We continue to invest in and promote technological 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 reduce air emissions, and how they can be implemented across our operations. A balanced approach is key; technologies for air emission control can have high water and energy requirements, so implementation must be considered in a holistic way and on a case-by-case basis.
In December 2017, we entered into a consent decree with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to further reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (PM) from our plants in Franklin, Louisiana and Hickok, Kansas. Birla Carbon is currently working on the installation of emissions control equipment at these two locations.
At our Kansas facility, the installed control system will be in place and operating by January 2021, alongside strict controls on feedstock. This will ensure that the site can continue to provide high-quality carbon black products in a sustainable manner.
The Louisiana facility will have its state-of-the-art control systems installed and operational by October 2021. This technology will be the first of its kind, to the best of our knowledge, in the United States. It combines low NOx combustion technology, selective catalytic reduction technology and a seawater scrubbing system which will minimize the environmental impact of the control systems. The technology utilizes the brackish water in the Gulf Inter-Coastal Waterway to reduce sulfur components to salts which are naturally found in oceans. By utilizing this technology, Birla Carbon has eliminated the transportation and disposal issues associated with traditional wet limestone scrubber systems, which generate a gypsum-like waste.