The proposed guidelines, based on identified key performance indicators, are set out in a consultation paper and companies were asked to respond by September 2005. The guidelines are intended to help businesses to report on their environmental impact but, if they are not widely adopted, further regulation may follow.
As one of the 25 direct key performance indicators, all emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) should now be reported by UK businesses, regardless of whether they are listed as public companies. This means more businesses will need to report on their environmental impact for the first time.
Luc Rijnbeek, Commercial Manager Environmental Cryogenics, comments: “Many solvent-using industries in the chemicals and pharmaceuticals sectors are reviewing their existing emissions control systems – looking for ways to minimise solvent consumption and reduce emissions levels.
“These new reporting guidelines will further add to this pressure and will encourage companies to look for technologies that will enable them to meet legislative targets. Cryogenic emissions control technology is a highly efficient solution and flexible enough to operate even at low gas flow rates, below 300 Nm3/h.”
Cryogenic condensation technology has been used to recover solvent emissions from process gas streams since the early 1980s and has achieved recognition for its efficiency and its suitability for major scale applications, where large volumes of solvents are used. Since then the technology has evolved and the new generation systems operate more flexibly, even where there are very low flow rates and a relatively high solvent loading. Using these new systems it is even possible to recover the solvents from the waste gas stream in a pure form so they can be reused or resold, so enhancing their overall sustainability.
Luc Rijnbeek comments: “Today’s cryogenic emissions recovery systems are designed to meet the needs of each individual plant. For some the original cryogenic condensation technology, which was built to cope with high volumes, is the most appropriate, but where flexibility and high concentrations at low flow rates are a consideration, the new cryogenic systems will optimise efficiency.”
Solvent-using industries are also preparing to meet the new emissions limits established as part of the EU Solvent Emissions Directive, which they will need to comply with fully by the end of October 2007.
For more information, visit www.airproducts.com/voc"