The AGC Group burns heavy oil, natural gas and other substances to melt raw materials for glass production, and inherently, a large quantity of SOx, NOx, soot, dust and more is emitted. Therefore, the AGC Group has determined these substances to be the major air pollutants that the Group produces. To address this situation, the Group installed exhaust gas treatment facilities, and improved its technology to measure and analyze them. Furthermore, AGC conducts an annual check on the change in emissions based on its in-house environmental indicators. Information on best practices and ways to prevent pollution is also shared between various Group sites.
In China, environmental legislation is becoming stricter year by year. In 2007, while adopting coating equipment at AGC Flat Glass (Dalian) (AFD), an exhaust gas treatment facility was also installed. In 2009, Dalian city adopted stricter regulations for SOx emissions, and AFD has been able to meet the regulation requirements with an existing desulfurization system which has been in operation since 2007. In 2014, NOx emissions were added to China’s glass furnace emission regulations. In order to conform to the change, various measures to decrease NOx emissions were implemented at AFD and AGC Flat Glass (Suzhou). Through monitoring NOx emissions and implementing measures to reduce all emissions, the Group is meeting all regulation values, including those for SOx, soot and dust.
Recently in China, air pollution by substances with environmental impacts, including PM2.5 particulates, is growing serious. The Chinese government is promoting to strengthen pollutant emission regulations, and in April 2014, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection made the installation of desulfurization, denitrification and dust removal facilities, and the introduction of online monitoring systems for these facilities, mandatory at glass manufacturing plants in the cities of Beijing and Tianjin, and Hebei Province.
Against this backdrop, the AGC Group cooperated with local engineering companies to offer its own denitrification technology to local glass manufacturers. By popularizing this technology, the Group is helping to address the air pollution problem.
The AGC Group’s flue gas denitrification technology is highly valued for its track record of long-term continuous operation at AGC production sites as well as the fact that it can be made compatible not only with melting furnaces that use natural gas, but also with those which use low-quality heavy oil, with its many impurities, its remote data surveillance; and its after-sales service technology—and its adoption is progressing. The denitrification facilities supplied to local glass manufacturers in 2015 continue to operate stably and results are reported to the central government. The Group exchanges information with the Chinese Government and the China Plate Glass Association, including all parties concerned on the issue.
The AGC Group plans to continue contributing to the improvement of China’s environmental issues through the provision of its technology.
AGC Glass Brazil
AGC Glass Brazil plant
As Brazil’s economic growth continues, the consumption of natural resources is accelerating, and coping with environmental issues has become an urgent task. AGC Glass Brazil (AGBR) has equipped its plant, which began operations in 2013, with the latest technology in order to lighten the environmental burden generated by its manufacturing processes.
For example, AGBR equipped glass melting furnaces with the latest fume treatment units in South America. Introducing these devices results in lowering particle emissions to less than 1/10th of the regulation levels set by Brazil's National Environment Council (CONAMA), while SOx and NOx emissions also fall below these standards. AGBR’s facilities and stringent self-regulation initiatives have been praised by the local government as model standards to guide other corporations.
AGC Glass Brazil also uses glass melting furnaces to combust organic compound gases emitted from the coating process in order to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In addition, the company has installed a system for recycling and recirculating cooling water to reduce the amount of water consumed in the manufacturing process.
As such, AGC Brazil’s actions to support environmental protection meets or exceeds all applicable laws and regulations aimed at creating a healthy environment for future generations.
While stating that strict compliance with the applicable laws and regulations is a prerequisite, the AGC Group’s Guideline for Prevention of Soil and Groundwater Contamination sets standards for the storage and handling of hazardous substances, storage tank management, and for drainage and rainwater management. The Guideline also sets basic rules about information disclosure with respect to the measures to be taken when soil or groundwater contamination is detected.
AGC Asahi Glass has been continuing measures to prevent the spread of any pollutants and to decontaminate polluted sites. It regularly reports progress to the relevant administrative agency and discloses this information on the Group website and through other media.