The University of South Alabama’s College of Engineering has been recognized by Partners for Environmental Progress for its commitment to creating a more sustainable Gulf Coast through its founding leadership and participation in By-Product Synergy Central Gulf Coast.
Partners for Environmental Progress is composed of businesses in Mobile and Baldwin counties that believe in and support a balance between business development, industrial growth and a healthy environment. Founded in 2000, the nonprofit group uses science and facts to promote economic growth while enhancing air and water quality in the region. By-Product Synergy Central Gulf Coast is a collaborative network of large and small PEP business members that explores reuse ideas. Begun in July 1999, the Gulf Coast BPS program, based on a model developed by the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development, is one of only six such formal alliances in the nation.
Dr. John Steadman, dean of the College of Engineering, headed the BPS technical team that reviewed each of the 12 participating businesses inflows and outflows in a confidential and uniform database to ensure the protection of manufacturing and trade secrets. Steadman and his team used the data to identify reuse synergies between the participating companies. For example, Evonik Degussa, one of the participating businesses, sends chemical by-products to companies that use them in fertilizer and fuel, saving the Degussa plant $750,000 annually and reducing its waste by 6.7 million pounds.
Accepting the award on behalf of USA, Steadman said, “It is a great pleasure for those of us in the College of Engineering to be included in this project that provides economic benefit to local companies while simultaneously benefiting our environment. We are grateful for this opportunity to work with PEP and our industry partners, putting engineering knowledge to constructive use.”
PEP presented an Environmental Award to each of the 12 companies participating in the program during PEP’s annual meeting in May. The impact of the BPS program is illustrated by the following results:
- three highly-successful BPS projects were started
- nine BPS projects were identified and are being evaluated for economic viability before implementation
- implemented projects have resulted in more than $1.6 million in savings for participating companies
- BPS projects have diverted more than 18 million pounds of materials from landfills, wastewater treatment plants and other disposal sites
- BPS economic savings are the equivalent of 50 jobs saved or created
- BPS resulted in an additional $3.2 billion injected into the local economy
- BPS diverted 5,300 tons of hydrochloric, hydrofluoric and nitric acids from going into waste treatment plants or deep injection wells
- BPS reduced notable emissions of carbon dioxide
Drs. Jagdish Dhawan and Thomas Thomas of the College of Engineering also contributed to the project.