SOLA Flare Makes Compliance Easier

April 4, 2008
California Often Leads the Way in Environmental Legislation

For example, Rule 1118 of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) mandates Southern California refineries to monitor flare vent gases for total sulfur content. A customer from one of those refineries approached Thermo Fisher Scientific and requested the company propose a solution. The customer wanted Thermo Fisher to produce a product capable of measuring total sulfur in flare gas applications based on real-time response to rapid compositional changes in the flare feed gas. The product also needed to provide a solution for potential sample condensation. To top it off, the product had to be capable of a required measuring range from 10 ppm/vol to 150,000 ppm/vol (15%).

Making a single analyzer with such a wide range and produce readings with the accuracy required to meet the rule presented a chllenging opportunity.

In response to this request, then, Thermo Fisher piloted a product called the Thermo Scientific SOLA Flare based on the SOLA II (Sulfur On Line Analyzer) product line. The new SOLA Flare consists of two analyzers—one low-range and one high-range in an integrated enclosure. The SOLA II is an online adaptation of the ASTM Method D5453 “Determination of Total Sulfur in Light Hydrocarbons, Motor Fuels and Oils by Ultraviolet Fluorescence” and ISO Method 20846 “Petroleum Products – Determination of Sulfur Content of Automotive Fuels – Ultraviolet Fluorescence Method.”

The SOLA II employs pulsed ultraviolet fluorescence spectrometry, PUVF, for determination of total sulfur. To determine the total sulfur content of hydrocarbon samples by PUVF all organically bound sulfur must be converted to sulfur dioxide, SO2. Irradiation of SO2 with a specific wavelength of ultraviolet light, hv1, will form an electronically excited form of sulfur dioxide, SO2*. The SO2* will relax to its ground state, SO2, by emission (fluorescence) of light at a slightly different wavelength, hv2. The intensity of the emitted light, hv2, is directly proportional to the total sulfur content of the sample.

Thermo Fisher conducted tests throughout 2006 and, according to Clive Walker, product manager for the SOLA product line, has demonstrated successfully the product’s ability to meet customers’ requirements in a prominent West Coast refinery.

“We have a strong track record for accuracy and precision in sulfur-content monitoring and analysis, and the SOLA Flare will now ensure regulatory compliance for an even greater number of refining customers,” Walker said. “Not only does our new analyzer monitor toxic emissions into the atmosphere, but it also meets our customers’ requirements for speed, reliability, a dynamic measurement range and challenging sample analysis.”

The new SOLA Flare is a total sulfur analyzer system specifically designed for online measurement and monitoring of flare feed gas. It gives users the ability to pinpoint in real time when an unscheduled flare event starts and when it ends for greater regulatory compliance.

According to Walker, the online analysis features of the SOLA Flare make it possible for refineries and related facilities to minimize emissions penalties by accurately monitoring the duration of flare events. The unit has real-time monitoring and analysis capabilities that enable users to take immediate action and make corrections without waiting for lab analysis. The SOLA Flare is designed for regulatory compliance and helps minimize fines for releasing sulfur compounds into the atmosphere. For more information visit or call 800-437-7979.