At Kraton, sustainability includes responsible use of resources and manufacturing processes to reduce waste, emissions and energy consumption. We have also made numerous improvements and upgrades to our refineries to improve overall yield. With the scale of our operation, every increase in efficiency makes a real impact.
We continually develop products and processes for better sustainability and performance. Our production facilities in the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific – through our joint venture partners – implement manufacturing industry best practices, enabling us to generate higher value for customers in a resource-efficient way.
Kraton’s new pilot plant for polymers at the Belpre site enable us commercialize new products faster, since we can test new polymers before scaling and running it on full scale production lines.
Our Sandarne and Oulu plants continue to reduce fossil fuels in their production process. Sandarne developed a mixture of purified pitch fuel – obtained from our distillation process – to run the heaters at the plant. It is now a sustainable fuel powering normal operations, and fossil fuels are only needed to start up and shut down the process. This process improvement enable us to further reduce the use of heavy fuel oil and allow us to run the steam boiler and heaters with our operations’ own by-products – increasing our resource efficiency as we discover new ways to use every part of the crude tall oil (CTO).
The Sandarne plant also improved online measurement methods, such as the near-infrared (NIR) sorting system for material analysis. We now control the refining process from the NIR instrument since we receive the chemical analysis from a probe, eliminating the need for manual samples. With the feedback from the refining process analysis, we get more stable quality. The Sandarne plant is now focusing on improving the refining process’ graphical presentations to optimize yields. Operators will see numbers on their screens when refining crude tall oil (CTO), and they can see if they are maximizing TOFA or if it is being lost to by-products. This will improve the interface so operators can more efficiently refine CTO to get more prime products.
We are committed to continuously improving the environmental stewardship of our operations. We strive to reduce our environmental impact. To decrease our greenhouse gas emissions from our operations, we are minimizing energy use in our plants and switching to cleaner burning fuels by using our by-products for fuel. We continue to implement effective waste reduction programs, especially in the areas of eliminating leaks and spill, waste water treatment and improving quality and production consistency as we work toward a vision of increased resource efficiency and minimized waste generation.
We have a commitment to keep our waters clean and safe. Most of our plants are located near a water source, and we take extra measures to eliminate risks of impacting them. We work to decrease water consumption by improving our site processes. We invest extensively to build new and upgrade existing secondary containment structures that adhere to company-wide standard and local regulations. Located along the Ohio River, our Belpre plant takes the utmost care to ensure the water we return to the environment meets permit requirements. We also put considerable efforts into mitigating the risk of pollutants reaching the environment, such as by installing detectors at various critical points.
We continuously strive to improve our processes and reduce the generation of process residuals, particularly solvents, which are recycled for use at several sites. We divert more than half of our hazardous waste to be recycled or used for energy recovery. As we work towards increasing resource efficiency and minimizing waste generation, we will continue implementing effective waste-reduction programs, especially in the areas of