It has been found that when converted into CO2, the total amount of greenhouse gas emitted by the Japanese industrial gas industry amounted to 7.8 million tonnes in 2006.

According to the Gas Review, in accordance with the recently revised Law Concerning the Promotion of Measures to Cope with Global Warming, companies which have amounts of energy above set quantities are obliged to report emissions annually.

Around 78 companies involved in the industrial gas community fall under this banner and have been listed, with the Gas Review compiling the total volume of emissions. It has found that of these 78, 57 are air separated gas companies and the volume of CO2 accounts for 84% of CO2 emitted with energy as a source.

The source of emission in the industrial gas industry is directly linked to the consumption of energy required for air separation, meaning that the greatest countermeasure to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions is none other than to raise the efficiency of the ASU.

Among the producers targeted for submitting reports are Taiyo Nippon Sanso (73,000 tonnes), Air Water (657,000 tonnes), Japan Air Gases (97,000 tonnes), and Iwatani Industrial Gases (22,000 tonnes). The figure for Air Water is far higher due to the fact that the company itself is engaged in on-site supply to the steel industry.

The fact is, that the amount of emission from companies with their own large ASU is indeed, very large. It follows that there is no avoiding the simple truth that, with a large volume of sales comes a large volume of emissions.

Furthermore, it also consequently follows that the emission of CO2 itself from the consumption of energy required for the production of gas, can be considered to indicate the business operations of the producers. In other words, this shows the level of activity among the gas companies.

The total volume of emission therefore shows that pressing for reduction is somewhat unreasonable. The key may lie in the extent to which the industrial gas companies are prepared to adopt more efficient processes, and undertake business operations in harmony with the environment.

The industrial gas community is primed for topical suggestions for CO2 countermeasures replacing 30-40 year old plants could be seen as a method of not only updating operations, but also improving efficiencies.

The pursuit of economic potential could therefore also go hand-in-hand with improving environmental impact.