TEG units emit both air and ground pollutants. Several known VOC’s, volatile organic compounds, such as propane, benzene, and formaldehyde occur in natural gas and are emitted from TEG units. VOC’s can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, and even damage to your liver, kidney and central nervous system . Triethylene glycol, the desiccant used in TEG units, is also used in anti-freeze and brake fluid. Triethylene glycol spills kill any living organisms spilt on. TEG units also emit HAPs, hazardous air pollutants, which cause or may cause cancer and other serious health effects, including birth defects, and adverse environmental and ecological effects . BTEX, or benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylenes are carcinogens and are also emitted from TEG units. According to a study done by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, all four components of BTEX can produce neurological impairment. In addition, benzene can cause hematological effects which may lead to aplastic anemia and the development of acute myelogenous leukemia .
In addition to the HAP’s, VOC’s and BTEX emitted from TEG units, an outrageous amount of methane is also emitted. According to the EPA, methane has a 21 times greater greenhouse effect than carbon dioxide. The annual methane emissions from dehydrators alone are over 12 billion cubic feet, which is equivalent to 4.8 million tons of carbon dioxide, or 933,000 car emissions. One TEG unit emits an average of 4,562 Mcf/year of methane, being equivalent to 354 cars emissions. The EPA states a reduction in methane by 99% using a desiccant dehydrator, or PDS unit, over a glycol dehydrator. Croft’s PDS has an annual release of 23.34 Mcf/year of methane, or 0.002 cars annually. Unlike the TEG unit, all waste in a PDS unit is condensed into a non-hazardous brine solution and safely disposed of. The PDS unit allows for the conservation of natural resources, a reduction in environmental and health liabilities, eliminates permitting for air emissions, and the emissions themselves while complying with all state and federal environmental regulations. The environmental aspect alone is enough to convert from a TEG unit to PDS.
- 2012, “An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ),” Environmental Protection Agency. http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html#Health_Effects
- 2012, “Pollutants and Sources,” Environmental Protection Agency.http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/pollsour.html
- S. Bosch, S. Wilbur, 2004, “Interaction Profile For: Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylenes (BTEX),” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/interactionprofiles/IP-btex/ip05.pdf