We depend on the living world for almost all our raw materials. This makes the preservation of our planet particularly relevant for Oleon. Nevertheless, our production processes are also dependent on non-renewable natural resources. By following the Responsible Care Policy, a world-wide commitment by chemical industry to continually improve its Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) performance, we strive to make our impact as small as possible.
Energy & Climate
Our production processes require thermal energy for generating optimal process conditions. Steam is our primary energy carrier, which we mainly generate on-site with gas-fired steam boilers. We also have significant cooling capacity and compressors at our production sites, which are important consumers of our purchased electricity. Oleon mainly uses electricity from the national grid. Our production unit in Emmerich also generates electricity using a gas fired co-generation unit.
The figure below gives an overview of total energy consumption for the past 3 years, allocated to total annual production volume. Our total energy consumption performance improved by 27%, from 1,50 MWh / tonne produced in 2012 to 1,09 MWh / tonne produced in 2013. This significant performance increase is the result of our increase in production volume, the deployment of various energy efficiency investments and the implementation of our energy management system according to the ISO 50001 standard. A typical energy efficiency investment in our installation is optimization
of heating/cooling of our in- and outgoing product streams through heat exchangers.
Our total CO2-emissions, allocated to production volume, show a similar trend. Both our direct emissions, resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels in our own installations, and indirect emissions from purchased electricity, show an improvement compared to last year. This performance increase of 18% is directly related to our total energy consumption performance, with the lower relative consumption of natural gas as the main cause.
At Oleon, we mainly produce biodegradable non-hazardous waste streams. We first investigate the possibilities for internal recuperation for every type of residual material. When this is not possible, recycling companies are contracted to give our waste materials a high-grade final destination. This way of working resulted in a recycling rate of 92% for our total waste production in 2013. 80% of this recycling rate is use for energy valorization, from which biogas production through fermentation is one of the most important. In the graph below, the division of our waste streams towards valorization destinations is presented.
The opportunities for valorization of waste are strongly region-specific. At our European production sites, a valorization rate of close to 100% has been achieved. However, no valorization options are available yet at our site in Malaysia due to the absence of certified waste recycling companies. As a result, a small fraction of our waste (8%) has to be removed to a landfill.
WATER CONSUMPTION & TREATMENT
We recognize that access to potable water is a growing worldwide concern. We take care to efficiently use this resource and minimize the impact of our waste water on the environment. The figure below gives an overview of the different water sources used at Oleon production sites.
Surface water is mainly used for cooling in our production processes. After use, this water is discharged directly back to the same water source. With the exception of some vapour losses, the net water extraction can be considered negligible. When designing new plants and in renovation projects, preference is given to closed-loop cooling circuits to further reduce water consumption.
The figure below gives an overview of our water consumption of the past 3 years, allocated to our total annual production volume. We improved our water consumption from 15,60 m3 / tonne produced in 20128 to 10,19 m3 / tonne produced, a decrease of water consumption by 35%. The main reasons for this improvement is the increased production volume, which results in a more efficient use of water, and several process improvements leading to the installations
consuming less water.
Water used directly in our production processes is treated on-site or through a municipal wastewater treatment plant. The efficiency of our wastewater treatment plants is continuously monitored and optimized when necessary.