PEP Announces 2022 Environmental Stewardship Awards

PEP Announces 22nd Annual Environmental Stewardship Awards Recipients

The Partners for Environmental Progress (PEP) has announced the recipients for their annual Environmental Stewardship Awards. The partners honored this year exhibited exemplary commitment to the protection and betterment of our coastal environment, economy and community.  This year’s recipients were officially recognized at the annual meeting on September 29, 2022.

While 2020 was a tough year for all of us, the businesses and organizations below remained dedicated to this cause by completing past and beginning new projects.

Airbus - Landfill Diversion

The Airbus facility is the only North American assembly plant and delivery center for the A220 and the A320, the only two Airbus single-aisle commercial airplanes in production today. The facility’s largest waste streams are crates and packaging materials that support the airplane assembly process. To improve its landfill diversion rate, Airbus migrated from a single stream recycling approach to sorted material recycling for cardboard, metals and wood. Most of their general waste now serves as an energy source for a local concrete manufacturing facility. As a result, Airbus has prevented 874 tons of material from entering local landfills while supporting local businesses. This new sorted material recycling and energy recovery enhanced their landfill diversion rates from 23% in 2020 to 85% by the end of 2021. With these alternative uses for the waste streams, Airbus continues to move the facility closer to a zero landfill footprint.

AM/NS Calvert - Native Habitat Restoration

AM/NS Calvert, a 50/50 joint venture between ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel Corporation, is a steel

processing plant located in Calvert, Alabama. AM/NS provides high-quality grade steel to various industries – automotive, construction, appliance and HVAC, to name a few.

The AM/NS Calvert site has more than 2,300 acres of undeveloped habitat. The company has a strong foundation in implementing progressive environmental practices and sustainability. AM/NS launched an afforestation project to conserve one of the country’s most crucial and endangered environments – the longleaf pine savanna. In March of 2021, approximately 6,000 longleaf pine saplings were planted throughout the site to naturalize 65 acres of low habitat value land, an essential step toward native habitat restoration. Once the forest has reached maturity, greenhouse gas emissions will reduce by 130 tons annually, which translates to approximately 300,000 miles traveled by car. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources was an essential partner in this project. AM/NS Calvert continues to research and implement projects that contribute to the sustainability of Mobile & Washington Counties.

BASF - Waste Stream Optimization Project

BASF in McIntosh, Alabama produces chemicals vital to our economy’s sustainability and quality of life. Climate protection is a key pillar of BASF’s sustainability efforts, with a goal to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and reduce absolute carbon dioxide emissions by 25% by 2030.

Through BASF’s site waste minimization program, employees continuously evaluate all waste streams to identify opportunities to reduce the quantity and improve sustainability in the disposal. BASF produces Light Stabilizers that enhance the durability of plastics and coatings for automotive and construction materials, resulting in hazardous waste shipped offsite for energy recovery. In 2021, employees determined that this waste could be used onsite. A total of 1.9 million pounds of recovered t-butanol was transferred from Light Stabilizers to the hazardous waste boiler at the McIntosh site. The impact of this project is the elimination of 35 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from transportation and 554 metric tons of Natural Gas (CH4) in one year. This impact is equivalent to 3,040 passenger vehicles driving the roads for one year or almost 600,000 trash bags of waste diverted from local landfills.

Evonik - Chilled Water Optimization Project

Evonik is a world leader in specialty chemicals, with more than 20 individual production units across their plant site in Mobile, Alabama. Evonik’s Energy and Utilities Unit implemented digital tools to reduce energy input for steam, chilled water, and compressed air production.

Evonik’s advanced process control module minimized energy input for chilled water and compressed air production. This upgrade resulted in energy savings of over 3 million kilowatt-hours per year and a water reduction of nearly 9 million gallons of freshwater per year. It also equates to a reduction of 1700 metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere, thus reducing the site’s carbon footprint.

Their second phase focused on steam production by minimizing natural gas consumption and freshwater usage with KPI monitoring and improved process control. Evonik reduced steam venting by approximately 11,721 metric tons per year, saving the facility an additional 3 million gallons of fresh water and another 725-ton reduction of carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere each year.

Evonik’s new digital tools illustrate their commitment to clean water on the Gulf Coast by effectively balancing the supply and demand of the Mobile site’s chill water usage.

Outokumpu - Refractory Recycling

Outokumpu is a recognized leader in the stainless steel industry. Their state-of-the-art mill in Calvert, Alabama, turns raw materials into stainless steel using the most progressive steel-making technologies.

The Melt Shop team found a way to recycle refractory, a large volume material used to line the electric arc furnace, ladles and other process equipment. The new process included crushing the leftover material and using it as a substitute for raw material in the electric arc furnace process. In one year, this project eliminated over 1800 tons of waste that would have gone to a local landfill. Outokumpu also prevented more than 150 truckloads of raw material from being driven to and placed in a local landfill, equivalent to providing power to 350 homes each year. The new refractory recycling process has been so successful that it is now a permanent process in the Melt Shop.

Ransom Ministries, Inc. - E-Waste Disposal

The mission of Ransom Ministries is to empower the people they serve to utilize their God-given gifts and talents in their careers and community. Ransom Ministries meets two pressing needs in our community. The Ransom ReProgram addresses workforce shortages and deficiencies by offering job readiness education and employment for returning citizens, the homeless and graduates of substance abuse treatment programs. The ReProgram participants work for Ransom Recycling, an electronic waste disposal program offering the proper disposal and recycling of valuable commodities, such as copper, gold, steel, and aluminum which reduce the energy and cost of mining and processing these basic materials. The U.S. generates more e-waste per resident than any other nation, but only 15-20 percent of all e-waste is recycled. Ransom Recycling helps prevent illegal dumping of e-waste or unregulated destruction. Many of these materials represent an environmental threat and public health hazard because they contain toxic compounds, including heavy metals and flame retardants. Ransom will recycle over 500,000 pounds of electronics this year, which equals 1.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere.

W&T Offshore - Plant Consolidation

W&T Offshore Incorporated is an independent oil and natural gas producer active in the exploration, development, and acquisition of oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico. W&T has been operating the Fairway Field Production platforms in Mobile Bay and the Yellowhammer gas plant in Coden, Alabama, since 2011.

W&T Offshore is committed to being a good neighbor and responsible operator in the lower Alabama area. When they acquired the working interests from ExxonMobil in nine shallow water-producing fields in Mobile Bay and the Onshore Treating Facility in Theodore in 2019, W&T worked to consolidate these plant locations. Within the first year of ownership, W&T redirected the natural gas production treated at Yellowhammer to the Onshore Treating Facility. This redirect enabled W&T to shut down Yellowhammer in January 2021, eliminating approximately 55,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, comparable to almost 12,000 passenger vehicle emissions for one year. 

The increased gas flow to the Onshore Treating Facility did not cause a substantial increase in emissions from the remaining facility. This plant consolidation has allowed W&T to have a smaller environmental footprint and is a more efficient use of resources, all without sacrificing jobs in the area.

Eagle Reef Project

Each year, the PEP Board of Directors honors a Community Partner, an entity or individual that has truly impacted Coastal Alabama’s sustainability and resiliency. PEP’s 2022 Community Partner Award goes to John Shell, a Boy Scout in Troop 147 in Mobile, Alabama. The Eagle Reef is John’s Eagle Scout project, and his initial goal was to raise funds to deploy 100 mini reefs across coastal Alabama to help clean our water and improve the fish and crab population along our coastlines. 

The reefs are 4 feet by 3 feet, made of lightweight material and placed under any pier or dock. The reef floats up and down with the tide and, once loaded with oysters, barnacles, and other filter feeders, will filter and clean 1.1 million gallons of water annually. Additionally, each mini reef acts as a nursery and grows 200 fish and 300 crabs annually.

The reefs will be deployed across coastal Alabama, including Dog River, Fowl River, Dauphin Island, Orange Beach and Perdido Bay. The reefs can thrive anywhere south of Fairhope and are especially effective for filtering water in areas with a limited tidal flow, such as the canals of Ono Island, Dauphin Island and Orange Beach.

To date, John has raised funds for 175 reefs and is organizing volunteers to help assemble and deploy the reefs. He is also seeking an individual or organization to continue the project after he completes his original reef goal and earns his Eagle Scout Award. When these initial 175 reefs are deployed, they will filter over 1.9 billion gallons of water annually!

Read more about PEP’s Environmental Stewardship Awards. You can also learn more about the award criteria and application process for 2023.

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