2012 – Issue 1

2012 ISSUE 1

New Benchmark Set in Newcastle

Newcastle is a major port city on the east coast of Australia, which exports grains and other commodities. Like many cities, urban encroachment and revitalisation of the city centre and nearby suburbs, has put residential and commercial zones in close proximity to port terminals and facilities. Important trade-related activities such as quarantine and pre shipment fumigation of grains, occur there. These treatments are controlled in NSW by the EPA, which issues licences for emissions.

Newcastle Agri Terminal is a new facility to be constructed in 2012, which will significantly increase the capacity for grain exports from Newcastle.

The latest fumigant capture and dust suppression technology has been incorporated as part of their commitment to corporate social responsibility. Toxic gas emissions recently stirred considerable public debate, arising from accidental releases from the Orica chemical facility in Newcastle Port, which drifted across to Stockton and other nearby suburbs.

Nordiko is proud to be working with Newcastle Agri Terminal – demonstrating that export business – essential to trade and economic prosperity, can be successfully achieved whilst meeting the highest environmental and health and safety standards.


Artist Representation of Newcastle Agri Terminal
California Cold  Storage Facilities – New Regulations Enforced

In  March  2010,   two  Californian  cold  storage workers  suffering  from  dizziness  and headaches  were   diagnosed   with   suspected methyl bromide poisoning. The  Cold Storage Systemsource of the toxic gas was traced back  to cold storage facilities  which  dealt  with  fruit  that   was  off gassing   methyl   bromide   (MB)   resulting   in atmospheres of up to 20ppm.

As a result of the incidents, the California Department of Pesticide and  the United States EPA enforced regulations that help mitigate worker exposure to harmful levels of MB. Nordiko, in conjunction with Cardinal Professional Products developed an  effective solution   employing   large   activated   carbon filters that could capture methyl bromide inside the    facilities.    Once     depleted,    the    filters undergo  a  special  treatment process  where the   carbon  is  able  to  be   reused therefore reducing costs of buying replacement carbon.

For the initial 3 months of the season, the Nordiko/Cardinal  filtration  systems  have proved  effective in keeping the methyl bromide concentration low, to  the satisfaction of customers and  regulators alike.

Nordiko is proud to support this new application  in  the   USA   for  recapture,  and hopes to continue growing in the region. Nordiko’s partner, Cardinal Professional Products, are  leaders  in  fumigation  products and  services and have proven to be an invaluable partner.

Nordiko Quarantine Systems—starting to count

Nordiko  Quarantine  Systems has  been operating for over 10 years, and since its establishment has been providing solutions to prevent the  release  of  many  harmful  gases. Though gas  capture is  often  for  the sake  of human  health  and safety,  the  environmental impacts   of   some  fumigants   can  be  quite severe.

Methyl Bromide, a very common fumigant and one that Nordiko deals with the most, is both  a greenhouse gas (Global  Warming  Potential  of 16)  and an Ozone Depleting   Gas  (Ozone Depleting Potential of 0.6).

Nordiko  is  proud   to  say that in  the last  year their  products have prevented the release  of over 2  tonnes of methyl  bromide  in  Australia, and approximately  6.5 tonnes worldwide.  This is the equivalent of  preventing the emission of 111  tonnes of CO2 or 3.3  tonnes  of the ozone devastating CFC-11.

Another fumigant known  for its environmental effect  is  sulfuryl  fluoride,  which  possesses a GWP   of  3-4000; so  every  tonne  of  sulfuryl fluoride  released  has the equivalent  effect  to 4000  tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Nordiko’s methyl bromide emission reductions come  from   the  use  of   over  68   degassing systems,   employing   the   Nordiko   activated carbon filter.

However Nordiko filters are not  only limited to post-fumigation applications, they are also employed in residual gas extraction. In this application  they capture a wide  range of toxic gases   which    can   be   found     in    shipping containers as the result of past fumigations or chemicals released by commodities (see table below).

Nordiko Filter

Phosphine for the  win

In   October   last   year    Nordiko   set  up   a phosphine  fumigation  and  scrubbing  system for  Pioneer as part  of  their seed fumigating operations in Iowa, USA.Nordiko Phosphine System

The  system consists of a customised 20 foot chamber that is pressure tight (>1.5 times the standard) and  connected to a phosphine dispensing system as well as a Nordiko Phosphine scrubbing system.

The Nordiko Phosphine scrubbing system scrubs  exhaust  phosphine  at   high  efficacy and due to its design can be run for many fumigations  without  the  need to  replace  the filter medium.

Unfiltered  emissions  of toxic  fumigants  such as phosphine can  pose a  real health risk to nearby workers and communities,  depending

upon  concentrations and  dispersion patterns. By  the  use of  a  scrubbing  system  Pioneer have  shown health, safety and  environmental leadership and  responsibility.

Sydney Markets—Environmental Leadership

Sydney  Markets is  a  leading  fresh  produce market authority and  has achieved significant recognition internationally for a series of environmental initiatives. Thisenvironmeant Leader success story continues, with the  introduction of fumigant gas capture technology, addressing the emission  of  toxic,  ozone depleting gases to atmosphere. These gases can  be  a  threat  to nearby workers and  can  spread considerable distances depending upon  prevailing weather patterns.

Southern Cross Produce have   installed the  Nordiko recapture system to their fumigation chamber, in anticipation of the  increased need for methyl bromide fumigations, due  to the  banning of chemical dipping with dimethoate and  fenthion in Australia. Fumigation is a necessary quarantine treatment for the inter-state and international transport of many types of fresh produce. By using Nordiko recapture technology, important trade  requirements can be met, without endangering health or the environment.

Residual gas on the nose

The issue of residual gases in shipping containers  has  been  well  known   for  some time, however addressing the  issue has been challenging.

Usually  when  the  safety  of  unpacking shipping containers is considered focus is mostly on fumigants such as methyl bromide, phosphine and  sulfuryl fluoride—all of which have  been added for quarantine and pre- shipment   purposes.  However    the   shipped goods themselves may also be releasing potentially harmful gases.

Gases such as formaldehyde,  benzene and cyanide  may  be  present in  goods either  as residues from manufacture or decomposition products of materials.

Though this gases may not be present in levels as high as many  fumigants, they  may still  be   exceeding  allowed  exposure  levels, and  in some cases these gases may  be potentially more  toxic.

Nordiko has witnessed an increase in commercial interest surrounding the presence and   hazard  of  residual  gases.    This  has mostly been through     work involving the detection, identification and  ventilation of non- fumigant  related  residual  gases in  shipping containers—a service Nordiko Quarantine Systems provides.

The   following  table  lists  just  some  of  the residual gases that  may  be  found in shipping containers,  possible  sources and   their  safe levels:

Gas Potential Sources Maximum recommended exposure concentrations
Formaldehyde Glues, resins, solvents, foams, rubber,  latex 0.1-5ppm
Benzene Glues, paints, wax, detergents,   thinners, solvents, inks, adhesives, coatings, plastics, nylons, resins 0.5-5ppm
Ammonia Dyes, cleaners, cotton    materials, some paints 25-50ppm
Hydrogen  Cyanide Sometimes used as a   fumigant,    resins, acrylics , acetonitrile and    some nylons 1.9-10ppm
Acetonitrile May be released by polyurethane foams 20-40ppm
Toluene Solvents, explosives, dyes 20-50ppm
Dichloroethane Plastics (PVC), furniture, upholstery, automobile parts, housewares 1-10ppm

Source: NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/

Ethanedinitrile—New Gas On The Block

Despite  its  efficiency  and  economy there  is  an

ongoing  search to  replace  methyl  bromide  as a fumigant   due,  at  least   in   part,  to   its   ozone depleting potential.   Ethanedinitrile (EDN)  is a new candidate  that was  created  by   the  CSIRO  to replace methyl bromide in soil fumigations.

During CSIRO testing in soil fumigations the gas showed  to   require  lower  doses  (and  exposure times) to have the same affect as methyl  bromide on common soil insects, nematodes and fungi.

These tests showed breakdown quickly  in   soil  to produce  harmless  bi-products.  This  is  an advantage for worker safety,  but  also  means that the  time  interval between  fumigation  and replanting is shortened, increasing productivity.

The 8 hour  time weighted average (TWA) for ethanedinitrile is 10ppm, twice the value for methyl bromide,  despite a lower  dosing  concentration. This  is  a huge advantage for  public  and worker safety since the chance of  toxic exposure is decreased two-fold.

A replacement  for methyl bromide in soil fumigations will  also have an important environmental  impact.  The  global  warming potential and ozone depleting potential of both ethanedinitrile  and its  decomposition  products are meaning no greenhouse or ozone hole contributions.

Pre-plant  soil  treatment is  a significant  fumigant application  where  recapture  is  technically challenging to apply. If EDN (like carbon saturated with    recaptured  QPS   MB),    replaces    methyl bromide use in soil fumigation, the environmental and safety issues of the remaining QPS and CUE applications   can  be  mitigated   by  the  use  of scrubbing technology, removing methyl bromide’s threat to the atmosphere.

Like all toxic gases, Nordiko recommends capture technology to minimise emissions and achieve the best health and environmental standards.


Meet the  Team: Graeme Simpson

Graeme SimpsonGraeme Simpson has been a director of Nordiko since  its  inception,  and  is  now  Joint  Managing Director   (Administration)   of   Nordiko’s   parent group  – Asiaworld Shipping. A fully qualified accountant,  Graeme  helped  set  up   Nordiko’s patent family, and  is in charge of financial affairs for both Nordiko and  Asiaworld, supported by his capable team, in Sydney head office.

Together with Ken  Fitzpatrick, Graeme provides professional guidance and  direction for Nordiko’s business, and  is always available for commercial advice on Nordiko’s many activities.

Graeme  lives   close   to   Sydney  head   office, saving on commuting time common in many cities. Together  with   his   wife Mary, Graeme enjoys   music,   bushwalking,   swimming   –  and watching cricket – a favourite past-time for many Australians!

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