NEWS

July 15, 2014

GEM Customer Using Mobile Vapor Control to Earn Emissions Reduction Credits

Air quality in and around Houston, Texas has steadily improved over the past few years, in part thanks to  the compliance efforts by industry to adhere to the pollution standards established by the federal Clean Air Act of 1970 (CAA) and additional regulations enforced by the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ).   The CAA regulates air emissions and includes a permitting component whereby industry must obtain approval for their activities that produce hazardous emissions including volatile organic compounds (VOC’s).

As a designated nonattainment zone for ground level ozone, the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria (HGB) area of Texas is subject to some of the tightest air standards in the country.  With the increase in production of domestic crude oil, the area has witnessed unprecedented growth of petroleum logistics and handling facilities including pipelines and terminals, all built to accommodate the increased crude oil volumes.  Expanded or new petroleum handling facilities are subjected to the environmental credit trading program, requiring them to procure Emissions Reduction Credits (ERC’s) to off-set their facilities emissions footprint.  Until credits are secured, a facility permit to construct or expand will not be granted by the state.

The cost of ERC’s is region-specific, but in the HGB area they have skyrocketed from $6,500 to over $300,000 per credit in just under 3 years.  High cost and availability of ERC’s has prevented some in industry from building or expanding, forcing some to get creative to avoid the high cost of ERC’s.  One example of creativity is a GEM customer who is using mobile vapor control equipment for the unregulated event of product refill activity and therefore earning emissions credits for each vapor control event.  With the tonnage gain, they are applying the “freed up” credits to the expansion efforts of one of their adjacent facilities.  Very specifically, GEM’s customer has targeted the largest tanks in their terminal and with each product refill event, once vapor controlled with GEM Vapor Combustor, they can take credit for preventing up to 5 tons of VOC’s from being released to the atmosphere.  Over a 12 month period, they expect to vapor control over 40 events, generating approximately 200 tons of ERC’s, with the intent to use the credits for future expansion.

For industry to thrive in an ever-competitive marketplace, those applying innovative concepts to daily business practices will rise to the top.  Long gone are the days where industry is satisfied to simply survive by reacting to rules imposed by the regulatory community.  By using Mobile Vapor Control as an option for emissions credit capture, one such GEM customer is proving why they are the pinnacle of success in their industry.

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