Everything You Need to Know about Noise Pollution

How to limit the noise propagation (not only in Oil and Gas). Risks and countermeasures of a phenomenon as important as universally underrated.

The noise pollution’s matter has become a well-documented public domain anthology by now.

The World Health Organisation has reported that 40% of Europe’s population is exposed to noise levels in excess of 55dB. Moreover, noise pollution is ranked as second to air pollution, in terms of affecting our health and wellbeing, including diabetes, tinnitus and risk of heart disease.

Noise pollution in Oil and Gas

According to recent study achieved by PSE Healthy Energy and West Virginia University, some modern Oil and Gas techniques – such hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) – produce noise that may increase adverse effects on human health. 

A fracking well in Colorado, pictured in 2012

Fracking can create noise at levels high enough to harm the health of people living nearby (source phys.org). “Oil and gas operations produce a complex symphony of noise types, including intermittent and continuous sounds and varying intensities,” argued PSE Healthy Energy Executive Director Seth Shonkoff.

A adequate set of policies should be specified, in order to safeguard residents and communities, such particularly vulnerable populations (e.g. schools and hospitals). Noise mitigation techniques like perimeter sound walls, noise barriers and acoustic enclosures could represent the most appropriate solutions to hold back this phenomenon.

Noise impact on marine species

This is not all. A recent study led by International Fund for Animal Welfare, reveals the damaging impact of Oil

Noise pollution can damage marine species

and Gas noise pollution on whales and dolphins. In the report, they put in evidence how new technologies should reduce their impact on marine environment during the exploration phase (source: International Fund for Animal Welfare).


Noise and Diseases

Numerous epidemiological studies have linked noise to adverse health outcomes too. They include diabetes, depression, birth complications and cognitive impairment in children.

In facts, apart from damage to hearing, exposure to excessive and constant noise can cause other health problems including:

  • Headache
  • Sleep and heart disease
  • Stress
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Digestive disorders
  • Increased susceptibility to colds and other minor infections

Noise in Europe: limits and human tolerance

As we know, the loudness of noise is measured in decibels. Sensitivity to noise differs from one individual to the next, but experts believe that damage to hearing occurs when noise levels are higher than 85 decibels, which is about the loudness of heavy traffic.

Every year, 7 million people in Europe die from heart disease, that would put the toll from exposure to noise at around 210,000 deaths. In England heart disease kills 110,000 people annually, so the deaths linked to noise could be around 3,300.

2% of Europeans suffer severely disturbed sleep because of noise pollution. The researchers calculate that chronic exposure to loud traffic noise causes three per cent of all cases of tinnitus, in which sufferers hear constant noise. Length of exposure is important too. In facts, it is not recommendable to listen to noises of 109 decibels for any longer than two minutes in row.

Noise and public health in U.S.

In US the noise phenomena has been studied deeply, causing a direct response by public healthThe Health Impacts Project (HIP) provides since 2013 guidance for policy makers to identify the health consequences of potential projects by making public a national sample of health impact assessment.

Exposure Limits in U.S.

The U.S. EPA recommends an average 24-hr exposure limit of 55 A-weighted decibels (dBA) to protect the public from all adverse effects on health and welfare in residential areas. This limit is a day–night 24-hr average noise level (LDN), with a 10-dBA penalty applied to nighttime levels between 2200 and 0700 hours to account for sleep disruption and no penalty applied to daytime levels.

More info about the Noise sources and Soundproofing solutions in industrial sector can be found here.



How Industrial Silencers work in HVAC systems

Crucial factors to take in account when silencers have to be installed in HVAC plants.

One of the most frequent application of soundproofing technology (like Acoustic Louvers and Intake Silencers) encompasses definitely the installation on HVAC plants. These installations release sound emission into the environment, often exceeding the allowed thresholds.

That’s because of the noise created by airflow produced by motors or fan. In other cases, the sound waves tend to break out through the walls of the ductwork and spill out into a room. Often, the noise travels the length of the ductwork and spill out the mouth at the vent.

Acoustic EnclosuresAccording to their functions, these machines are arranged in outdoor places, like courtyards and terraces. Hence, the first step is to evaluate the area in which the HVAC systems should be set. That means an accurate mapping process of noise propagation, including ventilation of buildings, enclosures, and equipment rooms. Integration of noise control measures such as silencers and louvers, into the system design requires careful consideration of space constraints, fan selection and aerodynamic pressure losses.

The need is, one one hand, to reduce the noise generated by air or gas flow. On the other, to avoid of compromising the air or gas flow itself, with keeping the pressure drop as low as possible too. For these reason the Stopson Acoustic Louvers, Intake Silencers and Acoustic Enclosures can be considered suitable for these multiple industrial applications. The silencers can be added on the ventilation circuit and combined with the machine, in order to completely acoustically isolate it in any direction.

The HVAC silencers are an excellent choice for applications requiring maximum insertion loss (noise reduction), low static pressure drop, low maintenance, and quick delivery. Stopson’s offer encompasses the design and engineering assistance to integrate the HVAC system with its attenuators. Both ready-made silencers and custom built solutions are offered. The benefits are: durability, surface finishing, ease to operate.

ventilation silencer

Why control of noise is so important in manufacturing

The main principles that affects the engineering process of a soundproofed plant

The noise pollution is considered nowadays a crucial aspect in the selection and construction of manufacturing plants.

Noise is defined as, “the unwanted, unpleasant or disagreeable sound that causes discomfort to all living beings”. One dB is the faintest sound that a human ear can hear. Unless levels are above 85 decibels, noise pollution should not be a problem in the workplace. Federal occupational safety and health mandates state that if the noise produced by heavy machinery or equipment is in excess of these levels, employers must control noise pollution through engineering and administrative controls.

The environmental noise has been doubling every ten years; The Indian Institute of Oto-Rino Laryngology, Chennai reported, in facts, that increasing industrial pollution damages the hearing ability by at least 20%.

Workers in steel industry, who work close to heavy industrial blowers are exposed to 112dB for eight hours suffer from occupational pollution.

Noise is classified as: Industrial Noise, Transport  Noise and Neighbourhood noise. The first one is caused by industry machines, and it entails noise pollution caused by machines from machines in various factories, plants (e.g. Power Generation and Oil & Gas), industries and mills.

The preceding step to the selection and design of control measures, is to identify and carefully evaluate the noise sources. In order to set up the control strategy with the right approach, the following factors need be considered:

  • Type of sound
  • Noise levels and temporal pattern
  • Frequency distribution
  • Noise sources (location, power, directivity)
  • Noise propagation pathways, through air or through structure
  • Room acoustics (reverberation)

Additionally, other crucial factors have to be determined, such number of exposed workers, type of work, amount of time spent to the noise’s exposure etc. Where possible, noise levels should be evaluated at locations occupied by workers’ ears.

The noise control planning is based on a “A-weighted immission” (or noise exposure levels) for which the respect of standard ISO 11690-1 is recommended.

Any noise problem may be described in terms of source, transmission path and a receiver (e.g., a worker); thus a noise control plant needs to take into account the relative combinations of this different factors.

The better phase to project a soundproofing system lies in the original design. In fact, when noise control is included in the first design of a new plant (or factory), advantages both in terms of overall performance and costs’ reduction arise.

When noise cannot be controlled to an acceptable level at the source, attempts has to directed to control it at some point during its propagation path. For this reason, an important part of the process consists to identify noise sources and to sort them in terms of contributions to excessive noise.

When the requirements for noise control have been quantified, and sources ranked, it’s possible to consider various options for implementing the control, determining the cost effectiveness of the various options. Generally speaking, some studies put in evidence that the cost of enclosing a noise source is much greater than modifying the source or process producing the noise.

Stopson Italiana produces fully customized solutions for all type of plants and applications: Boilers, Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG), Turbomachinery, Venting systems, Combustion engines and Industrial equipments.

Check it out http://stopson.it/applications/

crude oil price production

Crude Oil Price: a “mindful” growing confidence for 2017

Expectations and confidence: Goldman Sachs (GS) on the new Donald Trump policy to support crude oil prices.

Initially Donald Trump’s victory, the strengthening dollar, rising US crude oil rigs, and high crude oil, gasoline, and distillate inventories could limit the upside for prices.

Goldman Sachs (GS) expects that successful implementation of OPEC (Organization of the Oil Exporting Countries). Non-OPEC producers’ plan to cut production will reduce the oversupply in the market and support crude oil prices.
Goldman Sachs expects Brent to average $58 per barrel in 2017—compared to its previous forecast of $51.50 per barrel. Likewise, it expects WTI crude oil prices to average $57.50 per barrel for the same period.
However, a recent Reuters report may be showing there was more to the decision to cut production. While the supply imbalance was first the main reason for the cut, now reports are surfacing that prior production levels may have been testing capacity limits.

The Reduction forecast

OPEC agreed to slash the output by 1.2 million barrels/day from Jan. 1, with top exporter Saudi Arabia cutting as much as 486,000 barrels/day.
Non-OPEC oil producers (such as Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, Sudan, and South Sudan) agreed to reduce output by 558,000 barrels/day. And this latter starting from Jan. 1, 2017 for six months, to take into account prevailing market conditions and prospects.
Nevertheless, the successful implementation of Donald Trump’s energy policies would lead to a rise in US crude oil production. The rise in non-OPEC production in 2017 would also pressure crude oil prices. A Wall Street Journal survey of major banks predicts that US and Brent prices will average $54 per barrel and $56 per barrel in 2017, respectively. It’s $1 per barrel more than the previous estimates.
Let’s see in June which effects of this policy in the oil market.