Sustainable Development Goals – Goal 15 (logo)Sustainable Development Goals – Goal 15 (logo)

Solvay has committed itself to improving air quality at the local and regional levels, in close cooperation with local stakeholders and according to industry best practices. In the framework of its environmental plan, Solvay focuses on the following pollutants: nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC).

  • Nitrogen oxides: sum of nitrogen oxide emissions (NO and NO2, expressed as NO2) excluding N2O. Nitrogen oxide emissions result mainly from the combustion of fossil fuels such as natural gas. Nitrous oxide (N2O) contributes to global warming but does not have the acidification impact of NO and NO2
  • Sulfur oxides: emissions of sulfur oxides (SO2) arise mainly from the combustion of anthracite or coal
  • Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC): Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have a standard boiling point inferior or equal to 250°C (EU Solvent Directive 1999/13/EC). NMVOCs are VOCs other than methane. Methane emissions from Solvay's mining activity at Green River (Wyoming, United States) are not included. Their impact is integrated in the GHG emission indicator.
Absolute air emissions

In metric tons

 

2016

 

2015

 

2014

Nitrogen oxides – NOx

 

11,098

 

12,210

 

12,679

Sulfur oxides – SOx

 

5,395

 

6,563

 

6,620

Non-methane volatile organic compounds – NMVOC

 

4,968

 

6,781

 

7,158

There are several reasons for improvements with respect to nitrogen oxides, including:

  • at the Devnya – Deven site in Bulgaria (-291 metric tons): lower operation of the older “grate firing boilers” and higher stream factor of the CFBB (circulating fluidized bed boiler) equipped with a SNCR (selective non-catalytic reduction) system using ammonia injection
  • at the Torrelavega site in Spain (-270 metric tons): replacement of the gas turbine of the cogeneration plant
  • at the Rheinberg site in Germany (-127 metric tons): selection of a better coal quality and optimization of the SNCR process

The improvements for sulfur oxides result from the following:

  • at the Tavaux site in France (-717 metric tons): coal consumption halved because of technical issues in the boilers and the installation of DeSOx (desulfurization) unit in November 2016. 
  • at the Rheinberg site in Germany (-218 metric tons): operation of the coal boiler with low-sulfur coal and optimization of the DeSOx process.

The improvements for NMVOC result from the following: :

  • the majority of the reduction on this indicator (-1181 metric tons) is due to the deconsolidation of the Acetow business
  • at the Zhangjiagang Feixiang site in China (-262 metric tons): reduction of methyl chloride emissions due to the implementation of a cryo-condensation unit in August 2016. 

Solvay’s objectives:

2020

- 50%

of nitrogen oxides emissions intensity

2020

- 50%

of sulfur oxide emissions intensity

2020

- 40%

of non-methane volatile organic compound emissions intensity

Baseline 2015

Air emissions intensity

In kg per € EBITDA

 

2016

 

2015

 

2014

NOx

 

0.0058

 

0.0063

 

0.0071

SOx

 

0.0028

 

0.0034

 

0.0037

NMVOC

 

0.0026

 

0.0035

 

0.0040

Solvay's 2016 achievements for NOx and NMVOC intensity are better than the expected 2016 target, whereas for SO2 the Group is slightly behind the target.