CORDIS - Forschungsergebnisse der EU

Plasma active pollution control system

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PAIR (Plasma active pollution control system)

Berichtszeitraum: 2015-05-01 bis 2015-10-31

In 2012 the European emission of CO2-equivalent accounted for 4544.224 million tons , corresponding to 12% of the annual global greenhouse gas emissions, the main cause of global warming. Successful measures taken at European level and by Member States at national level have led to a decreasing trend in European greenhouse gas emissions (total EU greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 fell by 1.8% compared to 2012, which brings them at around 19% below 1990 levels). However, further improvements in air quality are needs to improve to reduce the harmful effects of such gases on human health, the environment and the economy. Indeed, air pollution represents not only a social but also an economical problem. In the period 2008-2012, damages to health and the environment caused by pollutants emitted to air from Europe’s industrial facilities cost at least EUR 329 billion, as reported by Energy Environment Agency (EEA). From a legislative point of view, air pollution is regulated by the existing National Emission Ceilings Directive (NEC Directive) and by EU’s air quality directives that have been reviewed in 2013 by the new Clean Air Policy Package for Europe to achieve full compliance with existing air quality limits by 2020. Therefore, the installation of a diverse set of technologies to prevent and control emissions to air is a critical milestone for numerous EU actors, without which they would be unable to operate, and, at the same time, a huge market potential that still needs to be exploited: the total value of the EU air pollution control market is estimated at around €16 billion, of which treatment technologies comprise 60% .
In this context, the PAIR project aims to introduce in the market an innovative air emission control system, based on plasma technology, for the active and efficient reduction of pollutants and odours deriving from industrial and agricultural activities. In particular, PAIR project will address two specific target markets:
• VOC emissions from solvent producers and users: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) are released in atmosphere mainly by the production and the use of solvents, as well as by the transport sector. VOCs have negative effects on human health (respiratory illnesses, cancer, toxic to reproduction) and on environment (crop and vegetation damages, formation of ground-level ozone). The EU regulates VOC emissions from industrial activities under the Industrial Emissions Directive.
• Gaseous emissions from livestock farms: More than 130 different gaseous compounds have been identified in the air surrounding animal houses and, in addition, the agriculture sector is responsible for over 90% of NH3 emissions across EU. These aerial pollutants can adversely affect the health of farmers and animals, the soil acidification (NH3) and the global warming (e.g. CH4, N2O). Moreover, microorganisms (e.g. Salmonella) provoke high mortality in livestock and can infect human population and odour emission is an increasing problem for neighbouring activities. Livestock farm emissions are included in NEC, in Gothenburg Protocol (1999) and by Directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (96/61/EC). However, there is still a scant regulatory incentive to reduce pollution from factory farming.

The main PAIR goal will be achieved by GRINP through the following objectives:
• Implementation of the technology and its validation in the two reference markets;
• Elaboration of a structured Business Plan for the launch of PAIR system in the selected sectors.
Starting from the beta-prototype of an air pollution control system based on atmospheric plasma technology developed by GRINP and tested in laboratory and field trials with excellent preliminary results, the company will carry out an exhaustive feasibility study that will include several key aspects: focused test fields, market analysis, IPR assessment and stakeholders survey that will converge in the business plan. The latter will drive the next steps towards PAIR’s commercialization.
The activities performed during the project duration comprised:
- Market analysis through:
o Stakeholder interviews to validate the market: environmental control agency, Industry Association, Biogas Association, Large facility emitting VOC.
o Market and competitors analysis, freedom-to-operate assessment.
- New staff training: new professional figure (process engineer with economical background) has been trained to support the company in the market analysis; market validation and business plan drafting.
- Test and implementation of the technology, selection of construction materials based on ratio quality (performance)/price (best value for money); identification of potential suppliers for the creation of the supply chain, lab testing and analysis of abatement mechanism.
- Definition of product cost (materials+manufacturing). They will represent 30% of the final product price.
- Business Plan elaboration. Estimates reveal that the revenues can be higher than expected, even considering one single sectorial application (abatement NMVOC from paint-shop): ≈4,5M€ within 2 years after commercialization and ≈26,5M€ within 5 years.
The first aim of the PAIR project is to establish GRINP presence in the air pollution control systems market.
The expected impacts of the present project are aligned with the European air quality directives and address the need for more efficient and affordable technologies to drastically reduce air pollution.
Main impacts of PAIR can be summarized as:
• Economic:
o The reduction of pollution incidence on health and environment will reduce EU-wide expenses for care and remediation.
o Reduction of abatement costs per treated unit (€5-10 m3/h) in comparison to chemical treatments, combustion and biofilters and their combination (up to €90 m3/h).
o GRINP profit: €26,5 million in sales 5 years after commercialization.
• Environmental:
o Improvement of air quality meeting the more stringent EU legislation.
o Reduction of soil acidification (ammonia) and global warming (e.g. methane).
• Social:
o Reduction of infection and disease for workers in feedstock farmers and in solvents processing plants and for citizens leaving nearby.
o Creation of new jobs in GRINP (+28 within 5 years).

EU-wide/global challenges
PAIR project aims at developing and bringing to the market an innovative air pollution control technology that will address several EU and global priorities. PAIR system is aligned with European (National Emissions Ceiling (NEC) Directive, Air Quality Directives (2008/50/EC and 2004/107/EC)) and Global challenges on air quality. EU Member States have made progress in cutting emissions of several air pollutants , but air pollution reduction remained a worldwide priority because of its impacts on human health, climate change and ecosystems.
Eutrophication: ammonia and nitrogen oxides can cause harmful atmospheric deposition of nutrient nitrogen to sensitive ecosystems. Reducing ammonia emissions from livestock farm will reduce eutrophication in the ecosystems closed to these buildings.
Climate change: VOCs are one of the main causes of ground-level ozone pollution, closely linked to the warming of climate. The international community has agreed that global warming should be kept 2ºC below the pre-industrial time temperature. The Kyoto Protocol also defined a worldwide emissions reduction target to 8% (1990-2012). The EU reviewed this target and set it to 20%, including it in the EU2020 growth strategy.
Human health: Ground-level ozone and benzene and formaldehyde, caused by VOCs, are known to cause cancer. VOC Solvents Emissions Directive (1999/13/EC) regulates the emission from industrial activities.
Antibiotics: in 2011, EU published a new antibiotic –resistance strategy to tighten the regulations governing also veterinary medicines that include the use of some new antimicrobials important to humans. Moreover, in 2012 a new animal-health law has been introduced to prevent disease and to reduce the use of antibiotics. PAIR system will contribute to reduce infection and therefore disease incidence among livestock, thus limiting the use of antibiotics and the potential effect on the development of resistance in human populations.

PAIR system represents a breakthrough innovation for GRINP. GRINP’s growth potential in term of turnover is summarized in the Business Plan, outcome of this project.
The price of PAIR system will vary depending on the application and seizing of the plant/farm. The total sales at fifth year after market launch will be 13,600 k€, with a total profit of 5,900 k€. Required investment for the complete commercialization of PAIR system are estimated to be around 1,5M€. GRINP will then need a deep re-organization of its structure, employing new staff in marketing & sales, in the production department and in quality control (+28 in five years). Moreover, some components of the system will be outsourced, stimulating job creation and local economy.
PAIR concept
PAIR prototype