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Air Quality


Managing Air Quality Compliance

By 1 April 2020, our existing plants in South Africa were required to meet the point source standards applicable to newly commissioned plants. Sasol has already met the prescribed minimum emission standards for 98% of our emissions sources. Details on all the efforts which contributed to this including the achievements for particulate matter ( PMs) NOx, sulphur dioxide (SO2), incinerators and total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) are included, per operations. For the remaining 2%, we have been provided extension on compliance for the remaining sources via postponements granted by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) until 1 April 2025. We are on track with our air quality roadmaps to achieve this milestone for all point sources except for our steam plant operations in Secunda.

During 2020, we applied for further postponement for four additonal sources at our Secunda Operations following the inclusion of these point sources in the Secunda Atmospheric Emissions Licence upon review thereof. These sources require postponement to meet the volatile organic limits contained in the applicable standard. We recently concluded the required public participation and await the decision of the authorities.

We aim to also achieve compliance for these sources by 1 April 2025. We remain resolute in our intent to achieve our commitments and complete our air quality compliance roadmaps in the last stretch of our compliance journey to ensure that our mature plants meet the prescribed standards for newly commissioned plants along the extended compliance timeframes we obtained through lawful postponements by 1 April 2025.

We are advancing the boiler SO2 compliance roadmap for our steam plant operations in Secunda to meet the recently promulgated limit of 1 000 mg/Nm³. Our compliance efforts include the development of coal beneficiation as an abatement option while also assessing alternative pathways linked to our GHG emission reduction strategy. Coal beneficiation has the potential to reduce SO2 emissions to achieve the promulgated standard of 1 000 mg/Nm³. However, due to the magnitude and complexity of the implementation, execution will likely extend beyond 1 April 2025. Coal beneficiation, however, is not aligned to Sasol’s sustainability objectives and long-term vision of moving away from coal. Feasibility work on coal beneficiation continues while we are exploring synergies with GHG reduction initiatives considering Sasol’s long-term ambition to transform our operations to low-carbon options.

In July 2020, we revised and resubmitted our offset implementation plan, which needed to be submitted as a postponement condition to reduce PMs and SO2. The update made provision for changes to our implementation schedule because of restrictions on regulatory activity related to COVID-19.

While we await approval from the DFFE, we remain committed to implementing these plans which have so far resulted in the avoidance of emissions of more than 207 tons of PM10, 194 tons of PM2,5 and 80 tons of SO2 in the surrounding community/airshed.

We also continue to contribute to achieving the goals set out in the Vaal and Highveld priority area improvement plans and have been involved in the recent revision of these plans. All our activities are regulated through a licensing system issued by the authorities in the different geographies where we operate. These licences require that we report frequently on our emissions to authorities as well as the timeous submission of comprehensive annual air quality compliance reports in South Africa.

Air Quality Abatement Achievements

Prior to 2015, our Secunda, Sasolburg and Natref operations invested in several projects and initiatives aimed at reducing emissions. By the time the Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act , 45 of 1965 permits were replaced by atmospheric emission licences (AELs), 80% of our point and area emission sources for Secunda and point emission sources for Sasolburg and Natref were compliant with the newly promulgated minimum emission standards (MES) with the residual point sources being addressed through air quality compliance roadmaps in accordance with postponements granted.

Since 2015, we have implemented several projects at Secunda, Sasolburg and our joint venture Natref operations, aligned with our commitment to progressively reduce our emissions in accordance with our air quality roadmaps to meet the MES as prescribed in the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, 39 of 2004. We have already met compliance milestones for 98% of our point and area emission sources for Secunda and point emission sources for Sasolburg and Natref. The remaining sources form part of the last part of our compliance journey to enable compliance of our mature plants with the same standards applicable to newly commissioned plants by 1 April 2025 in accordance with postponements (extended compliance timeframes) granted.