Conference on Emissions Monitoring, Lisbon, Portugal, 18-20 May 2016 and mercury method development

The IEA CCC established the first ever Conference on Emissions Monitoring (CEM) at the National Physics Laboratory in London back in 1997, never expecting it to be more than a one-off event. A full 19 years later and it has just had its 12th meeting in the beautiful and sunny city of Lisbon in Portugal. With over 400 delegates from 44 countries, there is no denying that the event is now a stalwart of the monitoring and compliance industry. The IEA CCC remained on the organising committee for many years but recently have somewhat distanced ourselves as the remit for CEM, encompassing emissions from all sources, including shipping, and incorporating training and standards development, has diverged somewhat from our own.

As for this year’s CEM meeting in Lisbon, the event was an overwhelming success. The only complaint I heard from an exhibitor was that they had been too busy with potential new clients – not a bad complaint to have. The talks were well presented and well attended and, for the first time ever at a CEM meeting, there were break-out sessions to run parallel meetings on mercury emissions and low level particulate emissions. The next full CEM meeting will be in Budapest in September 2018 and details will be provided on soon.

To take advantage of the presence of numerous international experts, Karl Wilbur from Tekran hosted a side event on the future of mercury monitoring in the EU and the USA. The meeting was attended by representatives from TUV Rheinland, DNV GL, the US EPA, Lumex, Tekran, Sick and Uniper. The discussion was open and varied and concentrated on the challenges faced internationally. The USA established mercury reduction requirements several years ago and, although they are still subject to legal challenges, the standards are promulgated and most plants already have mercury monitoring systems or are installing these as a matter of urgency. The EU, which has arguably less of a mercury challenge due to the early and extensive requirements for FGD across all coal-fired plants, has only recently moved towards setting a mercury emission limit and monitoring requirements. Under the new BREFs (best available technology reference documents), to be voted on later this year, there is an annual monitoring requirement for mercury and challenging new emission limits (between 1 and 4 micrograms/m3 for some plants). And so there is an emerging market in the EU for mercury monitoring and control. The meeting therefore focussed on several talking points, including:

• What are the true drivers of the regulations? Health, environment, politics, economics?

• What are the reporting requirements and associated data acquisition and handling system (DAHS) requirements? What regulatory agencies require reports and compliance?

• Are there proven methods to monitor and verify the emissions measurements?  What are the issues?

• Proven monitoring technologies – based on what? TUV, site “Olympics”, laboratory comparisons?

• Similar applications for Hg CEMS in different source categories? Coal-fired power plants, cement, incineration, steel, other?

• Monitoring approach – real-time, grab sample, other?

• Traceability/standards for measurements

• Relative Accuracy Test Audits (RATA), methods and bases

• QA/QC requirements for CEM Systems

• Reporting methods and formats, CEMS DAHS – automation of reporting and regulatory “reception”.

• Communications between measurements and reporting systems

• “Percent Monitoring Availability” (PMA) requirements

• Training for Owner/Operators

• Capital and operating costs of Hg CEMS (Tttal cost of ownership)

• Will the Hg CEMS be employed for both compliance and Hg abatement systems monitoring and performance?

The conclusions of the meeting did not, by any means, answer all of the above questions, but there was a consensus of unified needs:

• Better understanding of potential mercury emissions and monitoring regulations in the EU and beyond

• Discussion of potential challenges, with input from other countries where tightened Hg emissions regulations are in place or imminent

• Development of additional relationships fostering future related communications.

These challenges are also being considered by the UNEP Coal Partnership as we move towards ratification of the Minamata Convention. Those interested in follow-up on any of these topics should ensure that they are enrolled in the partnership to be kept up to date with all developments:

Interested parties are also encouraged to pencil the dates 28 Feb – 4 March 2017 into their diaries as this will be the 12th IEA CCC Mercury Emissions from Coal meeting and it will be held in the stunning Kruger Gate Hotel on the edge of the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga, South Africa. The workshop website will be available from the CCC website ( within the next few weeks followed by the call for papers. MEC has established itself as the world’s foremost meeting for experts involved in mercury monitoring and control from coal-fired power plants and we look forward to having you join us.