Limiting pollution of air and water
The Arkema group is pursuing a series of initiatives and effective measures to reduce its impacts in terms of climate change, air pollution and water pollution by limiting its emissions.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
A longstanding commitment delivers results
Curbing greenhouse gas emissions is a priority of the Arkema group. This approach can be illustrated by examples such as:
- installation of stack gas treatment equipment such as the thermal oxidizers at the Pierre-Bénite plant in France and the Changshu plant in China
- replacement of boilers by more powerful equipment allowing a gas consumption reduction
- replacement of air-conditioners and cold groups by more powerful models.
The Arkema group reduced its overall greenhouse gas emissions by 30% from 2013 to 2014 for an objective stated at the end of 2012 of a decrease of 30% by 2020 compared to 2012. The objective has already been achieved in 2014 largely thanks to the investment by Arkema in a GHG reducer device at Calvert City (United States).
The challenge of global warming
Greenhouse gas emissions abatement is crucial for our planet and for future generations. Greenhouse gases, including CO2, have long-term effects on the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, gradually leading to a rise in average global temperatures.
Atmospheric emissions of other substances
Energetic measures to eliminate the most harmful emissions
The Arkema group’s primary concern is to minimize its emissions of the most toxic compounds, namely:
- volatile organic compounds (VOCs),
- compounds that acidify the air (nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide),
For VOCs, the Group is controlling emissions:
- by capturing and treating off-gases that contain them (thermal oxidation or blowhole lavage being the most widely-used treatment techniques),
- by regular monitoring programs to detect and eliminate any fugitive VOC emissions.
The Group reduced the intensity of its VOC emissions by about 28% between 2006 and 2012 and by 21% between 2012 and 2014, after a performance degradation of 10% between 2011 and 2012.
The stated objective at the end of 2012 is a decrease of 20% by 2020 compared to 2012.
Impact of air pollution on living species and the environment
Limiting pollutant emissions to the atmosphere has crucial implications for the future, given their consequences for living species and the environment.
By decreasing VOCs emissions, the Arkema group foster the decrease of a major pollutant: Tropospheric ozone
Emissions to water
No effluents discharged untreated
Diminishing its emissions to water also ranks high among the chief environmental objectives of the Arkema group. The group is especially attentive to effluents that could result in high chemical oxygen demand (COD) or contain high levels of suspended solids (SS).
The Arkema group reduces its COD and high-SS effluent discharge by:
- installing its production plants in industrial parks equipped with full-scale wastewater treatment plants,
- installing physical-chemical and/or biological treatment process units to treat effluents at its more isolated plants,
- optimizing the treatments wastewater plants or better controlling water sent in station.
A particular attention to the wastewaters rejected by the plants
Original solutions are sometimes used for the industrial waters depollution. For example, at Boretto (Italy), the Arkema group uses the socalled phytoremediation or pythodepuration technique. Phytodepuration reproduces the ecological balance of aquatic and moist environments. This natural system is appealing to a treatment by the roots of aquatic macrophytes of reed type phragmites communis and to a layout with a little stream and a swamp. It allows to reduce at a maximum the Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and to eliminate surfactants initially present.
From 2006 to 2012, the Arkema group reduced the intensity of the Chemical Oxygen Demand of its effluent discharge by more than 23%.Between 2012 and 2014, there has been an increase by 3%.
The objective stated at the end of 2012 is a decrease of 20% by 2020 compared to 2012. Numerous actions are planned or under study in order to regain the dynamics of emissions' reduction that the Group has known in 2006-2012.
The challenge of river biodiversity
A water course must contain dissolved oxygen in order for aquatic fauna to survive. This oxygen comes both from ambient air and from the photosynthesis performed by algae. In a river or stream with excessively high COD, the oxygen available is insufficient to support aquatic fauna.