To enhance the control for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and encourage the polyurethane coating industry to adopt water-based manufacturing processes, the EPA has amended relevant emission standards. In addition to directly exempting water-based-solvent and solvent-free manufacturing processes from the regulation, the amendment also gave existing manufacturing processes a grace period of two years to respond to the stricter exhaust-collection equipment regulations and emission standards. Not only will the control on VOCs be strengthened, a balance between industrial development and environmental protection will be reached.
VOCs are one of the main causes of odor pollution. Some VOCs are also hazardous air pollutants which can impact health after long-term exposure. To encourage polyurethane coating enterprises to adopt water-based manufacturing processes and enhance overall control of VOCs, the EPA has announced the amendment draft of the Volatile Organic Compound Air Pollution Controls and Emission Standards for the Polyurethane Synthetic Leather Industry, which has been renamed the Volatile Organic Compound Air Pollution Controls and Emission Standards for the Polyurethane Coating Industry (hereinafter referred to as the Standards). The amendment added exhaust pipe VOCs standards, emission reduction rates and installation requirements for exhaust-collection equipment, and gave existing operators a grace period of two years to make improvements. After the improvements, the annual VOCs emission is expected to be reduced by 775 metric tons, equivalent to reducing 90% of the average VOCs emission of an oil refinery.
The four focuses of the Standards are: clearly defining regulated targets, regulating VOCs, enhancing odor regulations, and effectively collecting exhaust. Details are as follows:
A. Promoting source reduction and encouraging enterprises to develop water-based manufacturing processes: Polyurethane coating processes are to be regulated. However, water-based-solvent or solvent-free processes are exempt. Once local competent authorities approve the supporting documents submitted by enterprises, exemption will be granted.
B. Increasing end-of-pipe treatment efficiencies and enhancing VOCs controls: Standards for exhaust-pipe VOCs emissions and the treatment efficiency of pollution-control equipment were added.
C. Regulating odors to reduce complaints of neighbors: Standards for exhaust-pipe odor pollutants were added, and controls on newly established operators were enhanced.
D. Enhancing exhaust collection and reducing pollutant emissions: Regulations on exhaust-collection equipment were added. Closed exhaust-collection equipment and enclosing hood should be installed to enhance exhaust collection and the exhaust should be channeled to pollution-control equipment for treatment.
In addition to directly exempting water-based-solvent and solvent-free manufacturing processes from the regulation, the amendment also gave a grace period of two years to existing processes to respond to the stricter exhaust-collection equipment regulations and emission standards. The control on VOCs is expected to be enhanced and a balance between industrial development and environment protection reached.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, November 2022
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)