Dust & Air Emissions
Even more than air emissions, dust remains a key area of concern with our stakeholders and neighbouring communities. Not satisfied with simply meeting local regulations, Aperam aims for the best performance and has set a new 20% reduction target for 2030 compared to 2018 emission intensity.
Above and Beyond
Because air emissions, particularly diffused dust, is so important to the local communities we work in, Aperam is committed to going beyond what is required by current regulations.
Most recently, we set up an action plan with global targets. These dust emission improvement plans focus on either containing, ducting, or collecting the dust (in Europe, the collected dust is sent back to Recyco for recycling). However, considering the size of both the equipment we use and our operations, such improvement plans take time. They also require significant investments – investments that we are more than willing to make. In fact, since 2018, we’ve invested over EUR 6 million into improving our Timoteo, Imphy, and Isbergues plants.
Most of our sites also have clear roadmaps for implementing improvement plans over the course of the next five years. These roadmaps take into account the need for major revamps, investments and increased costs (maintenance, filter bags, etc.). In addition, we are implementing more frequent monitoring mechanisms to prioritize our action plans and ensure that our dedusting equipment performs as specified.
Furthermore, as we had already achieved our previous goal of a 12% reduction over our 2015 benchmark, in 2020 we announced a new target of a 70% decrease in ducted dust emission intensity by 2030 (compared to 2015). We aim to achieve this objective while also reducing diffuse (non-ducted) dust.
Heading in the Right Direction
Our dust emissions have been impacted by the abnormal production schedules, including several start/stoppages of our installations, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, along with issues involving misplaced measuring mechanisms at our Timoteo facility. As a result, our total dust emission indicates a deterioration of 7t and 4% in intensity in 2020 vs. 2019, with total emissions at 299t.
One must keep in mind that these numbers are calculated using an exhaustive methodology, one that takes into account all measurements, even those taken in abnormal operating conditions. We feel this exhaustive indicator provides a better assessment of our impact over the full year than the total based on the few measurements that have to be reported to the authorities as per our permits – a figure that shows a total Group ‘regulatory’ emissions of 274t (i.e. 140g/t, compared to 166t last year).
Regardless of the method used, our 2020 performance outperforms our initial 2020 target of 211g of dust emissions per tons of crude steel produced. This is even in spite of a deterioration versus the trend of the past three – something that we intend to cancel in 2021 in order to resume our progress.
Even though the small 4% regress in ‘exhaustive’ dust emissions is unsatisfactory, we did see positive improvements. For example, our Imphy plant reported a 24% improvement over 2019 and a 58% decrease from 2015. It’s highlights like this that convince us we are heading in the right direction: by continuing with our roadmap, we will see better results in 2021 and beyond.