Safety and society

Safety is our number one priority, ensuring that – at the end of the day – everyone returns to home in good health. We always strive to be a good neighbor, both to our internal and external neighbors. The program line Safety and society  focusses on securing of integral process safety and societal acceptance.

In order to comply with our goals and continue to do so in a changing environment, we work on several sub-themes within three main themes:

  • Safety Leadership
  • Governance & Processes
  • Asset Design & Operation
Download flyer

Esta de Goede shares her opinion to make you aware of the importance of safety and social acceptance as enablers for the transition to a sustainable chemical industry > Go to Expert opinion

Interested in participating?

I would be delighted to meet you and discuss how we can work together.

The safest, most competitive and most sustainable chemicals and materials site

The future outlook is that in 2025 Chemelot is to be the safest, most competitive and most sustainable chemicals and materials site in Western Europe. In 2050 Chemelot has been successful in implementing and maintaining the highest safety standards in a changing industry. Chemelot is an industry leader in safety and shares its expertise with others. And each day, all colleagues return in good health to their homes in a society that accepts our presence.

Do you want to contribute to this program, or do you want to make use of our services? Please get in touch with Esta de Goede, manager of this program line. We are looking forward to meeting you!

We want to make a major contribution to the transition of the chemical industry to other energy and feedstock sources, with the aim of making this sector climate neutral and circular while retaining employment. Safety & societal acceptance are enablers for the transition to a sustainable chemical industry. In this Expert opinion series, Esta de Goede (Program Manager Safety & society) shares her opinion. She wants to make you aware of the importance of safety and social acceptance and is available for questions. Ask Esta to think along with you and share your opinion!

Esta: “In my opinion, safety is an overlooked theme when developing solutions for the sustainability transition. Currently, the focus of proposals is often on technology and revenues. At Brightsite, safety and acceptance are the foundation of our innovations, techniques and scenarios. It is crucial for future-proof developments that will make an impact. It must be safe for the employees, environment and society and if not it won’t be accepted and is of no use. Safety and acceptance is not a stationary field, but constantly on the move. The standards of qualification shift, because of technical and social developments. Performance in the future requires a coordinated, systematic and multidisciplinary programmatic and project-based approach. It requires thinking ahead and building on current and future legislation and society. Society changes and does no longer accept risks and nuisance. I will share my ‘Expert opinion’ in a series, to help you along.”

More dynamic methods to identify emerging hazards

For the chemical industry, the transition to climate neutrality means a switch to new raw materials and new or modified technologies. In addition, systems around the industry will change drastically. This requires adapted and new methods to identify and recognize the hazards in time: methods that are probably more dynamic in nature. The following expert opinion is about more dynamic methods to identify emerging hazards.

Upcoming…

The fifth expert opinion will be published in December 2022.

Part 2 | New emerging hazards that the energy and raw materials transition will entail

We are aware of the hazards associated with our current chemical processes. Hazards can change as a result of the energy and raw materials transition with which the Netherlands wants to become climate neutral. Firstly, it concerns the hazards of new processes: the subject of expert opinion 3. However the emerging energy and raw materials transition also entails hazards that are more system-related. Think, for example, of future changing business operations with flexible use of electricity. System hazards is the subject of expert opinion 4.

Part 2 | New emerging hazards that the energy and raw materials transition will entail

The chemical industry is working on the transition to climate neutral. During the transition, the hazards of our current processes must remain under control. At the same time, the hazards induced by system changes must be

recognized in time. Do we take enough time to identify the hazards related to upcoming system changes and do we take appropriate measures? ‘System’ is a catch-all term. Systems are everywhere, are often complex and that is why we divide them into subsystems. Systems determine and influence the hazards that exist, the risks we run and thus the choices we (can) make. In the transition to climate neutrality, we, ‘System Chemelot’, have to deal with increasingly complex interactions: with the ecosystem, with Dutch (sub) systems such as energy, raw materials and product logistics and social systems such as (regional) communities. And also with measures such as ETS, nitrogen regulations, the discharge permit, subsidies, ESG reporting and soon the new Dutch ‘omgevingswet’ and much more. And that also at European, national and local level. With the transition to climate neutrality, established systems are coming under pressure or are being changed, for example to accommodate scarcity of electricity or biomass or new transport modes for raw materials. New (sub) systems are also being added, such as satellite sites. All this leads to different dynamics and therefore also to other hazards that Chemelot and the chemical industry have to take into account. Take the electricity supply system as an example. Most plants are designed for stable process operation within a fixed band of production volumes. Making the chemical industry more sustainable through electrification also means facing intermittent supply of green power and price fluctuations. This makes flexibilization (‘Demand Side Response) by increasing and decreasing power consumption and/or intermittent operation (off-on) of processes increasingly attractive. What hazards does this method of operating a chemical installation entail? Have we adequately identified the relevant Loss of Containment scenarios and other potential hazards in these situations? Circularity is another example. Setting up sustainable circular value chains can lead to a more varying quality of raw materials for the chemical industry. Changes in business operations will then be inevitable with accompanying new hazards. Another type of system change arises from the introduction of the new Dutch ‘omgevingswet’: participation. In the long run, participation can lead to more social acceptance of the activities of the chemical industry as well. On the other hand, a poorly performed participation process is a danger to our reputation. Due to the increasing complexity and speed of changes, our current (mostly static) methods are only partly suitable for future use. The many variables and interactions require new – more dynamic – methods to give us the insights we need to identify and recognize hazards in time and to be able to take appropriate measures. 1) a purposefully ordered coherent whole of related things and their parts. Source online from Dale.

The increasing complexity and speed of changes that put increasing pressure on systems and can lead to system change also require a timely review of the methods we use to identify and recognize hazards in time. The use of (system) dynamics to increase our understanding is an option. Do you have experience with this, do you want to think along with us?

Do you have questions regarding to this subject, do you want to contribute to this program, or do you want to make use of our services? Please get in touch with Esta de Goede, manager of this program line. We are looking forward to meeting you!

New emerging hazards that the energy and raw materials transition will entail

We are aware of the hazards of our current chemical processes. We have taken appropriate measures in our factories with regard to the associated risks. But have you ever considered that these hazards could change as a result of the energy and raw materials transition with which the Netherlands wants to become climate neutral? Or that existing measures will no longer be sufficient due to future changes in the way we operate our plants? In expert opinion 3 we will discuss the new emerging hazards that the energy and raw materials transition will entail. This mainly concerns new hazards of the new processes, such as large-scale hydrogen use, plasma chemistry and electricity.

New emerging hazards that the energy and raw materials transition will entail

The chemical industry is working on the transition to climate neutral. And there’s a rush, and that rush has only increased given developments in the global climate. During the transition, the hazards of our current processes must remain under control. At the same time, the hazards of emerging technologies must be recognized. This time pressure is a concern: do we take enough time to discover the hazards of new technologies and take appropriate measures?

For example, consider electrification. For Brightsite Plasma-based electrical chemistry is a key technology to climate neutral. Safety advantages of plasma chemistry are the relatively small reactor volume (holdup) and the rapid stop of the chemical reactions if electricity is cut or switched off. With plasma chemistry we are introducing new hazards: exposure to electricity or radiation for employees, very high temperatures and reactions to reactive products like acetylene.

Another example: hydrogen will play an important role in the transition. Compared to natural gas, hydrogen is more flammable and more explosive and flames of hydrogen are virtually invisible. An advantage is that hydrogen evaporates faster. Because of international transportability, there is increasing interest in packaging hydrogen in energy carriers such as methanol or ammonia. This must be done safely.

The raw materials of the future for the chemical industry will also change: biogenic and/or derived from (plastic) waste. The same consistently high quality for raw materials from biomass or waste has not yet been achieved, partly because the process to arrive at the raw materials is not yet fully understood. Mechanical or chemical pre-treatments for plastic waste are in full development. The quality of raw materials and the robustness of the processes for creating and processing them will have to be matched.

The methods we currently use to identify hazards have been developed for our current processes. These methods are partly applicable to estimate the hazards for plants of the future. Anticipating changes in society, regulations and newly applied technologies, additional methods must be developed in time.

Innovation and haste are a bad combination that can lead to unsafety. Sufficient attention and collaboration to identify the hazards and the methods needed in time are crucial for the transition to be successful. Do you want to think along with us? Please get in touch with Esta de Goede, manager of this program line. We are looking forward to meeting you!

Is your Process Safety Analysis fit for purpose?

The chemical industry is investing heavily in robust HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) management systems, as well as in initiatives that will bring about a continuous increase in process safety. In the years to come, HSE management will be faced with major challenges due to increasing complexity resulting from digitalization and the emergence of new technologies. This changing situation means that our HSE management systems and methodologies may no longer be suitable as a means of identifying and assessing risks on forehand. We need to realize that the methods we use nowadays have evolved with the companies we are, with the technologies we use. In this expert opinion we will focus on the Process Safety Analysis (PSA) methodology from this perspective. The focus of the PSA is on chemical hazards & interactions and process conditions.

What is a Process Safety Analysis (PSA)? Are you aware that the way you do a PSA may not match with the technologies you need for the transition? At what moment in a development should you do a PSA? Click on the tab above to read the expert opinion.

Is your Process Safety Analysis fit for purpose?

The fundamentals for the PSA have been drawn up by one of the founders of process safety – Trevor Kletz – in the 80’s of the past century. A PSA is a structured method meant to identify one of the aspects of inherent safe design i.e. the inherent chemical process hazards. With the PSA the possibility of eliminating these hazards and controlling possible effects of remaining hazards can be evaluated aiming to prevent, reduce, and protect to reach a safe environment. Eliminating inherent chemical hazards leads to an inherent safe design. In other words: Safe-by-Design. The result of a PSA is a fundamental document in managing your process safety. It is the documented chemical hazard knowledge to be used in design, operations and Management of Change. For a lot of companies the details of the PSA used, evolved in a way that was dictated by the nature of the type of production processes, used raw materials and final products.

Brightsite is aware that for the transition of the chemical industry to climate neutrality new processes with other raw materials, energy sources and operation modes need to be developed. This means that the PSA methods we normally use may not be fit for purpose anymore. So we decided to go back to the basic principles of the PSA and check their applicability to anticipated future requirements. Next we apply these (possibly adjusted) basic principles on future new developments.

We start with PSA in the earliest stages of our developments. And we will update the PSA in the course of the development. In our PSA we make a hazard inventory based on chemical hazards, chemical interactions and the intended chemical process. Via the key words: minimize, substitute, attenuate and simplify we challenge how we can eliminate or minimize hazards. Our perfect team to do this is a multidisciplinary group and an independent chair.

Do you use a PSA methodology to identify the hazards of the processes you need for the transition? Brightsite is curious to hear your experiences. Please get in touch with Esta de Goede, manager of this program line. We are looking forward to meeting you!

Safety & societal acceptance in the transition to a sustainable chemical industry

Brightsite wants to demonstrate that the Dutch climate agreement goals for 2030 and 2050 can be reached by applying existing and developing new technologies at industrial scale. Technologies that will enable chemical industry to become circular and climate neutral.

Are the innovative new technologies and scenarios for the transition of the chemical industry to circular and climate neutral viable? Are they safe and accepted by society? Do we know the hazards and risks associated with new developments? Click on the tab above to read the expert opinion.

Safety & societal acceptance in the transition to a sustainable chemical industry

Brightsite believes that the technologies and scenarios for the transition of chemical industry to circular and climate neutral are only viable when they are safe and accepted by society. So we need to know the hazards and risks associated with new developments. We need to avoid and prevent those risks and hazards to happen. We need to understand and take into account the opinion of society towards our developments. Brightsite wants to make the right decisions, fact and science based.

Beside developing (new) technologies and transitions scenarios Brightsite also develops an approach how to address scenarios, safety & societal aspects appropriate from early stages of development of a technology on. Our horizon is beyond 2030 towards 2050. We realize we have to design the future and develop it accordingly. We start with today’s standards and values on safety & society and we anticipate and include future trends and developments.

We hope you want to join us on our journey to a safe and societally accepted climate neutral chemical industry and we will keep you regularly informed about our progress and considerations.

Do you have questions regarding to this subject, do you want to contribute to this program, or do you want to make use of our services? Please get in touch with Esta de Goede, manager of this program line. We are looking forward to meeting you!