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Helping others achieve environmental excellence

by David H. Koch 7/1/2011

My brother Charles and I grew up in a family that revered the outdoors.

We spent much of our childhood working on our ranches – an experience that formed the foundation for the conservation and stewardship principles adhered to in our companies today.

Simply put, we strive to conduct business in a way that protects the environment.

I am immensely proud of the many environmental accomplishments of all Koch companies. Since 2009, we have earned 432 environmental, safety, community, innovation and customer service awards.

However, when it comes to environmental excellence, I am especially proud of two companies in the Koch Chemical Technology Group: John Zink and Koch Membrane Systems.

These two businesses are focused on helping all companies, not only those within Koch, to reduce air and water pollution.

In other words, the core of their business mission is to help everyone achieve environmental excellence.

John Zink, LLC.

Most of the products made by Tulsa based John Zink are focused on reducing or eliminating air emissions.

John Zink burners, for example, are designed to lower emissions of NOx (nitrogen oxides) and carbon monoxide.

When we purchased John Zink in 1989, a low-NOx burner produced emissions of around 30 parts per million. Today, low-NOx burners produce less than 10 ppm.

The company’s landfill recovery technologies help minimize methane emissions by collecting and converting them into an energy source used to heat homes, industrial facilities and other institutions.

John Zink has also developed vapor recovery technology that prevents vapors from being released into the atmosphere when tanker trucks are filling up at refineries or terminals.

Multiply all those emission reductions by the thousands of facilities that have installed our technology, and you’ll begin to get an idea of how much we’ve contributed to global environmental improvements.

A flare for improvement

One of John Zink’s growing product areas involves flare gas recovery systems. Flares at refineries and chemical plants can be an important “safety valve,” but they can also create problems, including unwanted emissions, noise and odors.

John Zink’s flare gas recovery systems capture what would have been sent to a flare, recompress that product and put it back into plant processing.

This reduces or eliminates undesirable combustion emissions while also reducing noise and odors.

From a strictly operational standpoint, our systems also reduce purchased fuel consumption and extend the life of flare tips, which can be expensive and difficult to replace.

Other Koch companies are some of our best customers for these products.

Flint Hills Resources, for example, has installed John Zink flare gas recovery systems at its Pine Bend and Corpus Christi refineries. Our recent installation at FHR’s Port Arthur chemical plant will begin operation this summer.

Koch Membrane Systems

Koch Membrane Systems specializes in products for treating water and wastewater. It is a global leader in membrane filtration and separation technology.

KMS membranes have been installed in more than 15,000 systems around the world.

As a result, drinking water is cleaner, processed foods are safer and billions of gallons of water used for industrial processes can now be reclaimed.

Reclamation is an area of growing concern for the many municipal water systems that are not only concerned about purity, but about reclaiming and reusing water more efficiently.

From the palace at Versailles to a brewery in Australia, our products help them do just that.

One of the most energy-efficient wastewater facilities in the world – built for the city of Santa Paula, Calif. – uses KMS technology capable of treating 4.2 million gallons per day while at the same time reducing energy costs compared to the outdated system it replaced.

KMS polymeric membranes are so efficient that they can filter out harmful particles as small as one billionth of a meter. That’s even smaller than the size of a virus or bacterium.

Because of their effectiveness, global demand for Koch Membrane Systems’ water filtration products is growing. Four or five years from now, they will probably account for 75 percent of KMS sales.

Home grown

John Zink and KMS are not the only contributors to environmental excellence within Koch Chemical Technology Group.

Koch-Glitsch is working with licensors of new technology to develop structured packing that can be used for CO2 capture.

Koch-Glitsch also manufactures fiber bed mist eliminators to reduce the emissions of lube oil tank vents. And its random packing products and trays are vital components of pollution control scrubbers.

Ours is a technology-driven business. That’s one reason why Koch Chemical Technology Group devotes significant resources toward research and development of technologies to protect the environment.

These are the kinds of technologies that are both good for business and help maintain a cleaner, healthier environment for everyone.

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