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VOC emission reduction and energy efficiency in the flexible packaging printing processes: analysis and implementation

Original Paper

Abstract

Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions into the atmosphere are among the primary environmental problems caused by flexible packaging printing plants. Since 1999, VOC emissions from the use of solvents in various technological processes have been limited by the volatile organic compounds solvents emissions directive, and by directive 2010/75/EU on industrial emissions since 2010. Thus, flexible packaging plants require processing technologies or other solutions to ensure compliance with these requirements. In this paper, combined VOC pollution prevention and treatment alternatives were suggested and were evaluated for their technical, environmental, and economic feasibility. A flexible plastic packaging company that produces over 1920 t/year of plastic packaging for the food industry was selected for detailed analysis. The material and energy flow analysis shows that VOC emissions from the main technological processes reached 112.2 kg/t of production, and a considerable amount of energy (up to 771.6 kWh/t of production) was used. Three integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) alternatives of the five analysed in this study were selected and implemented within the company to reduce its VOC emissions and energy consumption. The results indicate that after the implementation of the three suggested economically reasonable IPPC alternatives (replacement of solvent-based with water-based inks; modernisation of the ventilation and lighting system), the VOC emissions decreased to 8.4 kg/t (92.5%) and the total energy consumption for the production of 1 t of flexible packaging decreased to 605.6 kWh/t (21.5%). This study shows that IPPC methods not only significantly reduces VOC emissions from flexible packaging printing processes, but also saves energy and raw materials, and reduces costs.

Keywords

Volatile organic compounds Emissions Cleaner Production Environmental performance Water-based flexography Packaging 

List of symbols

EI(i)

Relative environmental indicator for input or output flow i

X( i)

Amount of input or output flow i per year

P

Production volume

XVOC

VOC emissions

M

Volume of chemical materials

K

Percentage composition of volatile substances [according to the material safety data sheet (MSDS)]

Epollutant

Emissions of GHG (CO2), air emissions (such as CO, NOx)

ARfuel consumption

Amount of fuel combusted

EFfuel pollutant

Emission factor of combusted fuel

W(t)

Environmental performance indicator (effect) in a certain environmental area

P

Payback period

I

Total project investments

S

Savings

Q

Heat energy losses

C

Specific heat capacity of air

V

Air volume

ρ

Air density

t2

Temperature of exhaust air (°C)

t1

Average air temperature in the country during the heating period

Abbreviations

VOC

Volatile organic compounds

IPPC

Integrated pollution prevention and control

CP

Cleaner Production

BAT

Best available techniques

EI

Environmental indicators

MSDS

Material safety data sheet

Notes

Acknowledgements

The research leading to these results has received funding from the Lithuanian-Swiss cooperation programme to reduce economic and social disparities within the enlarged European Union under project agreement No. CH-3-ŠMM-02/04.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Environmental Engineering (APINI)Kaunas University of TechnologyKaunasLithuania

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