Air Pollutants: What are they, why do we abate them, where are they found and how do we address them?
Air pollutants which are also commonly referred to as Hazardous Air Pollutants, HAPs and air toxics are those pollutants known to cause serious health impacts or adverse environmental effects. The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to regulate toxic air pollutants from categories of industrial facilities. This is done in two phases, the first being technology-based, where standards for controlling the emissions of air toxics from industry are created. The top of these standards are referred to as BACT, Best Available Control Technologies and this is where GCES excels as a pollution control solution provider.
With the EPA focused on reducing 187 toxic air pollutants from being emitted there is a never ending list of hazardous air pollutants we are tasked with abating for our customers, the environment and the future. In our series on air pollutants we will review what air pollutants are, why we abate them, where they are found and how they are destroyed.
Part 1 of Abating Hazardous Air Pollutants: BTEX
BTEX: BTEX is an acronym that stands for Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene and Xylenes. These compounds are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are found in petroleum and petroleum products such as gasoline. Let’s break down each of these VOCs and explore why we abate them.
What is Benzene? Benzene, C6H6, is considered one of the elementary petrochemicals with a molecule combination of six carbon atoms and one hydrogen atom. Because its contents are only carbon and hydrogen atoms it is classified as a hydrocarbon. Benzene is colorless and highly flammable with a sweet odor.
Where is Benzene found? Benzene’s primary uses are in the fabrication of other chemicals including ethylbenzene, cumene, cyclohexane, nitrobenzene and alkylbenzene with ethylbenzene being the most common. Ethylbenzene is used to make polymers and plastics such as polystyrene and EPS. Benzene can also be found in phenol, acetones for resins and adhesives, nylon, rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents drugs, explosives and pesticides. With all of these uses we must further explore the need for abatement. [Read more…]