Brazil. Armacell, a manufacturer of thermal, acoustic and structural insulation materials, installed a system that eliminates smoke and odor from gas emissions at its production plant in São José, located in Santa Catarina.
The solution, which consists of a regenerative thermal oxidation (RTO) equipment, manufactured by the German company DÜRR, reduced to zero the presence of smoke and also the characteristic odor of the manufacture of elastomeric foams.
This pollutant gas filtering system was acquired at the end of 2021 and had an investment of 8 million Ris (currency in progress in Brazil), approximately 1.49 million US dollars (USD).
Eduardo Lino, manager of the São José plant, commented: "The installation works were completed in June, and we began the commissioning process, which consists of the periodic measurement of emissions, with the collection of samples analyzed by laboratories certified by Inmetro. Thus, we were able to make the necessary adjustments to reach our goal of zero smoke and odors."
During the inauguration ceremony, held at the Armacell plant, Orvino Coelho de Ávila, mayor of São José, commented that the installation of the equipment "is extremely important and fundamental because the development of São José will have to be directed to this area, which is the only place that has room for growth. Together with Univale, we are working to move the town hall to this location. In addition, this care with emissions is fundamental for the health of the population, and it is also a good example for other companies to copy."
Councilman Jair Costa, who was also present at the event, recalled the system that Armacell installed in the Sertão do Maruim neighborhood six years ago. "We must thank the speed and agility of President Mansur and the other employees of the company who, in addition to solving the problem immediately, also carried out social work in the community that involves the areas of health, education and daycare."
Zero unpleasant odors
Since it began operating, the filter of the São José plant has guaranteed the end of odors. "What's left of all the filtration is water vapor, so on wetter days you can see a column coming out of the chimney, but it's no longer smoke. The RTO maintains filtration efficiency, with emissions below what is allowed by law and eliminating visual and odor," the plant manager guaranteed.
Mansur Haddad, CEO of Armacell, said: "This advanced emission control system has been the company's largest investment in the last four years. Our commitment is to offer our employees, the local community and the entire region the best environmental practices. We will continue on this path of sustainability with solutions that bring benefits to all."
Armacell has another 24 plants worldwide and 15 of them have installed RTO filtration systems, which comply with local laws and company regulations. The other plants have no emissions.
The decision to invest in a new emissions filtering system at its plant, installed in the Sertão do Maruim neighborhood of São José/SC, came after residents began to feel some discomfort, especially with the smell.
Lino, the manager, explains that the manufacturing process, which transforms nitrile rubber into elastomeric foam, from the vulcanization of the product, generates a smoke that is the volatility of the expanded material. "The smoke was filtered through a carbon filtration system and then discharged into the atmosphere."
He also explained that "this process generated a visible smoke and also an odor, which caused discomfort in the surrounding community. But there was no illegality, since we have always complied with the law, which requires the measurement of what comes out of the chimney, through a specialized laboratory, as well as a monthly internal control carried out by the Armacell environmental team. These measurable elements have acceptance limits to ensure there is no contamination. And we never exceeded legal limits."
Other sustainable initiatives
Armacell also maintains other environmentally friendly practices. So much so that, according to Lino, for about four years the company has been carrying out selective waste collection. "The waste, which is not only generated in the manufacture of the product, but also from the office and staff, is properly destined to certified collaborating companies for its correct disposal," he says.
"And since we don't use water in our processes, effluent treatment is not necessary. But other products, which are not elastomers and are not used, we recycle internally. There are about 50 tons of materials that we recycle and reuse internally."
In addition, Armacell has been celebrating ArmaDay for eight years, an event that encompasses all the plants in the world. The company takes advantage of the occasion of its anniversary to promote activities with volunteers from the community where it is located in each country. This year's theme was to highlight commitment to biodiversity and the world around us.
For example, in September of this year, employees at the Santa Catarina manufacturing plant volunteered with the NGO Route in Praia Mole. In addition to awareness, employees helped in the cleaning of the beach, removing many objects from the sand. Another action carried out in parallel during the week, in which the São Paulo office also participated, consisted of the collection of caps and plastic containers in collaboration with the NGO ECOPET.