Note 17: 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)

All our businesses will continue to manage VOC emissions from sites, in line with national or supranational (European Commission) legal requirements.

The VOC reduction focus for our paints and coatings businesses is increasingly concentrated 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 increased by 1 percent to 0.18 kg/ton. Total VOC emissions remained stable at 3.1 kilotons

Volatile organic compounds
in kilotons

Volatile organic compounds, in kilotons (bar chart)Volatile organic compounds, in kilotons (bar chart)

NOx and SOx

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

  • SOx emissions (from process emissions and energy) reduced to 0.22 kg/ton of production. Absolute emissions were down 19 percent to 3.7 kilotons
  • Our three sulfur derivatives plants in Germany, the US and Argentina contributed 97 percent of the SOx emissions, and have reduced their contribution by over 0.9 kton/yr
  • NOx emissions per ton from our sites remained stable at 0.08 kg/ton of production. Total emissions remained at 1.3 kilotons. Improvements were obtained in Boxing, China, due to reduction of pitch to be incinerated, and in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

NOx and SOx emissions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In kilotons

 

2011

 

2012

 

2013

 

2014

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

 

1.9

 

1.3

 

1.3

NOx kg/ton

 

0.11

 

0.10

 

0.08

 

0.08

SOx

 

7.7

 

7.6

 

4.6

 

3.7

SOx kg/ton

 

0.41

 

0.41

 

0.26

 

0.22

Ozone depleting substances

  • Emissions of ozone depleting substances are at a low level – 1.8 tons (2013: 2.9 tons). They are mainly due to Freon22 from maintenance in older air conditioning and cooling units, which are replaced when appropriate