Michael Courouleau Blog

Videos of Michael Courouleau

Michael Courouleau Discusses Clean Workplace Issues
Today Oceans 2003 talks to Michael Courouleau about strategies for an environmentally-friendly workplace.
Safety in the Workplace Q and A with Michael Courouleau
Michael Courouleau is an environmental and safety professional with extensive experience in industrial safety.
Michael Courouleau – Fire Suppression Q and A
Michael Courouleau is an environmental and safety professional with extensive experience in industrial safety.

Michael Courouleau Asks: Is 100% Cleanliness an Impossible Goal?

According to Michael Courouleau, U.S. manufacturing firms have made marked improvements in environmental friendliness and waste reduction.

Michael Courouleau reports that every manufacturing industry has specific sources and types of pollutants. There are different methods from each industry to remove pollutants or dispose of them before being released into the air, water, and soil. With the technology that we possess today, 100 percent cleanliness should be possible, proposes Michael Courouleau. Reaching this goal, however, has not happened due to obstacles such as certain laws and regulations, loop holes, and enforcement and technology costs.

Pollution Prevention

There are many methods in which pollution prevention can be enhanced, says Michael Courouleau. One option is to conduct an assessment on which substances have sources that are toxic and to which processes they belong. Once an evaluation is completed and sources are located, a substitution of pollutants can be researched to see if it is feasible to supplement them for another substance that has no environmental impact. Most of these elements would be cleaning agents, explains Michael Courouleau.

In manufacturing, notes Michael Courouleau, every facility must comply with all federal, state, and local air regulations that govern air pollution for the site and surrounding areas. The Control of HAPs originated with the Federal Clean Air Act (CAA). There is also a federal regulation that applies to any plant producing pollutants which includes the Maximum Achievable Control Technology, according to Michael Courouleau.  The EPA has delegated the regulation and enforcement of the CAA to states where the state’s oversight agency must develop and submit control measures, regulations, and policies called State Implementation Plans (SIPs).

Regulation and Sources

There are four major regulatory programs that affect stationary source. Michael Courouleau notes that these are National Ambient Air Quality Standards, State Implementation Plans, New Source Performance Standards, and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants. There have also been amendments added to the CAA which added 189 toxic pollutants to be regulated. Currently there are six CAA regulations labeled Title One – Six. According to Michael Courouleau, Title One deals with the Air Quality and Emissions Limitations and Title Five of the EPA regulates operating permits for major sources of emissions.  Title Two is the Emission Standards for Moving Vehicles. Title One is the regulation of Air Quality and Emissions Limitations that authorizes the EPA to regulate air pollutants, reports Michael Courouleau.

According to Michael Courouleau, there are also control measures for emitting CO, NOx, SO2, PM, and VOCs in plants. These are wet gas scrubbers, CO boilers, electrostatic precipitators, multistage separators and catalyst additives. Cooling towers are sources that emit VOCs and PM as pollutants where drift eliminators and reduction of contaminants by proper maintenance of heat exchangers and condensers are control methods used. Heaters and boilers can emit CO, NOx, SO2, PM, and VOCs where control methods used to meet emissions requirements consist of Ultra-low NOx burners, flue gas recirculation, and selective catalytic reduction. Michael Courouleau adds that sewers can be a potential source of VOCs and benzene and seals on drains are utilized to prevent evaporation into the atmosphere from sewer systems.

Reduction Costs

Reductions of emissions of CO, NOx, and HCs have been reached through engineering design changes of lean burn combustion, electronic ignition, spark timing, compression ratios, combustion chamber shape, fueling systems, and engine temperature controls, according to Courouleau. Vehicle emissions are the biggest source of HAPs. Michael Courouleau points out that aerodynamic design, vehicle weight, Selective Catalytic Reduction, alternative fuels and Urea tanks to emissions addition all aid in decreasing air pollution (Lexus, 2011), (Volvo SCR). New technologies can have their tradeoffs from producing lead batteries for hybrid cars or producing Hydrogen cells for Hydrogen fueled automobiles (NOAA, 2011), adds Michael Courouleau.

Since the production process is less costly to change than the equipment itself, it is feasible to enact engineering changes which have a positive impact on the environment. As an example, Michael Courouleau explains that new vehicles are now made up of recycled materials versus first run resources.  When the production equipment must be replaced, it must be done with in-kind machinery that Michael Courouleau says must be capable of handling a variety of processes. As well, if/when manufacturing plants are shut down due to equipment changes and upgrades, it is a cost prohibitive process.

Sometimes it is more feasible to upgrade or repair existing equipment than take the whole process down and replace it with newer equipment. Other reuse of usual waste is using landfill gas at boiler makeup to feed water, says Michael Courouleau. Other ways to aid in environmental cleanup are to reduce packaging, thus decreasing unnecessary waste and printing, and for plants to treat and filter their own water, Michael Courouleau explains.

Finally, solar and wind powered technology are also available options in manufacturing which help reduce waste. Michael Courouleau concludes that these “green” initiatives, along with environmentally responsible residential and commercial practices, are ways that the US has helped to decrease dependency on foreign oil and other fossil fuels.


Lexus, Retrieved April 11, 2011 from lexus.co.uk/about/environment/technology/index.aspx

NOAA, Greenhouse Gases Frequently Asked Questions National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Climatic Data Center retrieved from lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov:oa:climate:gases.html – wv

Volvo SCR, Retrieved April 11, 2011 from volvo.com/trucks/na/en-us/products/engines/EPA10/SCR/scr.htm

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