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The environment

Countering the impact of our business activities on our environment.

As well as focusing our energies on our business, we take great pride in minimising the impact of our business on the environment by working responsibly. We do this in a number of ways and through various initiatives.

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Pioneering waste recovery in Malta 

The generation of waste is an unfortunate by-product of any industrial activity. The petroleum industry complicates this issue further because the waste it generates is a high-polluting product with potentially catastrophic consequences to the environment.

Recovering and collecting industrial waste oils

The aptly named Waste Oils Company Ltd., the environmental arm of the Falzon Group, was the  first company in Malta to engage in a proactive analysis of the waste oil problem affecting both land and marine environment. Extensive research into available technologies by Waste Oils provides a professional service for the recovery and collection of waste oil from land-based and marine industries using a fleet of dedicated road tankers and marine barges.

The only IPPC-certified waste oil facility in Malta

The waste oil that is recovered by Waste Oils is eventually exported to approved sites within the European Union. The Waste Oils facility and its operations conform to stringent environmental requirements, so much so that it is the only waste oil facility in Malta to currently hold the required certification in terms of the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control regulations.

R&D with overseas partners

We actively participate in a number of research and development initiatives to ensure that the Group operates the best available techniques for the recovery and treatment of waste oil, both in-house as well as through partnership with overseas experts in this area.

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Reducing our carbon footprint

Our responsibilities to our operational surroundings and to our society include the energies we conserve in our operational phases. We recognise the importance of using sources of renewable and alternative energy for power generation to combat the harmful effects of fossil fuels on the environment.

Making use of alternative energy sources

The Group has recently engaged in the installation of a number of photovoltaic panels at our Marsa installation in a drive to provide as much of our power requirements from solar energy. A second phase of photovoltaic panel installation will take place shortly at the Group's Falzon Service Station in Birkirkara.

A leading biofuel distributor too

Another important source of alternative energy is biofuel, a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation that results in the reduction of harmful emissions such as greenhouse gases. The Falzon Group is a leading distributor of biofuels to local industry and motor vehicles, offering products with various biomass concentrations to suit different customer requirements.

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How we reduce sulphur in the environment

Sulphur oxides are one of the main culprits of air pollution on the planet. These emissions are generally produced by fossil fuel burning in industry and by ships and motor vehicles. The sulphur content of petroleum products is heavily regulated today on a global level, particularly in the marine environment.

Exhaust emissions from ship engines

In October 2008, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted stringent new standards to control harmful exhaust emissions from ship engines. The IMO is the United Nations agency concerned with maritime safety and security, and the prevention of marine pollution from ships. These standards are found in Annex VI to the International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

Controlling those emissions by regulation

MARPOL Annex VI provides two sets of standards to control emissions from ships. The global standards for the sulphur content of fuel and nitrogen oxides (NOX) emissions from engines apply to ships at all times. In recognition that some areas may require further control, Annex VI also contains geographic-based standards. Ships operating in designated Emission Control Areas (ECAs) are required to comply with more stringent fuel sulphur and engine NOX limits. The table below summarizes the global and geographic-based international standards and their phase-in schedule.

International Ship Engine and Fuel Standards (MARPOL Annex VI)
  Year Fuel Sulphur NOx
Emission Control Area      
Current 1%  
2015 0.1%  
2016   Tier 3 Aftertreatment*
Global Up to January 2012 4.5%  
2012 3.5%  
2020 0.5%  
2011   Tier 2 Engine Controls*
* Today's Tier 1 NOx standards range from approximately 10 to 17 g/kW-h, depending on engine speed. The Tier 2 standards represent a 20% NOX reduction below Tier 1, and the Tier 3 standards represent an 80% NOX reduction below Tier 1.

Sulphur burning in port

The E.U. Sulphur Directive (2005/33/EC) places more controls on sulphur emissions for ships berthed or anchored in EU ports and on all inland waterway craft. These vessels are not permitted to consume marine fuels with a sulphur content exceeding 0.1% by mass. Similar sulphur-controlling legislation applies to the land-based industry as well as to all private and industrial motor vehicles on Malta’s roads.

Sulphur content in fuels from the Group lower than regulations

In line with this Directive, the Falzon Group sources and makes available low sulphur petroleum products for all its customers.  It is interesting to note that the sulphur content of the fuels supplied by the Group is typically lower than the thresholds established by international regulations. The Group's reasoning is simple: the burning of lower sulphur fuels reduces dioxin emissions, thus polluting less for the same amount of fuel used.

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