Title page for ETD etd-03132006-110841

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Bhimsan, Romi
Email romi1@nrf.ac.za
URN etd-03132006-110841
Document Title Implications of the new air quality bill on the management of H2S emissions from Sasolís operations in Secunda, South Africa
Degree MSc (Society and Environment)
Department Geography, Geo-Informatics and Meteorology
Advisor Name Title
Prof C J de W Rautenbach Committee Chair
  • new air quality bill
  • South Africa
  • Secunda
Date 2005-05-08
Availability restricted
South Africaís economy is highly dependent on natural resources for food and energy production, inputs to manufacturing, and to absorb wastes and pollutants. To achieve sustainable development, it must be recognised that the economy and the environment are co-dependent, i.e. that economic instability leads to environmental degradation, and responsible environmental management makes economic sense.

The development of a number of new environmental policies, the inclusion of environmental rights in the South African Constitution, and the increased funding for environmental issues are positive changes in the South African political environment. These changes have arisen from both national and international impacts, such as redirection of funding within the country, and a marked increase in donor funding from outside South Africa.

However, the challenge for the future lies in implementation, as financial and human resources have not been allocated in proportion to the rapid development in policy. Implementation must occur within the overall government objectives of development, alleviation of poverty, reduction of unemployment and redressing inequity.

The South African Constitution establishes a system of governance that promotes ownership of resources and empowers the public to utilize resources more sustainably. It also encourages interaction and consultation with civil society to draw more inputs. Such an approach allow for public involvement in policy and in implementation processes.

An important aspect to promote in an approach of public empowerment is the value of South Africaís natural resources. This was emphasised by Blignaut et al (2004) who made the following comment: ďChanging economic practices to include environmental resources as capital in the national accounts, will also raise awareness to their real value, and promotes their sustainable useĒ.

SASOL Synfuels business operates the world's only coal-based synthetic fuels and petrochemical manufacturing facility. The business produces synthesis gas from low-grade coal and uses unique Fischer-Tropsch technologies developed by SASOL to convert this into a wide range of fuels, petrochemicals, and industrial pipeline gas. SASOL Synfuels produces the bulk of South Africa's chemical and polymer building blocks, including ethylene, propylene, ammonia, phenolics, alcohols and ketones. As part of this process, SASOL Synfuels produces hydrogen sulphide (H2S) as an unwanted by-product. The process technology used by SASOL recovers most of this H2S as a saleable sulphur product, thereby reducing sulphur emissions.

SASOL has recently (2003) unveiled a new corporate identity and marketing brand encapsulated in three words: Reaching new frontiers. This implies that new frontiers must continue to be reached in managing all safety, health, environmental and related business risks. SASOL has also signed on to the United Nationís (UN) Global Compact initiative in 2001. The aim of this UN initiative is to promote environmentally and socially responsible global growth. Thus the sustainability concept is now integral to SASOLís corporate values, corporate governance framework, business development strategies and daily business operations.

This document gives a background to the air quality bill and its implications on SASOLís operations in Secunda. It also summarises the effects of H2S on people and the environment. This study also reviews possible technologies that could be used by SASOL to reduce H2S emissions and outlines a long-term emission reduction strategy that could be employed.

Copyright 2005, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Bhimsan, R 2005, Implications of the new air quality bill on the management of H2S emissions from Sasolís operations in Secunda, South Africa, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-03132006-110841 / >

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