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Boiler room regulations

Boiler room regulations: important dates to ensure conformity with the decree of 3 August 2018


Until now, fixed gas detection was not compulsory for all boiler rooms, because the detection threshold was fixed at 2MW.

Decree no. 2018-704 published in France on 3 August 2018 lowers that threshold to 1MW.

In other words, for all boiler rooms with thermal power of between 1 and 2MW, you have until 20 December 2019 to make your system compliant!


Sources of new regulations for boiler rooms

Despite a significant reduction in pollutant atmospheric emissions over the past few decades, the situation remains concerning in many European regions. Scientific evaluations shown that the life expectancy of EU citizens is reduced by eight months on average due to atmospheric pollution. In many regions of Europe, air quality standards are not aligned with the targets set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

European Directive no. 2015/2193 concerning MCPs (Medium Combustion Plants) lays down rules to control emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and dust into the air from medium combustion plants to reduce the potential risks to human health and the environment. It also monitors carbon monoxide (CO) emissions.

France has transposed this limit on pollutant atmospheric emissions from combustion plants into French law via decree no. 2018-704 dated 3 August 2018.

Impact on existing boiler rooms with thermal power of between 1MW and 2MW and on all new boiler rooms

Boiler room decree: dates
Boiler room decree: dates

To limit emissions of certain pollutants into the air from medium combustion plants, more stringent values than those of the current regulations will apply as of 20 December 2018.

In concrete terms, French decree no. 2018-704 dated 3 August 2018 modifies the list of ICPEs (environmentally sensitive facilities), in particular section 2910 on combustion facilities: the major change is the definition of the nominal thermal power of medium combustion plants, which is lowered from 2MW to 1MW.

Reminder of the provisions laid down in the decree

Under article 2.13 on fuel supply, the fuel supply networks are designed and produced so as to reduce the risk of leaks, especially in confined spaces. There needs to be an independent system for shutting off the supply, located outside of the buildings.

    “For facilities that use combustibles gases, the gas supply is shut off via two automatic valves (1), placed in series on the gas supply pipe. Each of these valves is controlled by a gas detection sensor (2) and a pressure switch (3). These valves shut off the combustible gas supply if a gas leak is detected. The entire automatic shut-off chain (detection, signal transmission, closure of the gas supply) is tested periodically. Operators must be able to clearly identify the open and closed position of these mechanisms.”

    (1) Automatic valve: maximum reliability level
    (2) Gas detection sensor: back-up is ensured by the presence of at least two sensors.
    (3) Pressure switch: this device is capable of detecting a pressure drop in the pipes. Its threshold is as high as possible, given the operating constraints.

Under article 2.16 on Gas detection – Fire detection, all boiler rooms with nominal thermal power of more than 1MV must be fitted with a gas detection device and a fire detection device.

More than 60% above the Lower Explosive Limit, the gas detection device must be capable of:
- triggering a warning as per a defined procedure (danger thresholds exceeded)
- shutting off the fuel supply (automatic servo valves)
- shutting off the electrical power supply (except for ATEX equipment, low-voltage equipment and emergency lighting)

    “A gas detection device which triggers a warning if the danger thresholds are exceeded, as per a defined procedure, is set up in facilities that use combustible gas and are operated without permanent supervision or are located underground. This device shuts off the fuel supply and the electrical power, except for power supply to equipment items designed to operate in explosive atmospheres, very low-voltage supplies and emergency lighting, in such a way that this manoeuvre does not cause arcing or produce a spark that could trigger an explosion.”

Servicing & maintenance of boiler rooms

Certified bodies need to perform mandatory periodic inspections every two years for boilers with nominal power of between 400kW and 20MW with a fuel supply (liquid, gas, coal or lignite). Their aim is to check the energy efficiency of these boiler rooms and their pollutant emissions.
To guarantee the safety of people and the facilities, it is also important to inspect and service the entire automatic shut-off chain once a year (gas detection, signal transmission, closure of the gas supply).

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