Sometimes it simply isn’t feasible to make processes any “cleaner.” But, by trapping airborne pollutants before they enter the atmosphere, manufacturers can still maintain low-emissions standards. With the advancement of technology and the strengthening of environmental regulation, pollution capture and remediation equipment is becoming more efficient. Considering that industrial facilities are responsible for about a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions — and face tough regulations as a result — it’s crucial for manufacturers to recognize this option. California-based Ship & Shore Environmental is just one of many companies offering pollution abatement equipment to help manufacturers’ curb their carbon footprint. Anoosheh Oskouian, Ship & Shore president and CEO, spoke with Manufacturing.net in an exclusive interview about how capturing emissions benefits manufacturers, how much emissions could be reduced and how manufacturers can operate more efficiently.
Katie Mohr (KM): How have environmental regulations, such as the Clean Power Plan, impacted the need for pollution remediation?
Anoosheh Oskouian (AO): Regulations have been in place in many states for years that specify the amount of pollutants you’re allowed to send out into the atmosphere. For example, where we’re based in Southern California they passed on some tougher rules and regulations because of the need to capture all of the pollutants.
Emissions are definitely regulated by EPA and then passed on to the state level. Naturally, the very populated areas have tougher rules because of the concentration of manufacturing. California, Texas and Ohio, for example, are heavily regulated. But regardless of location, if a manufacturing facility is sending out emissions that are considered carcinogenic or unsafe, the toughest rules might still apply.
The rules are getting tougher as there is more innovation and technology that is available to help us.
But a lot of manufacturers decide to be proactive about it. For example, one of our customers that has factories in the U.S. and Canada decided to implement the same type of rules and regulations in their China facility, even though those rules aren’t being enforced yet. They know that it is coming. The potential for solutions is there.
KM: How can manufacturers benefit from capturing pollution?
AO: Some facilities, such as refineries, install pollution capture equipment to curtail the possibility of explosion in high LEL (Lower Explosive Limit) areas.
Other projects are geared toward bringing energy back to the plant by capturing some of the pollutants, which have heating value because they’re all hydrocarbons. By capturing the heat that they generate and bringing it back, the plant can utilize it for steam or space heating.
Additionally, a lot of these pollutants can be extremely harmful to people working in the facility. By capturing everything that is going on within a facility, people’s safety and health risks are also eliminated.
KM: How much can manufacturers reduce their emissions using pollution capture equipment?
AO: There are two phases in capturing and getting rid of the pollution that might be generated. One is the proper capture from the manufacturing and operational side, which we usually get very involved with in design because these are naturally gaseous things coming off the different processes. These harmful pollutants can’t be seen, but they can be smelled.
Secondly, by installing equipment within the manufacturing facility or right outside, we capture all and get rid of over 95 percent of it. Therefore, the facility’s emissions are about 5 percent of what they would be putting out without this pollution remediation equipment.
KM: What other steps can manufacturers take to be more environmentally conscious?
AO: We have implemented various technologies to be very low in energy consumption, which is another contributor to reducing carbon footprints. The less you use in your operational costs, the better it will be for your carbon footprint.
Solar panels might not be able to power the whole plant, but they might be helpful in lighting the office space. Capturing the waste heat and bringing it back and utilizing it can also help. By doing a proper energy assessment walkthrough, manufacturers can find out what is feasible and what isn’t.
KM: Do you think that manufacturers can continue to grow their operations while being environmentally conscious?
AO: Absolutely. You can be very environmentally conscious and do things properly, but you need to keep in mind what the best ways are of doing things. Manufacturers need to be concerned about their carbon footprint and reducing consumption and so on, but you cannot say that people should live in the dark because using electricity eventually requires a power plant to be running and power plants have a high carbon footprint, so we should shut them all down.
I’m environmentally conscious, and I’m all for the manufacturing sector growing in this country. I often come across people who are so over-the-top with environmental regulations they want implemented. For example, some people are extremely anti-plastic, but try to remind them of all the various places we use plastic. Imagine if you had metal instead of plastic at all times.
You can’t be an environmentalist without looking at what is feasible and what isn’t.
But it’s a lot better to be environmentally conscious in manufacturing than to not. Often, implementing environmental strategies has become like a big gorilla that no one wants to touch because of the costs. But one of my goals is to make this process economical so manufacturers won’t be scared off.
Do you think pollution capture equipment could be a viable solution for many manufacturers? Do you plan to utilize this technology in your manufacturing enterprise? Comment below or tweet @KatieeMohr.