Overview of the Multi-Sector Air Pollutants Regulations: part 1

Part 1 - Boilers and Heaters

Why is the government regulating boilers and heaters?

Some boilers and heaters are significant sources of NOX, and the MSAPR will generate substantial emission reductions and associated benefits to human health and the environment.


What is a boiler or heater?

For the purposes of the MSAPR, a boiler burns gaseous fossil fuels, such as natural gas, and transfers the thermal energy released by that combustion to water, steam or another fluid for use in industrial processes or heating. A heater directly heats the material being processed. Boilers and heaters are typically comprised of a combustion chamber, burners, a pressure vessel (only for boilers), and control/monitoring equipment. In the MSAPR, an incinerator is not considered a heater.


Which industrial facilities are covered by the Boilers and Heaters Part of the MSAPR?

The MSAPR apply to large boilers and heaters at facilities in many industrial sectors (aluminium and alumina; base metal smelting; cement; chemicals and fertilizers; electricity; iron ore pellets; iron, steel and ilmenite; natural gas transmission pipeline; oil sands; potash; pulp and paper; and upstream oil and gas). Most of the boilers and heaters are located in the oil sands and upstream oil and gas sectors. Approximately 820 pre-existing boilers and heaters will be subject to the MSAPR, nearly half of which are in the oil sands sector.

Boilers and heaters in facilities in other sectors (e.g., the commercial, residential, institutional, petroleum refining and other industrial sectors) are not subject to the MSAPR.


What are the performance standards for boilers and heaters?

The performance standards in the MSAPR depend on several factors:

  • whether the equipment is existing (called “pre-existing” in the MSAPR), redesigned, transitional, or new (called “modern” in the MSAPR)
  • whether it is a boiler or a heater
  • the type of fuel it combusts (i.e. either natural gas or alternative gas)
  • for a heater, the amount of air preheat
  • for a boiler, its efficiency

The performance standards range from 16 grams of NOX per gigajoule of energy input (g/GJ) for a new boiler or heater that burns natural gas and has an efficiency of 80%, to 40 g/GJ for a large transitional boiler.


Are all pre-existing boilers and heaters subject to the MSAPR?

No, the MSAPR apply to pre-existing equipment at facilities in the Air Quality Management System (AQMS) industrial sectors. We estimate that only a small number of those boilers and heaters will need to be refurbished with NOX control technology, but that this will lead to significant reductions in emissions.


How much will the MSAPR reduce emissions from boilers and heaters?

The MSAPR will result in emission reductions across Canada. The size of equipment and the amount of time that it operates will determine the size of the reductions from each unit. Between 2016 and 2035, it is estimated that there will be a 99 kt reduction in NOX emissions due to these Regulations. The expected benefit is valued at around $410 million.


How do the performances standards for boilers and heaters compare to those in the U.S.?

The performance standards in the Regulations are of comparable stringency to those required for similar equipment in many areas of the U.S. Some states, such as California, have more stringent requirements; other states do not regulate NOX emissions from gas-fired boilers and heaters.


How can industry comply with the requirements for boilers and heaters?

We anticipate that industry will be able to comply with the MSAPR by replacing the burners in their existing equipment with low-NOX burners. There is a range of readily available technologies from manufacturers within North America that can be used to meet these performance standards. The total estimated cost to industry to comply with the Regulations is around $87 million, between 2016 and 2035.

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