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It can be seen from afar: a new chimney at the Vedag plant on Geisfelder Strasse is expected to contribute significantly to improving the air quality around the bitumen-processing plant. It is the final piece of a new exhaust air filtration system installed on the plant site in recent months. Meanwhile, measurements have confirmed the effectiveness of the 1.3 million euro investment. Recently, representatives of the city’s environmental agency and, a little later, of the Bamberg Green Party had the project explained to them on site. “In this plant, all the vapors produced during bitumen processing are filtered out. It thus also retains significant odor particles”, explained plant manager Bostjan Mursak, according to the company’s press release.
The centerpiece of the plant, which was built on 150 square meters next to a production hall, are two imposing activated carbon filters. From the outside, they look like overseas containers set up on edge; in each of them, 15.6 cubic meters of activated carbon clean the exhaust air that is drawn in from the adjacent production hall via thick sheet steel pipes. It is coupled with a new supply of fresh air into the hall, which also sustainably improves the air quality directly at the production line. For the production of roofing membranes, Vedag heats bitumen to around 180 degrees, mixes it with different additives such as rubber flour, depending on the product line, and finally applies it to a carrier layer.
In terms of air purification, the exhaust air aftertreatment system installed in 2012 had reached its limits when new raw materials and changed formulations were introduced into production a few years ago. As early as the beginning of 2018, Vedag tackled the issue and tested various new methods of exhaust air purification. In addition, greater care was taken to ensure that no vapors escape even during delivery of the bitumen. Large pictograms provided information for the often foreign truck drivers, while video surveillance ensured the necessary discipline. “It was also advantageous that we stopped producing bitumen for road construction at the end of 2018”, adds Mursak. The plant could be up and running by the end of April 2020. After the fine-tuning was completed, detailed measurements showed: All exhaust air values are now in the “green zone”. This was also confirmed by representatives of the city’s environmental office at their on-site visit in mid-October: since the new plant has been in operation, no complaints about odor nuisance have been received there. As soon as the Corona site permits, Bostjan Mursak would again like to make it possible for interested citizens to get to know Vedag from the inside as part of VHS plant tours