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On July 21, 2017 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register proposed updates to the EPA's Air Pollution Control Cost Manual (Control Cost Manual). More specifically, EPA is proposing updates to Section 3.1 "Carbon Adsorbers" and Section 3.2 "Flares".

The EPA Control Cost Manual is used by the EPA to determine cost impacts of pending rule makings. It is also used by industry to estimate costs of installing and operating air pollution control equipment while conducting Best Available Control Technology (BACT) analyses under the New Source Review (NSR) permitting program, and determining whether or not a particular control device is cost effective. The currently proposed updates follow former updates to other sections in the manual covering Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction (SNCR) and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems.

Updates to the Carbon Adsorbers section of the Control Cost Manual include:

  • Added equation for calculating surface area of a carbon adsorption vessel
  • Added equation to calculate capital recovery factor
  • Added equation for cost effectiveness ($ per ton of volatile organic compound removal)
  • Working example of cost calculations is presented in a more thorough, line-by-line style and uses more modern parameter values
  • Updates to descriptions and general administrative updates

Updates to the Flares section of the Control Cost Manual include:

  • Slight change in constant values for flare tip maximum allowable exit velocity equation
  • Updates to several equations to accommodate variable net heating value target values, which are dependent on which federal regulation applies to the flare being analyzed
  • Added "Flare Sweep or Purge Gas" write-up
  • Increased maximum commercially available flare tip diameter from 90 inches to 120 inches
  • Table 1.4 has an updated vessel thickness value of 0.55 inches (rather than 50.5 inches) for flare tip diameters measuring between 72 and 108 inches
  • Costs are represented in 2014 dollars scaled up from 2000 flare vendor data
  • Added brief discussion of flare pilot monitoring and gas collection header costs
  • Equipment cost equation now includes monitor cost
  • More thorough analysis of operating requirements in the cost analysis example
  • Updates to descriptions and general administrative updates

EPA is requesting comments regarding the following specific questions related to carbon adsorbers and flares:

  • What is a reasonable estimate of equipment life (defined as design or operational life) for this control measure?
  • Is the description of the control device complete, up-to-date, and accurate, particularly with regard to control of VOC?
  • Are the cost correlations, factors, and equations for the control devices accurate? If not, how should they be revised? Please provide data, if possible, to address inaccuracies.
  • Are the estimates of VOC destruction efficiency accurate? If not, what are the more accurate estimates? Please provide data, if possible, to address inaccuracies.

EPA will accept comments on the proposal (Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0341) through October 19, 2017, online at