Target: Record zero environmental releases year on year.
We monitor our air emissions to ensure compliance with local regulations wherever we operate. We have policies and procedures in place that enable us to notify the local authorities and, when required, to act as soon as possible should specific limits be exceeded.
Progress towards target
1 In FY2018, we had two releases of carbon black/feedstock to soil and one to air, exceeding regulatory reporting limits. The remaining releases were reported on a voluntary basis to regulatory authorities.
We continue to invest in and promote technology improvements such as state-of-the-art filter materials, which ensure maximum containment and recovery of carbon black dust. In addition, we proactively evaluate innovative technologies that can help to reduce air emissions, and how they can be implemented across our operations. A balanced approach is key; technology for air emission control can have a high water and energy demand, so implementation must be considered in a holistic way on a case-by-case basis.
In December 2017, we entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to further reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (PM) from our carbon black plants in Franklin, Louisiana, and Hickok, Kansas. As a part of the settlement, we have committed to install advanced control technologies and continuous emissions monitoring systems over the next four years at a cost of approximately $95 million.
Reducing NOx emissions through investment and cooperation
In 2016, we launched a project at our plant in Hungary to investigate solutions for reducing NOx from the stack emissions created by two high pressure boilers, which account for the major proportion of emissions at the site. As a first step, we tested solutions on a smaller combustor to ensure the technology was effective before investing in applying it to the larger industrial boilers. Once an effective solution was found, we undertook detailed modeling to test the specific solutions for each of the larger boilers. Following management approval, we began the work to install the new technology in the first boiler in 2016. Despite a very challenging timeframe the project was a great success, reducing NOx by more than 20%. In 2017, we began phase three of the project to upgrade the second steam boiler, again achieving an average 20% NOx reduction in the boiler’s emissions.
As well as reducing our environmental impacts, the investment has enabled us to reduce the regulatory costs for emitting NOx into the atmosphere. This success would not have been possible without close cooperation and sharing of information between head office and on-site teams – a great example of how we can do more when we make the most of our compound knowledge and the familiar bonds within our global company.