Mercury losses from the chlor-alkali industry in 2012

Data is available on ODIMS via: https://odims.ospar.org/documents/125

Executive Summary

This report presents the 2012 data on production capacities, atmospheric emissions of mercury, and the amount of mercury in safely deposited wastes. 

The mercury-cell-based chlorine production capacities have further decreased from 2010 to 2012 due to the partial or full conversion of plants to membrane technology. 

Mercury losses through product, waste water and air have decreased about 18,0% from 2010 to 2012, following the decreasing trend since the mid 1990’s. A large part of the decrease is due to the conversion of plants to membrane technology or the shut-down of plants. However, a majority of plants have also managed to further decrease their specific emissions without reducing their mercury-based capacities.

Full Report

Over the years, atmospheric emissions of mercury have been significantly reduced. Significant reductions are reported from a number of countries leading to a total of about 19,2% reduction from 2010 to 2012, although a few notify increases in emissions. All plants now comply with the limit value of 2 g Hg/t Cl2 for air emissions in PARCOM Decision 90/3. 

The amount of mercury in safely deposited wastes has decreased. Some countries report increases and others decreases but these changes do not necessarily correlate to the shutdown of cells or plants. More detailed information to explain year-to-year differences in the amount of mercury in safely deposited wastes is needed. 

Altogether the reported figures show clearly the results of the efforts, which have been achieved since the last assessment in 2013. Chlorine production capacity with mercury cells fell by 0,06% from 2011 to 2012 in the OSPAR maritime area. Over the same period, mercury losses through product, waste water and air and atmospheric emissions of mercury were reduced by 12%.

Location and status of mercury-based chlor-alkali plants in the OSPAR Maritime Area in 2012. Available via https://odims.ospar.org/layers/geonode:ospar_chlor_alkali_data_2012_01_001