Dust & Air Emissions
This year, the United Nations World Environment Day campaign focuses on Air Pollution. Aperam is proud of the efforts we’re making to ensure all of our employees, their families and the communities we work in benefit from cleaner air. These efforts include the vast area of forests in Brazil, our BioEnergia Unit that produces renewable energy for our Timoteo blast furnaces, and our work to reduce dust emissions. In addition, we are investing in Beekeeper Projects that increase the income of local families in Brazil’s Vale do Jequitinhonha. Our Environmental Projects are also using bees to help monitor emissions and confirm that the air around our Isbergues plant remains healthy. We’re happy to see our work is fully in line with the UN’s environmental main objectives! Watch the UN video
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.
> In the effort to reduce our dust, our two Belgian melting shops have led the way. Both developed what are now best-in-class routines for achieving the most efficient management of dust emissions – routines that are continuously improving our total dust emissions.
> Following this success, other Aperam units are starting to apply similar best practices in dust diffusion. For example, our Timoteo unit, our largest unit and the only one using blast furnaces, represents nearly 90% of Aperam’s total dust emissions. Because the unit has replaced the use of coke with environmentally-friendly charcoal, which is lighter and easily blown by the wind, dust containment is particularly challenging.
>To overcome this challenge, new upgrades were required. In 2017, short-term actions were launched on critical chimneys and our main dedusting systems. Key achievements included the full covering of charcoal conveyors, replacement of clogged or leaking ducts and many (thousands!) filtering bags, and maintenance for the blast furnaces’ dedusting installation. In 2018 we adopted a five-year roadmap with carefully phased revamps of installations and related investments, significant reengineering and planned production stoppages. During the course of the year we changed a number of dedusting sleeves and conducted closer surveillance (using cameras connected to our new Integrated Control centre) of the key chimneys to keep the installations in good condition until a full refurbishment can be made. With this first action plan, the dust intensity of the unit was cut by two thirds (based on 2016 levels)
> Likewise, our Imphy unit is working to reduce diffused dust though enhanced capturing. The actions undertaken at the Imphy unit during 2018 are part of a multi-year roadmap.
A lot of progress was made in regards to the ramp-up of enhanced measuring and dust channeling. For instance, there has been a new ducting system on the bucket preheating workshop since January and, as of October, complementary continuous measuring has been in place (outflow and dust concentration) on the four grinding machines. This adds up to the continuous measuring we set up in 2017 at the melting shop.
In 2019, we aim to improve the channeling of the dust at the oxycuting station (January) and revamp our Electric Arc Furnace dedusting system (summer stoppages), the latter of which will require substantial investments.
As a result of initiatives like these, Aperam has achieved a significant reduction in our dust emissions – even in times of increased production. Our total emissions consolidated using regulatory methodologies indicate a -61% reduction in intensity in 2018.