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Air quality assessment for foundry design and construct project

Client

A global manufacturer of cast and fabricated products.

The client’s South Australian foundry is a major supplier of cast metal products to the mining industry. The foundry was undergoing an upgrade as part of its Odour Environmental Improvement Program.

Challenge

The Odour Environmental Improvement Program involved the design and construction of an improved fume-extraction system to collect odorous fume and disperse it via a new stack. The design included new fume-extraction systems in the mould-pouring and mould-cooling buildings, and closing-in the roof of the mould-pouring building. The design needed to ensure that odours generated by the site’s manufacturing processes would be effectively captured and suitably dispersed via the stack.

The success of the project depended on understanding the incremental changes to overall site air quality during and at the completion of the project. This required knowledge of existing air emissions, understanding of expected air emission inventory changes during each construction phase, and prediction of the resultant environmental air impact at the completion of the project.

The challenge was to establish a robust air-dispersion model that would allow site engineers to evaluate the merits of various construction elements and refine design aspects early in the project. The model also needed to provide foundry management with the confidence that the final construction would achieve intended environmental odour results.

Solution

The client selected Advitech’s environmental team to provide an expert evaluation of the air quality aspects of the proposed foundry upgrade. With 27 years of technical experience, our process and environmental engineers were well placed to provide a high-quality technical assessment of the proposed odour control measures, and support the client in achieving its odour improvement objectives.

Advitech’s engineers applied dispersion modelling to evaluate air quality and building ventilation design. The air quality model provided a quantitative measure of environmental impacts, with the flexibility required to undertake numerous air quality sensitivity analyses. The client was quickly and effectively provided with the knowledge required to understand the full impacts of the proposed fume extraction system, and the ability to optimise the design before construction began.

Specifically, the air quality model provided the foundry operator with the knowledge to:

  • Understand air quality impacts from specific sources
  • Understand the impact of each construction element
  • Refine and optimise the design of structures including stack height, stack location, ventilation system design and ducting layouts
  • Understand the overall environmental impact associated with each construction stage
  • Communicate effectively with the South Australian Environmental Protection Authority to demonstrate efforts to reduce environmental impact.

On completion of construction, the air quality model would continue to support the foundry. For example, the model helps determine when certain activities are least likely to cause odour nuisance. This understanding of the influence of production schedule changes on odour impacts enabled the operator to better manage production into the future.

Outcome

The foundry management team was able to compile an accurate estimate of construction costs based upon upfront air quality dispersion and building ventilation designs. They also had confidence the proposed designs would achieve their desired environmental outcomes. Front-end scenario analysis enabled decisions to be made early in the project, before construction, when the costs associated with design changes are minimal. Advitech’s environmental experts’ air quality model reduced both environmental and financial risk for the project, and supported the client’s commitment to improve air quality.

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