Design and control of pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing processes are paramount for a sustainable and efficient usage of resources and the minimization of non-avoidable wastes and emissions. Lonza Group applies state-of-the-art technology for air emission abatement.
In environmental and health terms, our focus is on carbon dioxide (CO2), as the prevailing greenhouse gas and volatile organic compounds (VOC), as precursors to low atmospheric ozone. The lead parameters for air impurities, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter are monitored and reported as well.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
CO2 equivalents (CO2e) are based on stationary fuel consumption, electricity consumption and process based GHG emissions. CO2e are calculated from the consumption of the energy sources used multiplied by published location based as well as market based specific emission factors for CO2e. Process specific emission factors are applied where known. CO2e include greenhouse gases CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, and a number of halogenated hydrocarbon compounds. CO2e emissions from incineration processes include fossil fired boiler houses as well waste incineration plants, which use waste solids, liquids and gases as replacement fuels with varying non-fossil/fossil fractions. So called "Stationary Fuels" represent essentially the fossil based fuels.
Greenhouse gas warming potentials (GWP) of CO2e are based on IPCC's second assessment report (SAR) for Kyoto protocol gases and on the fourth assessment report (AR4) for other gases.
(The level change from 2011 to 2012 essentially represents the acquisition of legacy Arch Chemicals companies in late 2011.)
Total output of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2015 was 704 000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e), 2 % up on the previous year. Direct emissions (scope-1) amounted to 410 000 metric tons, while indirect emissions (scope-2) remained essentially constant. Indirect scope-2 emissions are calculated by emission factors from the consumption of purchased electricity, and amounted to 294 000 metric tons of CO2e.
CO2e scope-1 intensity in 2015, as measured by kilogram of CO2 emitted per metric ton (t) of finished goods produced, was 671 kg/t, 3 % up on the previous year.
Over half of all scope-1 CO2e (55 %) emitted is generated by the thermal treatment of waste materials or by chemical reactions during normal production processes; stationary fuel incineration accounted for 44 %.
Large volumes of high pressure steam are generated by the incineration of solid, liquid and gaseous wastes, and substitute for additional fossil-based energy sources. Lonza utilizes steam as a heat source itself and at some locations also by feeding to combined heat and power installations, generating electricity, or directly by supplying to a district heating network beyond our industrial borders and thus providing heat for private homes and public institutions.
These encompass the following air pollutants:
- Volatile organic compounds (VOC)
- Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
- Sulphur dioxide (SO2)
- Particulate matter
NOx are generated essentially by incineration processes, while VOC emissions are mainly the result of solvent use in production and cleaning processes.
Volatile organic compounds (VOC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) were responsible for 87 % of all air impurities, totaling 810 metric tons in 2015, down 6 % on the previous year.
Technical measures have been realized in recent years and contributed to the reduction, which in 2015 is particularly visible in the 22 % decrease of nitrogen oxides emissions. Material technical measures related to VOC emissions have already taken a sustainable reductive effect in 2013.
In 2015 the specific emissions of air impurities (intensity) could be reduced to 1.3 kg/t (down 5 % on the previous year).
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
VOC emissions are mainly the result of solvent use in production, cleaning and maintenance processes. Halogenated VOC made up less than 10 % of total VOC, a significant reduction of more than half compared to the >20 % observed five and more years ago (before 2011). Environmentally a big progress given the atmospheric persistence and the general high global warming potential of the halogenated species.
Total VOC emissions in 2015 amount to 400 metric tons. The emission of halogenated VOC was 31 tonnes in 2015 and represents 8 % of total VOC emissions.
With 400 metric tons, the total of VOC emissions in 2015 was up 6 % on the previous year. This is the second year of increase of VOC emissions in absolute terms, after the significant drop in 2013 when the RTO thermal oxidation system at Braine almost eliminated their VOC emissions. Concurrently we note the significant production expansion of our site at Nansha (CN), which has risen to the main Group VOC emissions contributor over the recent years.
In 2015 the sites at Nansha (CN), Visp (CH) and Nanjing (CN) are representing 92 % of the VOC emissions of the Group. Lonza is concentrating on these locations when it comes to VOC abatement.
The Belgium site of Braine, a long-time primary contributor to the Group's VOC emissions could reduce their VOC share to almost insignificant levels after the 2013 start-up of the RTO thermal oxidizer process. this is an excellent example of how emissions can be contained and eliminated.
We also note a 7 % increase in VOC intensity compared to the previous year. Nevertheless with 0.66 kg/metric tons of finished goods this KPI represents only 40 % of the specific emissions observed five and more years ago.