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Cabot Aims to Reduce GHG Emissions Intensity 20% by 2020

CabotGHGemissionsCabot Corp., a global performance materials company, reduced its total CO2-equivalents (CO2-e) emissions by 11 percent compared with 2007, which correlates with the company’s 12 percent decrease in total product output due to the global economic slowdown, according to the company’s 2009 sustainability report (PDF).

Total CO2-e emissions from its manufacturing, R&D, and administration facilities for calendar year 2008 were 4.40 million metric tons (MT), with direct CO2 emissions accounting for 92 percent of the total, and the remainder related to indirect emissions. On a production basis, total CO2-e intensity remained essentially constant at 2.39 MT CO2-e per MT of product, according to the report.

In the report, Cabot states its aim to reduce its GHG emissions intensity 20 percent by 2020.

One measure Cabot is implementing to reduce GHG emissions is the recovery of energy from tail gases produced by its carbon black operations, and using the by-product stream as fuel at its process and on-site energy centers. This reduces the amount of energy the company purchases, thus reducing overall GHG emissions, according to the report.

In terms of waste generation, Cabot generated approximately 0.75 million metric tons of waste in 2007, of which 61 percent is classified as hazardous and 39 percent as non-hazardous.

From 2007 to 2008, Cabot’s total product output decreased 12 percent due to lower demand, but the total amount of waste generated increased approximately 3 percent and the total waste intensity increased 16 percent. The company attributes the increase primarily to increased hazardous waste generation at the Tuscola, U.S., fumed metal oxides manufacturing facility. Cabot says the Tuscola facility is currently developing a multi-year plan aimed at the reduction of its hazardous waste.

While Cabot’s water usage in 2008 decreased 1 percent, its water use intensity increased 12 percent. Cabot attributes this to the need for a constant flow of water for some of its industrial processes that are not directly proportional to the amount of production.

A similar trend occurred in wastewater, where Cabot’s volume of wastewater discharge decreased 8 percent, while its wastewater intensity increased 4 percent. Cabot expects both water and wastewater intensities will decrease once the company resumes normal production levels as demand picks up.

However, Cabot says water and wastewater metrics remained below 2005 and 2006 levels, in part due to several water conservation, reuse and recycling projects.

As an example, Cabot’s fumed metals oxides facility in Barry, Wales, decreased water use intensity by 28 percent and wastewater discharge intensity by 12 percent in 2008 by using recycled cooling water for vacuum pumps.

Other upgrades that helped the company minimize its impact on the environment include upgrades to feedstock pipelines at several facilities; a redesign and improvements to dust collection and vacuum systems at its Sarnia, Canada, carbon black facility; installation of particulate emissions monitors at six carbon black manufacturing facilities; installation of an ultraviolet disinfection system for sanitary wastewater at the Cartagena, Colombia, carbon black manufacturing facility, and installation of a site-wide integrated air monitoring system at the Cabot Superior MicroPowders facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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