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Chemical Plant in Solvay Recognized for Reducing Nitrogen Oxide Emissions by 90 Percent

Davis Hovey

  The owner of the last functioning portion of the former Allied Chemical Plant in Solvay has made a multi-million dollar investment to improve emissions. 

“We did it because Chemtrade is a responsible care company,”  Bob Amend, Chemtrade Logistics Plant Manager, said. “And we take our obligation to the community, to keep it safe and have the smallest environmental footprint possible.”  

In 2014, the company purchased the plant from General Chemical and even before the deal closed, Chemtrade was already negotiating a plan to reduce its toxic emissions of nitrogen oxide, or NOx, with theState Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Interim Regional Director Joseph Sluzar said the plan is significant for many reasons.

“It’s a 90 percent reduction in NOx into the environment, which as you heard, cause acid rain and smog. That’s a big reduction and a huge cost to Chemtrade,”  Sluzar said. “I think it’s also significant because it shows corporation between DEC and industry and the Village of Solvay and local communities.”

That 90 percent is equal to 50,000 tons of NOx.  

DEC Regional Engineer Reggie Miller broke this down into more relatable terms.

“Five-hundred tons per year of NOx is about what 40,000 cars would’ve been over the course of the year if (each car) drove 12,000 miles a year,” Miller said.

This large environmentally-friendly achievement is due to a multi-million dollar piece of machinery which is referred to as a “scrubber”.  This removes nitrogen oxides using a catalyst to convert NOx into nitrogen gas and water vapor, which both occur naturally in the atmosphere. 

Credit Davis Hovey / WAER News
Chemtrade helmets sit on a table before the announcement Friday. The 90 percent reduction in NOx emissions will improve local and regional air quality.

  Sodium nitrate has many industrial applications, playing a role in things like corrosion inhibitors and dye manufacturing. It is also a food preservative.  

As Chemtrade Logistics Syracuse is the only North American facility that manufactures sodium nitrate, Chemtrade’s Bob Amend said you might even find this chemical in its food preservative form on your own breakfast table. 

“When you go to Wegman's – everyone, that’s where they go – and you buy your bacon or your cold cuts, and you flip it over, and it’s got sodium nitrate on it, it was made here in Solvay,” Amend said.

The company’s environmental announcement today coincides with Earth Day andGovernor Cuomo's Earth Week initiative.