Commitment to air quality
Air quality and the reduction of atmospheric emissions are key priorities for the Saras Group,
since they are linked to the health of workers and of the people living in nearby towns.
The Integrated Environmental Authorisation (IEA) is the blueprint of this policy: it sets increasingly strict limits on atmospheric emissions. The Sarroch facility obtained this key authorisation – which is a requirement for plant operation – from the Ministry of the Environment in 2009.
Ours was the first refinery in Italy to receive IEA, thanks to its compliance with emission limits.
Cutting down CO2 emissions
has allowed us to avoid social costs*
of more than € 2 million in one year.
(*) We obtained this figure by applying the social cost of CO2 (€43 per tonne) indicated by the European Commission
to the absolute decrease in CO2 obtained by Saras in one year (46,699 tonnes)
Air quality monitoring
Constant monitoring of air quality is a key element of our proactive environmental protection policy
Fixed measurement stations
Air quality in the area around the refinery is controlled by two monitoring networks. Sarlux owns and operates four measurement stations while ARPAS (the Regional Environmental Protection Agency) operates the three stations owned by the Region of Sardinia.
The total network provides quasi-real time data on changes in pollutant concentrations in air, to ensure that their levels are always below regulatory limits. This constant control ensures fast response in case of need.
The data measured by the stations comprise emissions from all sources in the area, including industrial, urban and non-urban emissions, such as those from vehicle traffic.
Each of the four Sarlux stations (Villa d’Orri, Sarroch, Porto Foxi and the National storage facility) and the ARPAS stations are equipped with analysers that continuously measure the air concentrations of the following pollutants: sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), dust, PM10, carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants such as hydrogen sulphide (H2S), benzene (hydrocarbons) and ozone.
The station located near the National storage facility is also equipped with a weather monitoring station.
Air quality can also be monitored using biological markers and biodiversity studies.
Epiphytic mosses, i.e. those growing on tree trunks, are the most commonly used biomarkers for this type of analysis, because the level of biodiversity is an indicator of the environment’s health: the monitoring methodology is based on a measurement of biodiversity, i.e. the abundance of different moss species.
For some years, the Department of Botanical Sciences of the Faculty of Mathematical, Physical & Natural Sciences of the University of Cagliari has been monitoring the condition of the vegetation over a very wide area covering the inland region of Sarroch. It also uses epiphytic mosses as biomonitors of air quality.
Air quality is assessed using the Index of Atmospheric Purity (IAP). The tests have confirmed that in 2017 too air quality was in the middle values of the IAP scale (classes from 1 to 7).
The field data collected have shown that the bioaccumulation of these substances is lower than the Italian and European annual averages.
Air emission monitoring
Over time, the Group has taken major measures for continuous improvement, including selection of raw materials, improved fuel quality and energy efficiency programmes, to reduce the amount of fuel burnt and hence air emissions.
Our focus on improving air quality and reducing atmospheric emissions has led us to make several technology upgrades to the plants, often well in excess
of legal requirements.
Our benchmark is the Best Available Technologies.
An important role is also played by operating procedures and systems, which are regularly upgraded to optimise the environmental compatibility
of site activities.