the revised version of the EU ETS (Emission Trading System) Directive that is due to take effect from 2013.
He described the tools that have been made available to assist those affected by the EU ETS. For example, web sites for quick and easy access to documents such as a guide to the EU Monitoring and Reporting Guidelines, standard forms, FAQs etc. These aids have been developed as part of a collaborative approach which has been important for promoting efficient and consistent delivery, and which is ultimately key to generating a level playing field.
He also made reference to the role and importance of independent verification of monitoring activities including the identification of any necessary improvements. He explained that the Agency is looking for continuous improvement of monitoring plans, better preparation for verification, improved QA/QC procedures and prompt reporting.
This presentation included a summary of the steps for UK implementation of the EU ETS and a further slide provided an overview of the EU ETS compliance cycle – view his presentation on the STA web site for more information.
Rod Robinson from NPL delivered a presentation in which he reviewed the requirements for monitoring under the current and proposed emissions trading schemes and assessed the role that direct emission measurements will play in support of such schemes.
It is now over ten years since the EA launched its MCERTS scheme for Continuous Emission Monitors (CEMs). Since then, manufacturers have succeeded in achieving certification for dozens of types of CEMs, whilst the scheme has both evolved internationally and expanded in scope. The Agency’s Rick Gould examined the development of MCERTS, outlining the impact of new international standards within the context of recent EC legislative developments. For example, the new quality assurance standard that specifies performance standards EN 15267-3 (Air quality. Certification of automated measuring systems. Part 3) is based on the aligned MCERTS and German schemes and was published just 2 days prior to MCERTS 2009.
Mike Woodfield from AEA Technology provided an examination of the new BS EN ISO 11771 standard ‘Air Quality: Determination of time averaged mass emissions and emissions factors – general approach.’ He explained how this will improve the emissions data used to develop air pollution and climate change policies on a national and international level. The presentation also outlined how the new standard is likely to generate new business opportunities for stack testers.
Around 80 workshops ran over the two days, covering almost every air monitoring theme.
Almost every commonly monitored parameter was covered in one or more of the workshops providing practical help and advice on how best to achieve compliance. However, somewhat surprisingly Mercury monitoring featured heavily amongst the workshop themes. Evidently, this was because of recent initiatives in the United States which many believed will prompt similar monitoring requirements in Europe. Workshops covering various techniques for mercury monitoring were given by Quantitech, Thermo Fisher, PS Analytical and Durag.
|Quantitech’s Dr Gareth Pearson (who is completely sane) ran workshops on both days of the MCERTS event outlining the latest technology for the measurement of mercury in stack gas emissions. Presentations Here!|
Quantitech Managing Director Keith Golding said, “This year we took a strategic decision to dedicate our stand to mercury monitoring. However, we were delighted to receive enquiries for our other emissions monitoring equipment as well as mercury testing equipment. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lindsay Holcroft from Teledyne Leeman Labs in the United States who flew in to run a workshop on the Appendix K sorbent tube method for mercury monitoring and to Timo Rajamäki and Ilkka Salomaa from Gasmet who travelled from Finland to deliver a workshop presentation on Gasmet’s continuous mercury monitor.”
“Once again MCERTS provided us with the opportunity to catch up with customers and to meet with all of the key players in the development of new standards for environmental monitoring.”
In common with the last MCERTS event, multiparameter analysis by FTIR featured heavily amongst the workshops but 2009 also saw presentations on new technologies such as Quantum Cascade Laser which was launched by Air Monitors. Stephen Hoskin from the company said: “The reaction to the launch was very positive with potential end users being very enthusiastic. Although not commercially available until testing is completed several high profile organisations have registered an interest. The well focused delegate list at MCERTS 2009 makes the show the best place to launch new products.”
Matthew Wright from Environmental Compliance hosted one of the most popular workshops at the Bretby Conference Centre with his presentation on Operator Monitoring Assessment (OMA version 3). He summarised key issues for operators to be aware of, including: sampling facilities, measuring techniques and performance characteristics.
Ray Pullen of Envirocare tackled the subject of ‘Overcoming technical hurdles on the journey towards a workable PPC permit’ in a presentation which also attracted several direct leads for the company.
Other popular workshop sessions included Odournet’s presentation on UKAS accreditation for odour sampling and Testo’s session on how to take better measurements with portable flue gas analysers.
Presentations also covered monitoring for VOCs, particulates, direct NO2, SO2 and other sulphur compounds.
A wide range of regulatory requirements and monitoring standards were also addressed, including LCPD, WID, EN14181, EN15267 and OMA.
Many different monitoring applications were discussed, including laboratory analysis, gas sampling and conditioning, emissions monitoring, flue gas analysis, toxic gas detection, workplace, fenceline and ambient air quality.
All exhibitors commented on the quality of visitors to the event. Many also commended the relaxed atmosphere that is enhanced by the availability of free parking, food and refreshments.
Much of the focus at MCERTS 2009 was on instrumentation, but with capital expenditure budgets under pressure during the current downturn in the economy, many companies are seeking to hire equipment. James Carlyle from specialist instrument rental company Ashtead Technology reported brisk business at the company’s stand, adding: “Environmental monitoring and testing for occupational health and safety are activities that have to take place irrespective of economic conditions. However, instrument hire provides the opportunity to employ the best available technology without incurring the greatest possible cost, so we received a high level of enquiries for products such as the Horiba PG250 multiparameter stack gas analyser, the Bernath FID, the Crowcon Laser Methane detector and the MiniRAE toxic gas detector.”
Jim Budd, Sales Engineer for Enviro Technology Services, said that this year’s exhibition had been the busiest MCERTS event he had attended. He explained: “I’ve been to three or four now and this year looks like it has been the busiest yet. It is a great opportunity to meet with existing and potential customers and has been a successful event all-round.”
Air Liquide’s Business Development Manager David Hurren was also delighted with his company’s MCERTS 2009 experience: “It proved to be a fantastic forum to meet existing customers and to have discussions with new contacts who are interested in our range of products and services. Of all the exhibitions across industry I have attended, the event at Bretby is quite special, and is very well focused for suppliers and visitors. The fact that it is biennial gives time for new developments and the whole team was very positive about the outcome.”
Gary Noakes, Project Manager at Casella, also praised the turnout: “It has been busy on the floor and the ‘quality’ of the visitors is very high. Virtually every company relating to the air and emissions monitoring sector is here under one roof.” Gary’s comments were supported by those of Colin Blackmore of SICK who said: “This is the only event we exhibit at and this year, especially on the first day, it was extremely busy. The calibre of delegates MCERTS attracts is usually very high and this year is no exception.”
The exhibition met with the approval of hundreds of visitors who attended the two day event. For example, Duncan Papworth from Interconnector said: “It is an excellent choice of venue with a wide cross section of exhibitors representing the air and emissions monitoring industry. I also found the workshops informative and very worthwhile. I think it has been one of the most successful exhibitions so far this year.”
Another visitor, Maurizio Migliori from TCR Tecora commented, “The MCERTS events are a great initiative. To have all the major UK market players gathering together in one place for two days is very effective. I found the Gala Dinner to be very enjoyable and an excellent opportunity for networking with other members of the air monitoring community. With regard to the Conference and Workshops, I found the presentations on EN15267, Mercury CEMS and lab analysis of particular interest.”
During the event PCME, the manufacturer of continuous particle emissions monitors, was awarded a cheque for £500 from the organisers for generating the highest level of delegate registrations.
MCERTS 2011 will take place on 6th/7th April 2011