INDUSTRIAL GASES AND THE ENVIRONMENT
All industrial organizations have a responsibility for managing the environmental impacts of their activities in a systematic way to control any risks of harm that their products, processes, services and other activities may present to employees, the public and the environment as a whole, and to promote sustainable development.
Whilst the Industrial Gases Industry has fewer obvious environmental problems to solve than some parts of Industry, part of the EIGA mission is to promote good environmental practices amongst member companies and developing codes of good environmental practice and training tools.
EIGA also works with the legislators and standards bodies at a European level to ensure that environment regulation is proportionate and effective, as well as helping members with the interpretation.
EIGA has guidance for members on environmental management, environmental good practices, noise and waste management as well as training packages for use in member companies.
The main activity of EIGA member companies is the production and distribution of air gases, nitrogen, oxygen and argon. EIGA companies take the air and seperate it into its constituent parts.
The process is energy intensive using the air as raw material and, where gases can not be generated close to the point of use, there is an impact through distribution by rail or road. The gases can be supplied through pipelines, which has less impact than road distribution, and also in gas cylinders that are reusable returnable pressure vessels with an economic life of more than 20 years
Air separation is the most energy intensive industrial process. A medium sized air separation unit can use as much electrical energy as a large airport complex. As energy represents a significant proportion of the product costs energy efficiency has always been paramount for EIGA companies, and the energy required to liquefy a tonne of product has decreased by 40% over the last 30 years.
The water is used for cooling, with over 90% being recycled
Plants are designed to minimise the noise impacts of the large machinery on people and the environment.
Though our processes do have environmental impacts industrial gases are also used to improve the environmental performance of our customers. Such applications include:
• Water treatment
• Waste treatment
• Waste water treatment
• Recovery of solvents, including CFCs
• River remediation
• Emission measurement and calibration gases
• Soil remediation
• Hydrogen as an alternative fuel
• Hydrogen to improve fuel quality to meet the European Auto oil specifications