Protecting air quality is an essential aspect of Eastman’s environmental program. We take our commitment to operating responsibly very seriously, and we continue to do our part to reduce risk and emissions to ensure the safety of the communities where we operate and live.
In 2018, we invested $85 million to convert five boilers at our Kingsport site’s largest powerhouse from coal to natural gas combustion, which reduced previous emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) from the site by nearly 70%. The project was one of the largest, single air-pollution-control projects in our company’s history. The boiler conversion is projected to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by nearly 20%, which is the equivalent of removing 170,000 cars from the road.
Eastman has established new goals for reducing SO2 and nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions. We are committed to reducing SO2 by 95% and NOx by 50% by 2030 from a 2017 baseline.
In addition to the Kingsport conversions, similar projects at other U.S. sites have contributed remarkable improvements. We converted a coal-fired boiler at our Indian Orchard facility in Springfield, Massachusetts, to natural gas in 2015, which reduced SO2 emissions by 99.9% and eliminated hydrogen chloride emissions completely. We have reduced GHG emissions by 42% at this site since the natural gas conversion, which is the equivalent of eliminating the GHG emissions from 9,700 cars.
We also converted two fuel-oil boilers to propane at our facility in Chestertown, Maryland. The boiler conversion, along with a hot-oil unit replacement using propane in place of fuel oil, resulted in a decrease of GHG emissions by almost 9% and a reduction of NOX and SO2 by 62% and 99%, respectively.
We plan to convert more boilers over the next few years.