Note 16: Local air quality

Air monitoring around our operations is focused on volatile organic compounds (VOC) and NOx and SOx emissions. We monitor particulates at site level as required.

Volatile organic compounds (VOC) from operations

VOC emissions from our manufacturing operations may lead to local low-level ozone creation, smog formation and associated health problems for people in surrounding areas. All our businesses will continue to manage VOC emissions from sites, in line with national or even supranational (EC) legal requirements. The VOC reduction focus for our paints and coatings businesses is increasingly concentrating on low/zero VOC product design, rather than only controlling VOCs in our operations. Reducing VOC emissions from our sites remains part of the scope of our OEE program, while our Research, Development and Innovation groups are working on projects to reduce the solvent content of our products – VOC in product. (See Note 4 in this section).

VOC emissions per ton of production reduced by 10 percent to 0.17 kg/ton. Total VOC emissions reduced to 3.1 kilotons. This was achieved through improvements made at many sites, including Gebze, where vapor return lines were installed, as well as no-spill connections in transfer lines from tanker to bulk storage. Focused efforts in the Surface Chemistry business to reduce their VOCs also proved successful (e.g. in Boxing, Itupeva and Singapore). Continued OEE program activities will keep us on target to achieve our ambitions.

Volatile organic compounds in kilotons

Volatile organic compounds in kilotons (bar chart)

VOC emissions may lead to local low-level ozone creation, smog formation and associated local health issues. We measure halogenated and non-halogenated organic compounds discharged to air.

NOx and SOx

NOx and SOx emissions may have a significant impact on local air quality because of their contribution to acidification. Therefore, these compounds are monitored.

  • SOx emissions (from process emissions and energy) reduced to 0.26 kg/ton of production. Absolute emissions were down 39 percent at 4.6 kilotons. The major reason for the reduction was the divestment of our Chemicals Pakistan activities and projects in LeMoyne in the US. The emissions per ton for our three sulfur derivatives plants in Germany, the US and Argentina were also down
  • NOx emissions from our sites were down 26 percent at 0.08 kg/ton of production. Total emissions were down to 1.3 kilotons. The major reason for the reduction was the divestment of our Chemicals Pakistan activities and projects in Morris (US) and Boxing (China). A new incinerator in Mons (NOx reduction over 50 percent) was started in Q4 and will further reduce NOx emissions

NOx and SOx emissions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in kilotons

 

2010

 

2011

 

2012

 

2013

Emissions may form acid rain that can lead to acidification. The gases are emissions from manufacturing and combustion of fuel that we burn. The total quantity of NOx/ SOx emissions from manufacturing processes discharged directly to air (e.g. after any abatement process) and the quantity of NOx/SOx emissions calculated from the use of fuels.

NOx

 

2.0

 

2.0

 

1.9

 

1.3

NOx kg/ton

 

0.10

 

0.11

 

0.10

 

0.08

SOx

 

7.1

 

7.7

 

7.6

 

4.6

SOx kg/ton

 

0.36

 

0.41

 

0.41

 

0.26

Ozone depleting substances

Emissions of ozone depleting substances are at a very low level – 2.9 tons (2012: 1.75 tons). They are mainly due to Freon22 from maintenance in older air conditioning and cooling units, which are replaced when appropriate.