A Goshen, Ind., fiberglass panel supplier has taken a proactive approach to meeting new pollution standards set down by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
According to the Elkhart Truth, Noble Composites, which employs around 100 people, installed equipment that siginificantly reduces volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a heavily regulated air pollutant.
Noble was already bumping into its limit on VOC emissions four years after the company was founded, which limited production.
The move also helps Noble meet new EPA clean air standards, which will go into effect on April 5 despite a recent lawsuit filed by the state of Indiana. In December, the EPA designated 19 Indiana counties, including Elkhart, as not attaining the federal standard for fine particle pollution.
Noble’s new equipment consists of an elaborate air duct system that captures VOCs and feeds the air to a Modular Retox Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO).
The unit heats the air to 1,500 degrees, causing the compounds to dissipate into water vapor and carbon dioxide. The air is then cooled and sent out the smokestack into the atmosphere.
Noble CFO John Gardner said the unit and installation, which was performed in December, cost was about $600,000.
According to Joe Speicher, environmental and safety manager at Noble, the new equipment allows the company to grow, taking on larger orders and new customers without having to worry about exceeding air quality regulations.
“It pretty much took the limits off our production,” he said.
Noble is the only supplier to the RV industry to use an RTO, according to Tom Easterly, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, who visited the company last week.