On September 24, 2021, the Ministry of Environment (MOE) of South Korea issued a legislative notice of partial amendment to the Enforcement Rules of the Clean Air Conservation Ac to improve and supplement the current regulations on air emission facilities by: 1) adding gas heat pumps to the list of air emission facilities to control them in a phased manner; and 2) amending the declaration deadlines for decomposed organic fertilizer production facilities as air emission facilities. Under the proposed amendment, gas heat pumps will be required to be declared as air emission facilities from July 1, 2022 for new facilities and by December 31, 2024 for existing facilities while they will be exempted from the control if they meet some requirements. The deadline for declaration as air emission facilities will also be applied to decomposed organic fertilizer production facilities in a phased manner by facility condition.
Proposed amendment to the Enforcement Rules of the Clean Air Conservation Act:
The major content of the proposed amendment are as follows.
Phased control of gas heat pumps as air emission facilities
The MOE will add gas heat pumps (hereinafter “GHPs”) to the list of air emission facilities beginning July 1, 2022 and then start phased control of such pumps. The GHP refers to heating and cooling equipment that uses city gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) engines to drive refrigerating compressors (outdoor units of air conditioners driven by the refrigeration cycle method). They are mainly installed in small and medium-sized buildings such as schools and commercial buildings. To date, air pollutants generated by GHPs have not been subject to regulatory control.
In September 2020, a survey conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Research on the concentration of air pollutants emitted from GHPs produced by year (2007, 2017 and 2020) found that the maximum emission concentration of nitrogen oxides ranged from 845 to 2093 ppm. These values are approximately 26 to 52 times higher than the permissible emission standards (40 to 60 ppm) for absorption chillers, which have been controlled as emission facilities since 2020. In order to control air pollutants emitted from GHPs, MOE has established new permissible emission standards for nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, which will be applied from July 1, 2022 for new facilities and from January 1, 2025 for existing facilities. However, if a facility reduces the emission of air pollutants to less than 30% of the allowable emission standard, or installs equipment having the pollutant reduction capacity approved by the MOE, the facility will be excluded from the scope of mandatory declaration of air emission facilities.
Phased extension of deadlines for declaration of decomposed organic fertilizer production facilities
The MOE will also extend the deadlines for declaration as air-emitting facilities to be made by facilities that produce decomposed organic fertilizers (such as compost made from livestock manure) in a phased manner, for two to four years depending on the operator of the facility. Though manufacturing facilities of decomposed organic fertilizers must be declared as air emission facilities until December 31, 2021 in general, the declaration deadline will be set according to the emission characteristics of the concerned business unit and the conditions of facility management in consideration of the preparation of the site.
Accordingly, the declaration deadline will be December 31, 2023 in the case of livestock manure public treatment facilities of local governments, by December 31, 2024 in the case of livestock manure joint exploitation facilities and agricultural and livestock joint composting plants, and by December 31, 2025 in the case of facilities operated by private business units. In order to control ammonia emission from decomposed organic fertilizer production facilities, MOE plans to conduct joint research with the industry to develop optimal release prevention technologies and support the installation of release prevention facilities for small and medium-sized business units.
Currently, in-self-measurements at business units that are exempted from installing prevention equipment if it is impossible to do so due to any of physical or safety reasons. However, if the Minister of the Environment or the Governor of the concerned city or province considers that self-measurements is not necessary, for example when air pollutant emission reduction equipment is always in operation. In addition, the application of the permissible air pollutant emission standards for power generation facilities in the Baengnyeongdo area will be extended from by December 31, 2021 to by December 31, 2022. Furthermore, the related regulations will be revised and established due to the transfer of the management responsibility on the air emission source controlling scheme from the National Institute of Environmental Research to the National Fine Dust Information Center since April 1, 2020.
The press release by MOE can be viewed at (in Korean):
- Enforcement Rules of the Clean Air Conservation Act