Page 1

Covering Best Practices for the Industry

Sulfuric Acid T



www.H 2S0 4Today.com



Fall/Winter 2016

Fertilizer giant OCP integrates growth with environmental, social stewardship Page 7

IN THIS ISSUE > > > > Pressure in acid market ahead of 2017 page 10

Economic abatement of high strength SO2

Dundee’s world-class acid plant demonstrates

off-gas from smelters Page 20

the latest in sustainable technology page 30

Address Service Requested Keystone Publishing P.O. Box 3502 Covington, LA 70434


Sulfuric Acid T

Vol. 22 No. 2




Covering Best Practices for the Industry


Fall/Winter 2016


OCP Group’s Jorf Lasfar site will consist of a large-scale expansion project involving the development of 10 new fertilizer plants using a strategy that combines increased production with careful preservation and social development.



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ing the latest products and technology for those in the industry,

(page 30), “Finding the root cause of acid carryover” (page 34),

As we wrap up this issue, we are looking forward to several

the Sulphur Conference and Exhibition in London in November,

Acid Today advertisers, including Acid Piping Technology

and our own Sulfuric Acid Roundtable in Texas in April 2017

Inc., Beltran Technologies, Central Maintenance & Welding,

all remind us of the global nature of this industry. These events,

Chemetics Inc., Clark Solutions, Corrosion Service, DuPont

and others like them, serve as a platform for networking and

MECS, Dresser-Rand, Haldor Topsøe A/S, International Poly-

the exchange of information, across borders and around

mer Solutions Inc. (IPS), Kimre, Koch Knight LLC, NORAM

the globe. Especially now, keeping those lines of com-

Engineering & Constructors, Optimus, Southwest Refractory

munication open is so important.

of Texas, SNC-Lavalin, Southern Environmental Inc., Spray-

ing Systems Co., STEULER-KCH GmbH, VIP International,

Meanwhile, we hope this issue of Sulfuric Acid

I would like to welcome our new and returning Sulfuric

Today will provide you with some innovative tech-

and Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps.

nologies for your profession. Be sure to read such

articles as “Pressure in acid market ahead of 2017”

Summer 2017 issue. If you have any suggestions for articles or

(page 10), “Selecting the correct converter design”

other information you would like included, please feel free to

(page 12),“New advancements in spray technology for

contact me via e-mail at kathy@h2so4today.com. I look for-

sulfur guns” (page 18), “Economic abatement of high

ward to hearing from you.

strength SO2 off-gas from smelter” (page 20), “Pot-

We are currently compiling information for our Spring/

ashCorp, Agrium announce proposed merger” (page


24), “WESPs prove value in acid plants and beyond”

Kathy Hayward



10 Pressure in acid market ahead of 2017 12

Selecting the correct converter design


New advancements in spray technology for sulfur guns

20 Economic abatement of high strength SO2 off-gas from smelter 24 PotashCorp, Agrium announce proposed merger 26

WESPs prove value in acid plants and beyond


Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps celebrates 125 years of specialist manufacturing


Dundee’s world-class acid plant demonstrates the latest in sustainable

281-545-8053 Mailing Address: P.O. Box 3502 Covington, LA 70434 Phone: (985) 807-3868 E-Mail: kathy@h2so4today.com www.h2so4today.com

acid plant demonstrates the latest in sustainable technology”

PUBLISHED BY Keystone Publishing L.L.C.

Marketing ASSISTANT Tim Bowers

Acid Today magazine. We have dedicated ourselves to cover-

upcoming industry events. The Chilean Roundtable in October,

Calendar of Events

EDITOR April Smith

of specialist manufacturing” (page 28), “Dundee’s world-class

injection control valves” (page 39).

40 Faces & Places Covering sulfuric acid industry events

EDITOR April Kabbash

Welcome to the Fall/Winter 2016 issue of Sulfuric

Product News

PUBLISHER Kathy Hayward

and “Solving corrosion challenges with IPS PTFE chemical

36 Lessons Learned Case histories from the sulfuric acid industry


(page 26), “Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps celebrates 125 years

and hope you find this issue both helpful and informative.

4 Industry Insights News items about the sulfuric acid and related industries 16

Dear Friends,


technology 34

Finding the root cause of acid carryover


Central Florida AIChE hosts 40th International Phosphate Fertilizer & Sulfuric Acid Technology Conference

38 Acid community connects, shares at Australia conference 39

In Memory of Eugene “Skippy” Waters Jr.


Solving corrosion challenges with IPS PTFE chemical injection control valves




CB&I announces alkylation technology award in Indonesia

THE WOODLANDS, Texas—CB&I has been awarded the license and engineering design of a grassroots alkylation unit by PT Pertamina (Persero). The unit will use CB&I’s CDAlky® advanced sulfuric acid alkylation technology and Haldor Topsøe’s WSA (wet gas sulfuric acid) technology as part of the upgrade of Pertamina’s Refinery Unit V in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. CDAlky is an environmentally-friendly alternative process to obtain high-octane, premium gasoline. Because the improved process eliminates the need for human contact with sulfuric acid, it reduces overall maintenance, chemical cost and environmental impact for refineries. “CB&I is pleased to have been selected as the alkylation technology licensor for the project,” said Daniel McCarthy, President of CB&I’s Technology operating group. “We have previously licensed technologies to Pertamina, and we look forward to our continued partnership with them.” CB&I is a leading provider of technology and infrastructure for the energy industry. With over 125 years of experience and the expertise of more than 40,000 employees, CB&I provides reliable solutions to customers around the world while focusing on safety and an uncompromising standard of quality. For more information, visit www.cbi. com.

Outotec to revamp South American acid plant and provide technology contract for Egyptian facility Op�mus delivered its rst sulfuric acid plant waste heat recovery system  in 1996. Across the power and process industries, we’ve produced more  heat recovery boilers, HRSGs, superheaters, and economizers than any  ac�ve company in the USA.  Op�mus and its Chanute Manufacturing plant have a long‐standing rep‐ uta�on  for  high‐quality  workmanship  and  on‐�me  performance.  Cus‐ tomers  trust  our  unique  manufacturing  exper�se  and  have  condence  in our quality control and comprehensive project execu�on.    

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Ph: 918‐491‐9191  www.op�mus‐tulsa.com  Email: info@op�mus‐tulsa.com 


ESPOO, Finland—Outotec has been awarded a contract by a South American customer to revamp a copper smelter and sulfuric acid plant. The order value is approximately $37 million. Outotec will deliver engineering, process technology and equipment for improved gas handling and reduced sulfur dioxide emissions, improved heat recovery and water management, as well as technical assistance during the construction, commissioning and start-up of the smelter and acid plant. “We are pleased to provide specialized technical services to our customer and help them to comply with the new environmental regulations. In this project we have combined our efforts with our customer to extend the life cycle of their facilities, secure business sustainability and care of environment in a mutually beneficial way,” says Jyrki Makkonen, head of Outotec’s Metals, Energy & Water business area.

Outotec has also been awarded a sulfuric acid technology contract from Spanish engineering company Intecsa Industrial. Outotec will provide process technology and proprietary equipment for two sulfuric acid plants to be built in connection with the El Nasr Co. for Intermediate Chemicals (NCIC) fertilizer plant in Egypt. The order is valued at over $33 million. The two new sulfuric acid plants, each with a capacity of 1,900 metric tons per day, will produce high grade sulfuric acid from elemental sulfur for fertilizer production and steam for energy generation. The plants will meet all the current and planned Egyptian environmental requirements. In order to recover as much energy as possible, the heat recovery system uses the surplus heat of the waste heat boiler and absorption section and turns it into low- and high-pressure steam. The sulfuric acid plants are expected to be operational in 2018. “We are pleased to be involved in the NCIC fertilizer project through our partner Intecsa Industrial. Outotec’s advanced sulfuric acid plant solution will be the key part of the fertilizer production complex and enable efficient use of resources with minimal environmental impact,” says Pertti Korhonen, President and CEO of Outotec. For more information contact jyrki. makkonen@outotec.com or visit www.outotec.com.

Veolia takes over Chemours’ Sulfur Product assets, strengthening oil/gas industrial waste treatment services

PARIS & BOSTON—Veolia North America has signed an agreement to take over Chemours’ Sulfur Products division for $325 million. This division specializes in recovery of sulfuric acid and gases from the refining process, which are then regenerated into clean acid and steam used in a wide range of industrial activities. Chemours Sulfur Products division complements Veolia’s existing business, and will reinforce its existing recovery and regeneration capabilities and technologies. The transaction includes the following facilities, which provide regeneration services and sulfur products: • Three sulfuric acid recovery (SAR) units located on refinery sites in Delaware, New Jersey, and Texas. • A merchant SAR and sulfur product facility in Burnside, LA. • Four sulfur-based acid production facilities located on the East Coast. Veolia will also be able to rely on the technical expertise of Chemours’ Acid Technology Center, which hosts 18 engineers who exclusively support the Sulfur Products division. This take-over provides Veolia with highly differentiated services, allowing it Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016

to move up the value chain with existing refinery customers, along with an opportunity to cross-sell its existing offerings to a new customer base. It also presents growth opportunities within the refinery services sector, and it positions Veolia to capture future demand for clean gasoline related products. The Sulfur Products division, with approximately $262 million in revenue in 2015, employs 250 employees at 7 sites across North America. The Chemours Company is a global chemistry company with leading market positions in titanium technologies, fluoroproducts, and chemical solutions. Their flagship products include Teflon™, Ti-Pure™, Krytox™, Viton™, Opteon™, and Nafion™. Chemours has approximately 8,000 employees across 35 manufacturing sites serving more than 5,000 customers in North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. Veolia is the global leader in optimized resource management. With over 174,000 employees worldwide, the company designs and provides water, waste, and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. For more information, contact denisse. ike@veolia.com or visit www.veolia.com.

Handover of plant in Turkmenistan: 69th sulfuric acid plant completed

TURKMENABAD, Turkmenistan—Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., together with a Turkish consortium, has completed construction of a sulfuric acid production facility with annual production of 500,000 tons in Turkmenistan. Construction began following an order in September 2013 from Turkmenhimiya State Concern, Turkmenistan’s state petrochemical company. The plant was handed over last spring. Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding was responsible for the design and procurement outside Turkmenistan, while a Turkish co-contractor, Renaissance Construction, performed the construction work. The construction of the sulfuric acid production facility was performed as part of a project to manufacture fertilizer from natural gas. Turkmenistan, which boasts the fourth-largest reserve of natural gas worldwide, is aiming to enter the resource processing field. This is expected to help ease the country’s heavy dependence on the export of natural gas and develop its industry by improving the added value of natural gas. There are also strong expectations that it will promote the cultivation of cotton, one of the major products in Turkmenistan and surrounding countries. For more information, visit www.mes. co.jp/english. Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016


Industry Insights Valmet to supply sulfuric acid plant to the Metsä Group in Äänekoski, Finland

ESPOO, Finland—Valmet, headquartered in Espoo, will supply a sulfuric acid plant to Metsä Group’s bioproduct mill in Äänekoski for in-house sulfuric acid production. By means of its own new sulfuric acid plant, the bioproduct mill can utilize the chemicals in the gases of its pulp manufacturing process, thus reducing wastewater considerably. The start-up of the plant is scheduled for the third quarter of 2017. Valmet’s delivery is part of Metsä Group’s sulfuric acid plant investment that is valued at roughly $22 million. “The sulfuric acid plant producing process chemicals from sulfur compounds from odorous gases is a remarkable step towards closed chemical circulation and further improves the environmental performance of the bioproduct mill,” saysTimo Merikallio, Project Director of the bioproduct mill at Metsä Group. The plant consists of a concentrated non-condensable gas (CNCG) incinerator and a sulfuric acid converting plant. The production capacity of the plant will be approximately 35 tons of sulfuric acid per day. This will be the world’s first larger-scale sulfuric acid plant that will be in operation at a pulp mill. The new plant will enable the bioproduct mill to become nearly self-sufficient in sulfuric acid, which will be produced from the odorous gases resulting from the pulping process. This will bring significant environmental advantages. The amount of sulfate load to the mill’s effluent treatment plant will be reduced and the sulfate load in the nearby waterways will be smaller compared to the current mill in Äänekoski. The CNCG incineration plant can be used as a back-up boiler for producing process steam by incinerating CNCG, tall oil pitch or liquid methanol. Metsä Group is a responsible forest industry group whose products’ main raw material is renewable wood from sustainably managed northern forests. Metsä Group’s sales totaled EUR 5 billion in 2015, and the company employs approximately 9,600 people. Metsäliitto Cooperative is the parent company of Metsä Group and is owned by approximately 116,000 Finnish forest owners. Valmet is the leading global developer and supplier of process technologies, automation and services for the pulp, paper and energy industries. Valmet’s strong technology offerings include pulp mills, tissue, board and paper production lines, as well as power plants for bioenergy production. Valmet’s net sales in 2015 were approximately EUR 2.9 billion. For more information, contact Timo Merikallio, project director, Bioproduct Mill, Metsä Group, tel. +358 50 598 9342, or visit www.valmet.com. q  PAGE 5

Cover Story

Fertilizer giant OCP integrates growth with environmental, social stewardship


ow do you manage major expansion while supporting natural and human resources? For the Moroccan company OCP Group, the question has become a guiding principle in all its business activities. In the port city of Jorf Lasfar, the site of a large-scale expansion project involving the development of 10 integrated fertilizer units, OCP prioritizes a strategy that combines increased production with careful preservation and social development. With almost a century of expertise, OCP Group is the world leader in the phosphates market and phosphate derivatives. According to the U.S. Geological Survey of January 2016, 73 percent of the world’s reserves of phosphate are in Morocco. By 2025, the company plans to invest about $21 billion USD in its phosphate operations, with a large portion allotted to the Jorf Lasfar plants. Each of the 10 units will be capable of producing 1 million tons of fertilizer per year.

About OCP

Headquartered in Casablanca, the state-owned OCP was founded in 1920 and began underground phosphate extraction at its Khourigba mine the next year. OCP operates three phosphate mining sites, two in northern Morocco at Khouribga and Gantour, and the third in the more southerly Boucrâa. Boucrâa is managed jointly with OCP’s subsidiary company, Phosphates de Boucraâ (Phosboucraâ). Some 120 km southwest of Casablanca, Khouribga is the largest OCP phosphate production zone. The mining site has four extraction areas and it currently covers seven phosphate levels. In 1965 OCP grew beyond phosphate mining and moved into fertilizer production to respond to the international Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016

What OCP Produces: PHOSPHATE ROCK—intended mostly for fertilizer production. PHOSPHORIC ACID—intermediate product between phosphate rock and fertilizer. PURIFIED PHOSPHORIC ACID—used in food and industrial applications. DAP—most common binary fertilizer. MAP—binary fertilizer comprised of two elements, phosphorus and nitrogen. TSP—all phosphate fertilizer. The sulfuric acid unit of OCP’s new Africa Fertilizer Complex in Jorf Lasfar includes this MECS® HRS™ tower.

market and develop the local phosphate industry. In 1984, OCP Group launched the Jorf Lasfar Industrial platform, located 80 km from Casablanca and 17 km southeast of El Jadida. At the Jorf Lasfar Phosphate Hub, a portion of production is converted locally into various fertilizers as well as purified phosphoric acid. The other portion is exported as merchant grade phosphoric acid through local port facilities. OCP is active across the entire phosphate value chain; it mines, transforms and markets phosphates in all forms. With 160 clients across the 5 continents, OCP’s commercial phosphate production in 2015 reached 26.3 million tons. Today, OCP is the number one producer and exporter of phosphate in all its forms in the world and is one of the largest companies in Morocco. OCP produces solid and liquid fer-

tilizers, animal feeds, and basic components necessary to make other derivatives, all from Moroccan phosphate. These products include various qualities of phosphate rock, merchant and purified phosphoric acid, di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP), triple super phosphate (TSP), as well as NPK, a ternary fertilizer comprised of three elements: phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. As the largest employer and a major investor in the country, OCP Group is committed to the economic development of the nation. Recognizing that sustainable development offers new opportunities to the phosphate industry, OCP chose to integrate social, environmental, and economic issues within every level of its activity. For OCP, environmental protection and sustainable development represent

NPK—ternary fertilizer comprised of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium.

a source of value creation. The group works to reduce water and energy use, as well as recycle and eliminate waste in an environmentally responsible way. Indeed, every ambitious program initiated by OCP combines industrial performance and environmental preservation. OCP honors its commitments with training and development support programs that teach each woman and each man, in an inseparable unified way, a business expertise as well as a model of human behavior that can be adapted to changes while staying consistent with the Group’s vision. The company also makes substantial investments in social infrastructure to benefit communities and regions where its manufacturing activities are located. It supports health and education, particularly through building or renovating healthcare centers and schools, as well  PAGE 7

Cover Story

as youth centers where young people can develop marketable skills.

The Jorf Lasfar plants

Jorf Lasfar, located on the Moroccan coast, is the processing hub for materials excavated from the Khouribga mine. The group began overhauling its existing industrial operations at Jorf Lasfar in 2008 with several multiphase projects. The first phase of development includes four new fertilizer plants, each with its own sulfuric acid unit. Upon completion of the last phase, the Jorf Lasfar Fertilizer Hub will contain 10 fertilizer units all together, each capable of producing 1 million metric tons of fertilizer, 1.4 million metric tons of sulfuric acid, and 450,000 metric tons of phosphoric acid annually. The site also offers numerous facilities for the storage of raw material, as well as conditioning and handling of final products between the processing plants and the port. The massive undertaking was inspired by expected increases in phosphate demand, driven by rising world population, changing diets, and the need to improve agriculture yields in Africa and other developing areas. Some 80 percent of Africa is currently uncultivated yet arable land. The company is responding to those statistics with the expanded Jorf Lasfar hub as well as several other development projects aimed at doubling mining production and tripling phosphate processing capacity by 2025. Given the large scale of these projects, in 2010 OCP entered into a joint venture with U.S.-based Jacobs Engineering Inc., a leading global provider of design and management of large technical projects. In equal partnership between OCP and Jacobs, Jacobs Engineering SA (JESA) was formed. JESA, with both its management and technical expertise, is leading the construction of the new fertilizer plants as well as other OCP projects.

Newly installed cold gas-to-gas exchanger/converter/economizer at OCP’s Africa Fertilizer Complex in Jorf Lasfar, Morocco.

duction of sulfuric acid. OCP’s new fertilizer plants have significant steam requirements, especially for concentrating phosphoric acid (passing from 29 to 54 percent). The purpose of the MECS® HRS™ technology is to increase the amount of steam recovered and sent to other end users (mainly phosphoric acid plants), allowing the facility to reduce the quantity of steam pulled from the turbo generator and to drastically improve the energy production at the turbo generators. In addition to the HRS™-related equipment (towers, heat exchangers, boilers, and dilutors), MECS is also supplying drying towers, final absorption towers, acid distributors, mist eliminators, acid piping, and catalyst, along with technical and operational assistance during construction and commissioning. The MECS-designed sulfuric acid units will have a capacity of 4,200 MTPD, include a sulfur polishing filter, which will replace the hot gas filter to

optimize cost and space, and blowers to optimize energy costs and reduce maintenance and operations costs. Additional technologies will be leveraged to reduce pollution, including cesium catalyst in the fourth bed and an updated converter design. Another great undertaking has been the 235 km slurry pipeline, a key piece of OCP’s strategy to increase volume and cost competitiveness while substantially reducing the company’s environmental footprint. The pipeline, which transports phosphate from the Khouribga mines to the Jorf Lasfar site, reduces handling by trucks and conveyer belts and eliminates drying activities and the need for rail transport, which represents a decrease of about $6-7 USD per ton in transportation fees. Each year, the slurry pipeline is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 930,000 tons and save approximately 3 million cubic meters of water. Other aspects of environmental conservation at Jorf Lasfar have been energy

New final absorbing tower at the acid unit of OCP’s new fertilizer complex in Jorf Lasfar.

savings from a newly installed 62 MW thermoelectric plant and water use optimization from the seawater desalinization unit. With the commissioning of the first phase, the plant is producing 25 million cubic meters of water.

Supporting African agriculture

In February 2016, the first of the new Jorf Lasfar plants came online. Called the Africa Fertilizer Complex, the unit is dedicated solely to African markets and represents OCP’s commitment to supply the continent’s farmers with enough fertilizers to increase their yields and conserve their soils. OCP’s new subsidiary, OCP AFRICA, also inaugurated in February, similarly serves these goals. The subsidiary is implementing, both internally and with its local partners, storage and blending facilities in ports and close to

Minimizing environmental impact

Each fertilizer unit’s sulfuric acid plant has been designed to minimize emissions. To keep its goal of lowest possible emissions, OCP engaged MECS DuPont to supply the necessary technologies, including its Heat Recover System (HRS™) for sulfuric acid production. The MECS® HRS™ system is designed not only to meet operational requirements, but also environmental (carbon credit) and economic targets, while offering a rapid return on investment. The SO2 releases are at the level of 134 ppm instead of 450 ppm required by international standards. And nearly all SO2 (99.9 percent) is captured and used for the proPAGE 8

Heat recovery equipment installed at new OCP fertilizer complex includes MECS®supplied converter-superheater-economizer.

OCP main sites in Morocco

Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016

Cover Story

From the world’s largest phosphate reserves formed some 70 million years ago, OCP extracts various grades of rock to produce a wide range of products.

consumer areas. OCP AFRICA is strengthening its existing logistics capacities and will contribute to the development of new distribution networks. Additionally, the company aims to serve the whole agricultural sector by opening subsidiaries all over the continent serving the specific diversities of the various geographies. OCP’s broad approach to responsible fertilizer manufacturing includes collaborating with the end user. Recently, the company formed strategic partnerships in Ivory Coast with the nation’s Coffee-Cocoa Board, the National Agency for Rural Development, and others to provide training, field schools, technical support, fertilizer testing, and related programs. In other nations, OCP is investing approximately $5 million USD over three years in a program to provide 100,000 small farmers in six countries in West and East Africa with reliable and affordable access to appropriate fertilizers and related products and services to boost their productivity and incomes. The program will be implemented in close collaboration with key partners and stakeholders in each of the six countries to ensure the program is carried out in a manner that delivers the maximum benefit.

Continued expansion

OCP’s Industrial Development Strategy includes continuously improving its environmental performances by implementing various programs, such as the Environmental Excellence Program launched in 2013. This program is reconsidering the industrial process and the activity impacts in order to be aligned with international regulations as well as international best practices to control atmospheric emissions. Helping the group implement this strategy is DuPont OCP Operations Consulting, a joint venture, also formed in 2013, between OCP and DuPont Sustainable Solutions. The joint venture offers consulting and training services to enhance the safety, operational, and environmental performance of companies in Morocco and other African countries. Specifically, the enterprise trains or consults on employee and contractor safety and training, process safety management, asset productivity, energy efficiency, integrated operations, sustainability strategy, and environmental management. The first commissioned integrated fertilizer unit had a positive impact on the economy of the El Jadida region where

Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016

Improving heat recovered from the sulfuric acid unit at the Africa Fertilizer Complex is the MECS® HRS™ system including these boilers, pre-heater, and heater.

Jorf Lasfar is located. For example, during construction of The Africa Fertilizer Complex, nearly 1.35 million man-days were logged, 86 percent of which were fulfilled by Moroccan workers. And with the com-

plex now complete, the group has increased its employee roster with the creation of 380 permanent jobs. Moving forward with its expansion projects, the group will continue to rely on its en-

vironmental and social stewardship practices, and their continued refinement, as the best way to ensure the greatest possible outcome to all of its industrial activities. q

Flow diagram of MECS HRS™ at OCP’s Africa Fertilizer Complex in Jorf Lasfar, Morocco.

Phosphate pulp travels from the Khourigba mine through OCP’s new 235 km slurry pipeline and is received here at the Jorf Lasfar processing platform.  PAGE 9


market outlook

Pressure in acid market ahead of 2017

By: Fiona Boyd and Freda Gordon, Directors of Acuity Commodities

Since the Spring/Summer 2016 issue of Sulfuric Acid Today, market conditions have stayed relatively unchanged. Low commodity prices continue to hamper global markets and expectations for a rebound in certain commodities that impact the sulfur and sulfuric acid market remain low. First for the sulfur market has been a lackluster phosphate fertilizer market. With the largest use of sulfur-based sulfuric acid being to support the production of phosphoric acid, sulfur demand and as a result, prices, react to conditions in the fertilizer market. At the time of writing, the phosphate market is dealing with supply volumes outstripping demand as significant buying from key markets such as India has yet to materialize. Because of this type of stalemate, producers have been sensitive to their raw material costs, including sulfur. As an indication, the world’s largest consumer and importer of sulfur is China, with the majority of it used to support phosphate fertilizer production for the domestic market as well as offshore markets. During most of the June through September period when production was earmarked for offshore movement with domestic demand out of season, the slowdown in buying in offshore markets meant a resistance to buying of sulfur at perceived high prices. As a result, Chinese spot sulfur imports were priced in the $70s per metric ton cost-infreight (CFR) throughout July before moving into the $80s per metric ton CFR going into August and September on the back of tighter global supply. The tighter global sulfur supply is not a reflection of lower production because of low crude prices continuing to overhang the market, however. Rather the tighter supply is partly attributable to new projects not producing as much as expected, operational issues, and trader allocations. Acuity estimates around 47 percent of elemental sulfur produced on a global basis in 2015 was derived from crude refining, but despite the low crude price environment, most by-product sulfur production has been stable as most refineries continue to run at stable rates. It is exploration and development as well as capital expenditures that have been most impacted in the oil sector and so far, this has not had a notable impact on the sulfur market. Moving forward, how the phosphate fertilizer market performs will continue to drive sulfur pricing as long as production stays stable-to-increasing as expected. Any movement in sulfur pricing can have an impact on the sulfuric acid market as well. For example, in the United States, many sulfuric acid contract prices are linked to the Tampa quarterly contract price for sulfur and contract prices are automatically adjusted up or down on an equivalent volPAGE 10

ume basis once a settlement is reached. In another example, any dip in sulfur prices impacts buyer sentiment and if prices slide significantly, it could impact levels of sulfur-based production versus purchasing of incremental sulfuric acid from the market. For example, this encouraged spot acid buying in India at the end of the second quarter when freight-on-board (FOB) prices from key supply markets of Japan and South Korea were at negative values. The traded sulfuric acid market is driven by the availability of sulfuric acid produced as by-product from base metals smelters with the largest concentration of supply coming from Europe and Asia. While some base metals continue to struggle with low prices, production of smelter acid remains high as smelting operations

rent financial and economic conditions in copper’s main markets and expects little change in global supply and demand. Cochilco has forecast global output to grow 3.5 percent this year to close to 20 million metric tons and to grow 3.2 percent in 2017 to close to 21 million metric tons. Against consumption it is forecasting a small surplus of less than 200,000 metric tons for both 2016 and 2017. Cochilco’s views on copper market direction also tie to expectations for Chile itself, historically the largest importer of offshore sulfuric acid. For 2016, Chilean consumers agreed to an annual contract price of $50-55 per metric ton CFR, which did not cover freight from the key supply region of Japan and South Korea. Because of that, there has been a significant drop in

continue to run as close to capacity as possible in order to achieve lower overall unit production costs amid a weak mining sector. But at the same time, the market is still continuing to deal with lower consumption of sulfuric acid to support base metals leaching. This has resulted in significant demand destruction in markets such as Chile and the United States, primarily related to copper. With most of the downturn in demand related to copper economics, the outlook for the sector will remain an important factor in the sulfuric acid market. At the time of writing, most analysts were not expecting a rebound in the copper price until at least 2018, when supply is expected to tighten as investment in new mines has subsided. As an indication, in its second quarter review, Chilean state copper commission Cochilco maintained its copper average price forecast for 2016 at $2.15/lb and expects the 2017 price to average $2.20/lb. It does not expect any significant changes to the cur-

supply from the region to Chile during the year, which has increased competition to place volumes in other markets. With expectations that sulfuric acid consumption in Chile will remain at depressed levels going into 2017 and with spot prices at the time of writing in the high $20s per metric ton CFR, a tough negotiation for the annual 2017 contract price may lay ahead. Acuity expects the price will be settled at a level that continues to make shipments from some regions equate to negative netbacks. But, as competition to place volume increases because import demand in other markets such as Cuba and Namibia is poised to decline, producers may not have a choice but to lock in to agreements in order to keep by-product smelter acid moving. For Asian producers, China will continue to play a key role in balancing the region. In the case of Cuba, the market is awaiting the loss of import demand of around 400,000 metric tons/yr pending the successful ramp up of Sherritt’s new sul-

fur-based capacity at its Moa nickel leach facility. The company reported around mid-July the plant was operating at a rate of 900 metric tons/day against nameplate capacity of 2,000 metric tons/day. The acid it has historically imported was supplied mainly from Europe, so similar to how suppliers in Asia are currently dealing with lower demand in Chile, European suppliers will be forced to look to alternative markets to place product. An aggressive stance was seen by European suppliers toward the end of the third quarter after a flurry of spot business in Brazil was sourced from Latin America, a market typically supplied by European suppliers. For example, in 2015, European countries accounted for 82 percent of the close to 484,000 metric tons of sulfuric acid Brazil imported. After the deals sourced from Latin America were concluded and the next buying requirements emerged, European suppliers offered prices at double digits lower than in the last round in an effort to secure business going into the fourth quarter with expectations Cuba will begin to back off its requirements around that time likely firmly in mind. European suppliers are also closely watching spot demand from Morocco to support phosphate production by OCP. It has been buying sulfuric acid on a spot basis at an impressive rate this year which has helped keep European supply snug. But, indications are OCP will limit its spot buying in the fourth quarter which will pressure European suppliers at a time when supply is expected to increase as planned smelter maintenance ends, coupled with any pullback in Cuba. As discussed in our last article, some market players are making strategic moves to deal with the shift in trade flows, including adding more import tank capacity in the United States. This gives suppliers more options for managing their global sulfuric acid portfolio amid shifting market fundamentals. In summary, the key factors to watch going into 2017 continue to be the performance of the phosphate fertilizer and base metals sectors. In addition, where prices settle for next year and resulting freight economics will be critical in trade flow impact as well as if the lower import requirement from Cuba is realized. Acuity Commodities provides insight into the sulfur and sulfuric acid markets through price assessments, data, and supporting analysis. Offerings include weekly reports on the global sulfur and sulfuric acid markets and a bi-weekly report focusing on North America. Please visit www. acuitycommodities.com for detailed information. q Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016

World-class Technology for Worldwide Markets We deliver a wide range of products and services, from engineering studies through to full EPC projects for the Sulphuric Acid Industry

Products & Services: Acid Plants ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

Sulphur Burning Metallurgical Spent Acid Regeneration Acid Purification & Concentration Wet Gas

Proprietary Equipment ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

Converter Gas-Gas Exchanger Acid Tower (brick lined and alloy) Acid Cooler Furnace SARAMET® piping & acid distributor Venturi Scrubber

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Turnaround inspection Operations troubleshooting Process optimization Feasibility studies CFD (Fluent) analysis FEA (Ansys) study

Chemetics Inc. (headquarters)

Chemetics Inc. (fabrication facility)

Suite 200 – 2930 Virtual Way Vancouver, BC, Canada, V5M 0A5 Tel: +1.604.734.1200 Fax: +1.604.734.0340 email: chemetics.info@jacobs.com

2001 Clements Road Pickering, ON, Canada, L1W 4C2 Tel: +1.905.619.5200 Fax: +1.905.619.5345 email: chemetics.equipment@jacobs.com


Chemetics Inc., a Jacobs company


Selecting the correct converter design

By: Andrés Mahecha-Botero (corresponding author), Kim Nikolaisen, C. Guy Cooper, NORAM Engineering and Constructors Ltd., Vancouver, Canada.

This article compares some of the features of SO2 catalytic converters for sulfuric acid plants. Key engineering design considerations and the logistics of converter replacement are also reviewed.

Reasons to upgrade

During the lifecycle of a sulfuric acid plant, moments may arise where the performance of the plant needs to be improved. A key target for improvement is the reduction of SO2 emissions. Although a number of process alternatives exist for performance improvement, typically the most cost effective way is to upgrade existing unit operations, such as the catalytic converter. Reasons for replacing the converter include: • Poor mechanical condition and reduced reliability of the existing converter. • The requirement to increase

the catalyst volumes beyond the existing converter’s capacity. • Conversion from single to double absorption. • Combining two converter vessels into a single one.

Process requirements

Although a new converter will typically improve the performance of the plant, it cannot resolve upstream process issues by itself. It is important to ensure that the acid plant provides optimum feed conditions to the converter to minimize emissions and to maximize the life of the equipment. Some process requirements include: • Good SO2 concentration control to the first catalytic pass to maintain an acceptable temperature profile. • Feed gas temperature control to prevent acid condensation on the catalyst.

• Effective mist elimination upstream of the converter to prevent mist carryover, which may result in damage to the catalyst, fouling, and high converter pressure drop as well as equipment corrosion. The new converter should be designed to achieve improved performance. Desirable features of the new converter include: • Designing to allow for lower SO2 emissions. This is achieved by selecting improved catalyst types, volumes and operating temperatures. Using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) also confirms uniform gas distribution. • Designing for lower pressure drop, thus reducing energy consumption of the main blower. This is achieved by reducing the pressure drop through catalyst beds, ducting, and nozzles. • Fabricating using better materials than existing. This can

Fig. 1: Converters that fully utilize their cross sectional area for catalyst loading. Left: NORAM 3-D model. Right: NORAM general arrangement.

be achieved by using stainless steel. • Installing a converter that is safer and more ergonomic than existing. • Using equipment that has a robust mechanical design and provides better reliability, higher on-stream time and lower maintenance requirements than existing. Eliminating gas leaks is also important. Rectangular nozzles should be avoided. • Maintaining dimensional limits specific to client requirements. • Matching specific tie-points to minimize ducting and piping

changes. • Reusing existing foundations when possible. • Designing to optimize converter diameter and weight. Fig. 1 shows converter designs that use the entire cross-sectional area, thus minimizing the equipment diameter. • Maximizing in-shop fabrication. Shipping to site in one piece if possible (Fig. 2). • Assembling sections in the field, if required (Fig. 3). • Designing for proper seismic conditions. Continued on page 14

Fig. 3: Examples of NORAM converters assembled in half-ring sections.

Fig. 2: Examples of NORAM converters assembled at fabrication shop, shipped in one piece, and lifted into place.


Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016

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Continued from page 12


Fig. 4: Examples of NORAM converters after installation. Table 1: Comparison of converter designs.



Process requirements


Material of   construcCon


Area available  for   catalyst  loadings




Mechanical issues




Weight and   installaCon




Manufacturing requirements



• Adequate  dewpoint  control  to  prevent  acid  condensa4on  on  the  catalyst.   •  Adequate  SO2  concentra4on  control  to  maintain  an  adequate  temperature  profile.   •  Adequate  mist  elimina4on  upstream  of  the  converter  to  prevent  mist  carryover,  fouling  and  corrosion. Various,  including:   •  Cast  iron  posts.   •  Carbon  steel.   •  Stainless  steel.   •  Brick-­‐lining.

• Typically  made  of  stainless  steel  304H.   •  Brick-­‐lining  op4on  available  for  heat  conserva4on,  if   required.

• OLen  require  internal  posts  or  empty  core  sec4ons.  Not   all  cross  sec4onal  area  is  used  for  catalyst  loading.

• En4re  cross  sec4onal  area  is  used  for  catalyst  loading.

• Conven4onal,  proven  design.   •  Higher  thermal  iner4a:  Good  heat  reten4on  for  short-­‐ term  shut-­‐downs.

• All-­‐welded  stainless  steel  designs   •  Flexible  catenary  support  plates.   •  No  requirement  for  internal  core  sec4ons  .   •  Lower  thermal  iner4a:  Allows  for  faster  start-­‐ups.  Brick-­‐ lining  op4on  available  to  increase  thermal  iner4a.  

• Gas  leaks  around  nozzles  and  welds  due  to  thermal   expansion  issues.   •  Failure  of  catalyst  support  or  bed  division  plates.   •  Deforma4on  and  bulging  of  shell  or  division  plates.   •  Fouling  and  corrosion  due  to  plant  opera4on  issues.

• Fouling  and  corrosion  due  to  plant  opera4on  issues.

• Larger.   •  Cannot  use  full  cross  sec4onal  area.  Typically  require  an   empty  central  core.

• Smaller.

• Heavier.   •  LiLing  only  possible  for  smaller  converters.

• Lighter.   •  Easier  to  liL  in  one  piece

• Similar  safety  performance. •  Carbon  steel  fabrica4on  (standard  procedures).   •  Stainless  steel  fabrica4on  (standard  procedures).

• Stainless  steel  fabrica4on  (standard  procedures).

• Varies  depending  on  opera4on  prac4ce  and  age  of  the  equipment.   •  Catalyst  monitoring  and  screening.


Maintenance requirements


InstallaCon Cme

• Varies  depending  on  size.  Much  lower  if  equipment  can  be  liLed  and  installed  in  one  piece.


Total cost  (installed   in  new  locaCon).

• Differences  are  site  specific  depending  on  scope,  installa4on  strategy  and  local  labor  costs.



Total cost  (when   installed  in  the   same  locaCon).

• Similar  for  small  diameter  converters  that  can  be  liLed  in   one  piece  into  an  exis4ng  loca4on.   •  Replacement  in  the  same  loca4on  is  oLen  not  possible   due  to  weight,  and  installa4on  4me  requirements.  

• The  project  cost  of  a  converter  replacement  in  the  same   loca4on  is  much  lower  as  compared  to  installing  in  a  new   loca4on  (oLen  30  to  40%  less  expensive).  Replacing  in  the   same  loca4on  can  re-­‐use  exis4ng  founda4ons,  duc4ng,   pla\orms,  etc.



• ~20  to  40+  years  proven.   •  Factors  affec4ng  longevity  include  the  varia4ons  in  feed   SO2  concentra4on,  maintenance  and  opera4on  prac4ces.

• 25  years  and  coun4ng.   •  No  stainless  steel  converter  is  known  to  have  needed   replacement.   •  Similar  factors  affect  predicted  longevity.



• Sulphur  burning,  metallurgical  and  acid  regenera4on  acid  plants.

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Table 1 summarizes the key differences between other converter designs and NORAM’s all-welded stainless steel design. The selection of the correct converter design can reduce the project cost and improve performance. Fig. 4 shows examples of large converters after installation. A key aspect of NORAM’s patented converter design is that it allows the use of the full cross sectional area for catalyst loading. However, if required, NORAM’s design can also accommodate the installation of gas-gas heat exchangers in the core to save pressure drop and space. With one internal gas exchanger it is still possible to use the full cross-sectional area for catalyst loading in the remaining two or three beds. For replacement converters, this is a powerful feature that increases the cross-sectional area for the same diameter. Also, by using a catenary plate design, NORAM can build the modules in the shop for high quality control and then weld the modules together in the field. Not all designs allow partial shop fabrication.

Improving the reliability, performance and environmental footprint of your acid plant may require replacement of its catalytic converter. When the time comes, it is recommended to keep in mind the considerations described in this article to ensure an optimum result. For more information, please visit www.noram-eng. com. q

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Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016


Product News

Begg Cousland, Benvitec announce alliance

GLASGOW, United Kingdom—Begg Cousland Envirotec in the United Kingdom and Benvitec Environment in Belgium announced a strategic alliance in the field of mist elimination. The Benvitec BlueFil® range of phase separation technology mesh will now be part of the range of filtration and gas scrubbing solutions offered by Begg Cousland Envirotec, exclusively in certain countries worldwide. Benvitec Environment thermoplastic BlueFil® mist eliminators are widely used in fume scrubbers in phosphoric acid and MAP/DAP plants and sometimes in sulfuric acid plants. Begg Cousland Envirotec designs and manufactures knitted wire meshpads, fiber bed candle filter type mist eliminators, and gas scrubbing technologies under the Begg Cousland brand, famous for over 60 years. Now the two companies have joined forces to maximize the potential applications of the BlueFil® range, and to offer significant process and quality improvements to users of other materials in scrubbing systems in fertilizer, metallurgical, and chemical industries. The BlueFil® media will now be incorporated into a new generation of gas cleaning equipment by Begg Cousland Envirotec. For more information, please visit www. beggcousland.co.ul or www.benvitec.be.

Monitoring sulfuric acid concentrations online

MAGDEBURG-BARLEBEN, Germany—In various industries, monitoring sulfuric acid concentrations is vital for quality management, sustainable resource efficiency, and increased safety. Precise and reliable monitoring places high demands on the analysis. To determine concentrations, sonic velocity meters have proven to be ideal, as sonic velocity provides a strong and unambiguous measurement of the concentration of sulfuric acid and oleum in the productionrelevant concentration ranges. With the LiquiSonic® analyzer by SensoTech, sulfuric acid and oleum concentrations are continuously monitored in real time using just one single sonic velocity sensor that is installed directly in the pipe. Its robust construction with Hastelloy C-2000 sensor material makes the sensor completely maintenance-free. Due to the chemical and physical properties of sulfuric acid and oleum, the LiquiSonic® technology provides highly accurate and clear results. The measurement accuracy is up to ± 0.03 percent and the results are updated every second. The LiquiSonic® controller displays and stores real-time information. Via 4-20 mA signal, digital outputs, serial interfaces, fieldbus, or ethernet, the controller can be integrated into the network and control system. The analyzer monitors acid concentration during various sulfuric acid production pro-

The LiquiSonic® analyzer by SensoTech monitors sulfuric acid and oleum concentrations during production with only a single sonic velocity sensor.

cesses, including, for example, double contact double absorption (DCDA) and wet sulfuric acid (WSA). Moreover, LiquiSonic® analyzers are used in synthesis gas drying, fertilizer production, decomposing ore mining, and etching and pickling baths of the chemical and steel industry. For more information, please visit sensotech.com.

Clark Solutions opens new manufacturing plant in Chile

SANTIAGO, Chile—By October of this year, Clark Solutions is launching a new manufacturing facility in Chile. The plant, located in Pudahuel, in the greater Santiago area, will manufacture Clark Solutions Fiberbed™ candle mist eliminators, Maximesh™ wire mesh mist eliminators, as well as a complete line of alloy products. The location will also maintain inventories of two- and three-inch ceramic MaxiSaddles™ as well as Clark Solutions BPC™ low

Clark Solutions’ mobile candle manufacturing unit can be transported on-site for emergency situations.

pressure drop packing. The Fiberbed™ candle manufacturing unit is a special chapter. With a mobile design protected by several patents, the plant has a unique ability to wind parallel or angled candles, or a mixture of both in a single candle. It also monitors and controls fiber tension and pressure drop on-line, guaranteeing unmatched product performance. Every candle is tested and pressure drop curves are generated for each individual unit. “After more than 20 years working in Chile selling products mostly made in Brasil, we believe it is time for us to establish a manufacturing unit, in order to offer this important market the same quality products but with substantially shorter lead times. The plant’s purpose is to serve Chilean and Peruvian markets as well as to serve as an export platform for other countries,” said Alex Bastida, Clark Solutions Chile CEO. For more information, visit www. clarksolutions.com.br. q

Radial Flow Gas-Gas Heat Exchangers Experience: • Introduced in 1977 • Originally developed and patented by Chemetics • Industry standard best-in-class design • More than 300 in service worldwide Features and Benefits: • Radial flow design – Minimises differential thermal stress – Eliminates dead flow zones to yield reduced fouling and corrosion – High efficiency and lower pressure drop for energy savings • Typically 20+ years leak free life with minimal maintenance • Flexible configuration allows retrofit into any plant • Advanced design options to suit demanding services

Innovative solutions for your Sulphuric Acid Plant needs Chemetics Inc.

Chemetics Inc.


Chemetics Inc., a Jacobs company

(headquarters) Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Tel: +1.604.734.1200 Fax: +1.604.734.0340 email: chemetics.info@jacobs.com


(fabrication facility) Pickering, Ontario, Canada Tel: +1.905.619.5200 Fax: +1.905.619.5345 email: chemetics.equipment@jacobs.com

Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016

Sulfur management & sulfuric acid

Meet your match Sulfur management that fits your needs Staying ahead of competition is a must. With our unique experience, products and services within sulfuric acid and WSA, we aim to provide you with a solution that fits your needs. We call this optimal performance. Meet us at Sulphur 2016 in London.

Scan the code or go to info.topsoe.com/sulfur2016



New advancements in spray technology for sulfur guns By: Chuck Munro, Spraying Systems Co.

Current technology overview

It is widely understood that the performance of the sulfur nozzle/sulfur gun is key for proper atomization during the creation of SO2 gas in the formation of sulfuric acid. The sulfur gun typically has a spray nozzle attached to it. The sole purpose of the nozzle is to break up molten sulfur into droplets so proper combustion occurs before the sulfur leaves the furnace. If the droplets are too large, carryover becomes a problem and can cause plugging of downstream equipment, such as tube sheets. Therefore, it is critical that the spray nozzle operate properly and provide the required performance for the furnace where it is operating. One of the most common obstacles to achieving optimal spray performance is pluggage. Nozzle plugging can be caused by different factors: 1) Plugging can occur due to debris or contaminants in the sulfur line. These contaminants enter the nozzle and clog the orifice. 2) Plugging also results when finely atomized liquid collects on the outside of the nozzle. As the build-up increases, the spray pattern of the nozzle is affected. 3) When spraying molten sulfur, plugging is commonly caused by the sulfur changing phase from a liquid to a solid inside the spray nozzle or sulfur gun. See Fig. 1. Sulfur temperature for pumping and spraying is typically held within a fairly narrow range (approximately 129–149 degrees C). Above this temperature, the sulfur starts to solidify again. Steam jackets are typically used on the pumps, pipes, and sulfur guns PAGE 18

to keep the sulfur temperature within the optimal operating range to prevent plugging and to protect the gun itself from the high temperatures in the furnace.

Ongoing challenges

Plugging caused by contaminants or debris can be mitigated by using spray nozzles with large free passages. Build-up on the exterior of the nozzles can be minimized by using nozzles that produce consistently-sized drops throughout the spray pattern. The drops must be small enough to achieve the required atomization but large enough so they resist drifting and don’t accumulate on the exterior of the nozzle. However, solving the solidification problem with molten sulfur is more challenging. Currently, as long as the sulfur is flowing through the spray nozzle at the designed flow rate for the furnace, there is sufficient velocity to prevent it from solidifying. Pluggage problems typically occur when the pressure is reduced to lower the sulfur flow rate or to remove the sulfur gun from the furnace. The reduction in pressure reduces the velocity of spray and the sulfur solidifies. See Fig. 2. Some spray nozzles are steam jacketed. However, these nozzles don’t provide the proper atomization needed to optimize spray performance in the furnace. Droplet size is generally too large and is inconsistent. Replacement of spray nozzles requires cutting and re-welding. The BA WhirlJet ® Sulfur Burning nozzle has been the industry standard for decades. This is because this nozzle provides:

(1) The small droplet size needed for proper atomization and a narrow droplet spectrum to prevent build-up and consistent combustion. (2) Large free passages to minimize pluggage. In addition to the superior atomization and plug-resistant characteristics of BA WhirlJet nozzles, the nozzle’s easy maintenance is attractive to producers. No cutting or welding is required to service or replace the nozzles. The occasional pluggage that occurs when the flow rate of the sulfur is reduced has been accepted by producers given the superior spray performance of the nozzle under normal operating conditions.

New sulfur gun design maintains spray performance and reduces risk of sulfur solidification

A new sulfur gun featuring a recessed spray nozzle will be introduced soon by Spraying Systems Co. The new nozzle will offer the same drop size performance and free passage as the BA WhirlJet nozzle but will be recessed in the jacketed gun. This will ensure the temperature of the sulfur will remain at the temperature required to prevent solidification even when flow rate decreases. The new nozzle is not attached directly to the sulfur feed pipe by threads. It will float on the feed pipe to allow for thermal expansion. The spray nozzle can be accessed by unscrewing a retainer nut to ensure easy access and maintenance. See Fig. 3. Complete information about the new nozzle, including

drop size data and availability will be announced in early 2017. Chuck Munro has more than 20 years of experience in spray technology with Spraying

Systems Co. He is a specialist in the petrochemical and chemical industries and is active in several industry committees. For more information, visit www.spray.com. q

Fig.1: Cutaway view of nozzle showing plugging after a reduction in sulfur velocity caused solidification inside the nozzles.

Fig. 2: Modeling using computational fluid dynamics and finite element analysis shows the highest temperature occurs at the edge of the nozzle, allowing the heat to transfer through the nozzle to the sulfur.

Fig. 3: The new BA WhirlJet nozzle, scheduled for release in early 2017, features a design that allows the nozzle to be recessed in the steam jacket.

Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016



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Sulphuric Acid Today NEU 2016.indd 1

Phone: +49 2623 600-0 Fax: +49 2623 600-513 E-Mail: info@steuler-kch.de www.steuler-kch.com 26.08.2016 14:53:55


Economic abatement of high strength SO2 off-gas from smelter

By: Youlei Weng, Benjamin Senyard, and Rene Dijkstra of Chemetics Inc. (a Jacobs company)

The majority of non-ferrous smelter operations are coupled with a metallurgical sulfuric acid plant to treat SO2 containing off-gases before discharging to the atmosphere. With the increasing use of oxygen enrichment and advances in smelting technology, strong off-gas containing up to 75 percent SO2 can be produced from primary smelting operations. The off-gas from the smelting section is often mixed with lower concentration off-gases from secondary processing units (typically Peirce Smith Converters) or other emission sources, as shown in Table 1. Type

SO2 Concentration (vol%)

Flash Smelting Furnaces


Noranda / Teniente Furnaces


Ausmelt / Isasmelt Furnaces


Converter/Anode Furnaces

0.1 – 15

Table 1: Typical smelter off-gas sources.

As smelter off-gas is deficient in oxygen for processing in the sulfuric acid plant, it is necessary to add oxygen, typically using ambient air, to the gas prior to the drying tower in the acid plant. After this O2:SO 2 ratio adjustment, the resulting SO 2 concentration in the process gas is typically between 15 and 25 percent SO 2 at the acid plant converter. However, the conventional sulfuric acid plant (double contact—double absorption) is limited to 12 to 13 percent SO 2 at the converter inlet in order to keep the gas temperature leaving the first catalytic stage below the thermal stability limit (~630°C) of the vanadium based catalyst. Air addition, beyond the amount required for adjusting the oxygen content, increases the gas volume processed through the acid plant and consequently the equipment size, capital, and operating cost. Higher gas throughput also increases the heat loss to the acid circuit, thereby reducing energy recovery from the gas contact section and increasing cooling water demand. With newly built and future smelter operations designed to produce high concentration SO 2 gas at increasing throughputs, ever more air dilution is required to stay within the limits of conventional acid plants. In some cases, gas volumes exceed the design limit of single train acid plants (currently around 5,000 MTPD), which forces designers to resort to multiple train contact plants thus further increasing plant footprint and CAPEX/OPEX. To counteract these shortcomings of the conventional acid plant, Chemetics Inc., with more than 50 years of experience in sulfuric acid technology, now offers two solutions: the Chemetics High Strength (CHS™) process and the Chemetics Pseudo-Isothermal process utilizing the BAYQIK® reactor technology. PAGE 20

Chemetics High Strength (CHS™) Process

The Chemetics High Strength process is designed for two typical situations: • Locations where the gas received from the smelter is high in SO 2, but deficient in oxygen such that dilution air is required to achieve the required O 2:SO 2 ratio for the conversion. • Locations with multiple SO 2 off-gas sources (such as a flash furnace coupled with Peirce-Smith Converters) that have different SO 2 concentrations but are not necessarily deficient in oxygen when mixed together and the client is considering installing separate gas cleaning systems for these gas sources for operational (reliability) or process (e.g. different gas cleaning requirements) reasons. The Chemetics High Strength (CHS™) process capitalizes on the difference in the SO2 concentrations of the feed streams resulting in the ability to process gases up to approximately 18 percent SO 2. As shown in Fig. 1, the CHS™ design processes the two groups of gas streams (high and low SO 2 concentrations) using standard and proven acid plant equipment by reconfiguring the contact section. A separate drying tower (with a common acid system) and blower is used for each group. After drying, the weak gas (which also includes any required dilution air to maintain the correct O 2:SO 2 ratio) is mixed with part of the strong gas to provide a gas with about 13 percent SO 2 concentration at the inlet of the first catalyst bed. After part of the SO2 is converted to SO3, the now SO3 rich gas from bed 1 is combined with the remaining strong SO 2 gas and processed in four more passes. The overall arrangement achieved is a 4+1 DCDA configuration. Energy recovery from the hot gas exiting beds 3, 4, and 5 allows for production of high pressure steam.

Fig. 2: Chemetics 5-pass converter with internal heat exchangers as used in the CHS™ process.

CHS™ vs. conventional–case study

For comparison between the CHS™ and a conventional acid plant, the following off-gas sources from a recent study are considered:


Strong SO2 Gas

Weak SO2 Gas

Total Feed Gas

vol.% SO2








% of Total Feed




Table 2a: CHS™ vs Conventional SAP—case study feed gas composition.

In a conventional acid plant, these sources would be blended and delivered to the drying tower as a single feed stream. Additional dilution air, required to control the first pass converter bed temperature, results in about 27 percent increase in the gas throughput. The CHS™ design receives these streams separately and requires no further dilution air. Parameter











Blower Power Consumption



Energy Recovery



Gas Throughput Bed 1 Vol % SO2 Gas Flow (% of Total Feed [1]) Bed 2 Vol % SO2 Gas Flow (% of Total Feed [1])

Fig. 1: CHS™ generic process flow diagram.

Taking full advantage of Chemetics’ experience and expertise in acid plant equipment design, the converter used for the CHS™ process is a single stainless steel five-bed converter with two internal heat exchangers (see Fig. 2). The advantages of the Chemetics stainless steel converter design are well known and include all-welded construction, rapid heat-up time, improved reliability, excellent gas distribution, and less external hot gas ducting.

Energy Efficiency [2]

Table 2b: CHS™ vs Conventional SAP—case study plant performance. [1] Flow rate is normalized to total feed gas on a molar basis. [2] Energy performance normalized to conventional design. Continued on page 22

Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016

Beltran Sulfuric Acid Today Full Page Rev2 9/16/14 6:46 AM Page 1

Beltran Wet Electrostatic Precipitators:


Beltran’s advanced WESP technology captures fine particulates, acid mists and condensed organics with maximum efficiency and lower cost. Save on equipment, operating and energy costs with Beltran gas-cleaning WESP systems, proven worldwide for collection efficiency and reliable performance. Our custom-engineered WESP designs remove even hard-to-capture submicron particulates, sulfuric acid mists and condensed organics. Beltran WESPs are currently producing excellent results for sulfuric acid plants and other applications worldwide, including mining and metallurgy, spent acid recovery, power generation, boilers, incinerators and more. • Unique electrode design and multistage systems capture flue-gas components with up to 99.9% efficiency. • Low pressure drop supports higher gas velocities and volumes with smaller equipment and lower costs. • Aqueous flushing system prevents particle re-entrainment, residue build-up, resistivity. • Cool, saturated WESP is more effective on condensable, oily, sticky contaminants. • Contaminant-free feedstock gas assures quality end-product for acid plants.

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Beltran Technologies, Inc. 1133 East 35th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11210 718.338.3311 • Fax: 718.253.9028 info@beltrantechnologies.com www.beltrantechnologies.com



Continued from page 20

Gas flow through in any of the CHS™ converter passes is no more than the total feed gas flow rate. This flow reduction, effectively 25 percent lower in the study case, translates to CAPEX and OPEX savings in addition to approximately 20 percent improvement in energy recovery. Compared with competitor technology, which recycles hot SO3 -rich gas to suppress the temperature rise in the first pass, the CHS™ design has a significantly lower gas flow rate through the converter beds and heat exchangers upstream of the intermediate absorption tower and also does not have the additional power consumption and reliability concerns associated with a hot SO3 gas recycle fan. The recycling of SO3 also increases the total SO2 /SO3 content in the gas and hence reduces the equilibrium conversion that can be achieved prior to intermediate absorption. Furthermore, should a control system or hot SO3 gas fan failure cause insufficient SO3 recycle, the first pass catalyst as well as the converter itself could be damaged quickly due to the resulting temperature (>660 degrees Celsius) excursion that could be experienced. These risks are mitigated in the CHS™ design.

Pseudo-isothermal converter – Chemetics BAYQIK®

On August 26, 2016, Chemetics acquired all patents and know-how for the BAYQIK® converter technology from Bayer AG. The BAYQIK® converter technology is a proven pseudo-isothermal reactor system capable of converting high strength SO 2 gas without diluting the gas with air or recycled process gas. The first commercial installation in Germany (see Fig. 7) has been operating continuously for more than eight years and a larger second plant is scheduled to start up at the end of this year. The technology is most valuable in treating a single strong gas source, but can also be an economical pre-converter for a plant with multiple off-gas sources. The Chemetics BAYQIK® Converter is the only commercially available isothermal converter system for SO 2 oxidation. Continuous removal of the reaction heat allows the process temperature to be controlled within the operating limit of the catalyst. In addition to directly converting higher concentration SO 2 gas, the pseudo-isothermal process operates farther from the equilibrium curve than a multi-pass adiabatic process, as shown in Fig. 3. This translates to lower overall catalyst loading and significantly higher conversion achieved in a single pass. The pseudo-isothermal process is realized in a patented tubular converter (see Fig. 4). The SO 2 process gas flows through the tubes, which are filled with vanadium-based catalyst. A cooling medium is introduced

on the shell side to remove the reaction heat. Energy recovered from the circulating cooling medium can be used for preheating the process gas and for generating high pressure steam.

Chemetics BAYQIK in-line design

There are several approaches to using the Chemetics BAYQIK® technology in handling high strength SO 2

stages also is minimized. Since very high SO2 conversion can be achieved using a single Chemetics BAYQIK® reactor, downstream secondary contact can be customized based on the client’s specific needs. The second SO 2 abatement process can be: (i) a conventional single or multi-pass adiabatic design, (ii) another single pass BAYQIK® reactor, or (iii) a regenerative SO 2 tail gas treatment unit. For instance, if a client desires the smallest plant footprint and the flexibility of equipment modularization, a Chemetics BAYQIK® reactor coupled with a regenerative tail gas unit would be the preferred solution, at the expense of steam consumption in the tail gas unit. This combination is especially suitable for smaller capacities or locations where a regenerative scrubbing system is already required to capture the SO 2 gases prior to conversion to acid.

Chemetics BAYQIK® Pre-Converter

Fig. 4: Stand-alone Chemetics BAYQIK® System.

gas. In an in-line configuration, the tubular reactor can simply replace the primary contact plant, which typically includes beds 1 through 3 and intercooling gas exchangers in an adiabatic design. As a result, the inline Chemetics BAYQIK® design reduces not only the gas flow through the plant but also the number of major equipment items and the overall plant pressure drop. This significant reduction in plant size is demonstrated in the comparison shown in Fig. 5 between the various technologies using a baseline case of 25 percent SO 2 off-gas with adequate oxygen content (O 2 /SO 2 ratio ≥ 0.8). In a conventional design, air addition required to reduce the SO2 concentration to 13 percent results in nearly doubling the gas flow through the contact plant. The CHS™ design can reduce the dilution air requirement by adjusting about half of the feed gas to 13 percent prior to bed 1. The resulting gas flow through the acid plant is reduced to 75 percent of the conventional design, but still elevated at 150 percent of feed gas flow. If hot SO3 recycle is used, the gas flowrate to first contact will be reduced to about 140 percent of feed gas flow (or 70 percent of the conventional design). However, in the absence of dilution air, the number of adiabatic passes must increase to achieve the same SO 2 emission allowance. This results in a contact plant with up to seven passes and three absorption towers. Finally, with Chemetics’ in-line design using a BAYQIK® reactor coupled with secondary contact, the gas flow to bed 1 is not only the lowest, but, the number of reaction

Another application of the technology is to treat only a portion of the strong SO 2 feed gas, with the SO3 rich gas leaving the isothermal pre-converter directly mixed with the rest of the strong feed gas and processed through a standard adiabatic contact plant. This configuration may be attractive for a large capacity new plant, where the benefits of directly treating a strong feed gas are fully realized with a smaller BAYQIK® reactor and cooling system. This line-up also highlights the value of the reactor technology for brownfield plant expansion, where a planned upgrade in the smelter operation would increase the SO 2 gas concentration going to an existing acid plant. The conventional design would require diluting the strong gas with air, resulting in a higher gas flow rate beyond the capacity of the existing acid plant. In many cases, a new double contact acid plant or a costly debottlenecking of the existing contact plant would be required. In such applications, an add-on Chemetics BAYQIK® module is a more economical solution. The BAYQIK® module converts and removes the extra SO 2 resulting in a gas to the existing acid plant that is the same volume and concentration as before the smelter expansion. This solution thus offers a compact design, smaller footprint, and improved energy efficiency. An example of the pre-converter line-up is shown in Fig. 6. Optional add-ons such as a dedicated SO2 booster fan and intermediate absorption tower are offered depending on the project requirement. The Chemetics BAYQIK® converter operation can be adjusted by controlling the temperature of the cooling medium (controlling conversion) or by adjusting the gas flow through the reactor. If the SO2 concentration from the smelter is low, the unit can be taken off-line into “hot standby” Continued on page 24

Fig. 3: SO2 conversion curve of conventional adiabatic process vs. pseudo-isothermal process. PAGE 22

Fig. 5: Technologies for treating single high strength SO2 source.

Fig. 6: Process flow example of Chemetics BAYQIK® preconverter. Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016


Continued from page 22

treating high strength SO2 off-gas without

Chemetics High Strength (CHS™)

Chemetics BAYQIK®

percent. Both approaches use proven equip-

▪ Reduced Plant Size (no air dilution beyond O2:SO2 ratio adjustment, no process gas recycle)

advantages over the conventional acid plant

▪ Reduced Footprint

▪ Ease of Integration

requiring excess dilution air or recycling of

hot process gas. While CHS™ is best suited

for applications with multiple large SO2 gas streams, process designs integrating the

Chemetics BAYQIK reactor can directly

Capital Improvement


treat concentrated SO2 gas as high as 50

ment and catalyst and simple controls. Their Fig. 7: This BAYQIK add-on installation has been operating since 2009. ®

and can stay in this mode for any length of

time while maintaining optimum catalyst temperature for immediate restart. From hot-standby mode, the plant can thus be switched on-line by simply restarting the gas flow. This operational flexibility maintains steady gas concentration to the downstream acid plant despite variability in feed gas and thereby improves acid plant reliability.

The versatility of the Chemetics BAY-

QIK® technology and its ability to handle

high strength SO2 gas and fluctuating process conditions, make it a powerful solution for metallurgical SO2 off-gas abatement.


Chemetics offers several solutions for

design are highlighted in Table 3.

Chemetics’ success in the sulfuric acid

industry has been built on focusing on the

client’s needs. With the evolution of in-

▪ Reduced reaction stages

es, Chemetics is able to offer customized

Operating Improvement

the appropriate process. The solutions are

▪ Lower Utility Consumption (Power, cooling water)

needs of the end user.

▪ Improved Energy Recovery and Steam Production

Herbert Lee, sulfuric acid business sales

▪ Improved Acid Plant Availability

creasingly high concentration SO2 off-gassolutions for any conditions by selecting

reached by closely working together with

our clients to ensure that we fully meet the

For more information, please contact

manager, at herbert.lee@jacobs.com. q Reference

▪ Increased Catalyst Life (reduced thermal stress)

Extractive Metallurgy of Copper, 4th Ed., Davenport, King, Schlesinger, Biswas, 2002.

Table 3: Advantages of CHS™ and Chemetics BAYQIK® designs.

PotashCorp, Agrium announce proposed merger

By: Argus Media Ltd.

After years of being both courted and courting others, leading North American fertilizer producer PotashCorp has finally met its match, and reached a merger agreement with regional counterpart Agrium to create a new parent company for their combined operations. As of press time, shareholders had yet to vote on the merger. In the event that it is approved, Agrium and PotashCorp expect to close the deal in mid-2017, subject to regulatory and Canadian court approvals. The new firm has yet to be named, but would be 52 percent owned by PotashCorp and 48 percent by Agrium. The merger “creates a new, premier, Canada-headquartered company that reflects our shared commitment to creating value and unlocking growth potential,” said PotashCorp Chief Executive Jochen Tilk. “This is a transformational merger that creates benefits and growth opportunities that neither company could achieve alone,” Agrium Chief Executive Chuck Magro said. Synergies from the all-stock transaction could cut $500 million USD per year from operating costs within two years of closing the deal, mostly through the integration of distribution and retail businesses, the companies said. The company expects to have realized synergies of $250 million USD by the end of the first year after completion, with savings from production optimization, shared selling, and general and administrative costs providing PAGE 24

a major source of savcapabilities. Potashings. Achieving such Corp has a nameplate savings may be vital to capacity of about 14 a successful future in a million tons per year of potash market domiMOP across five active nated by oversupply. Saskatchewan mines, PotashCorp is while Agrium owns heavily focused on the recently expanded potash, while Agrium 3 million tons per year also concentrates, beVanscoy potash mine yond fertilizer producin Saskatchewan. Intion, on the agriculcluding PotashCorp’s ture retail sector. The New Brunswick mine, merger would help to Agrium and PotashCorp Nitrogen and the merged firm would balance out the offer- Phosphate Facilities have a nameplate caing of both companies pacity of 19.1 million in the retail, potash, nitrogen, and phosphate tons per year, with an additional 3 million tons sectors. The firms could also benefit from per year of incremental capacity due to come on more coordinated sales and cost reductions in line in the future. a lower price environment. Both companies are active in the North Potash would make up just over a third American nitrogen and phosphates markets. of the new company’s earnings before interest, Agrium operates four nitrogen fertilizer plants tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBTIDA), in Canada and one in Texas, while PotashCorp based on figures for the 2013-15 fiscal years, has three such facilities across the United down from 51 percent previously. Nitrogen States. would make up 34 percent of the new compa On the phosphates side, Agrium operates ny’s EBTIDA, while phosphate would account the 660,000 tons/year Redwater MAP facility for 12 percent, and retail operations the remainin western Canada and the 340,000 tons/year ing 19 percent. Conda MAP facility in the United States. Pot In terms of potash, the merger would ashCorp operates the 840,000 tons/year DAP boost PotashCorp’s leading position in the inand 360,000 tons/year MAP Aurora facility in dustry, and consolidate the firms’ production North Carolina. The merger brings under one

roof roughly 17 percent of North American DAP and MAP capacity, and is the latest installment in a series of consolidations and closures that have characterized the U.S. phosphate sector since the early 2000s. This decline has long been predicted as phosphate rock resources erode and environmental pressures increase. The firms said the new company will remain “absolutely committed” to the Canpotex joint venture between Agrium, PotashCorp, and fellow North American producer Mosaic. Canpotex is the export coordination and marketing organization for the Canadian producers, and represents them globally, except in the United States. Canpotex was ‘mirrored’ in many ways until 2013 by BPC, the Belarusian Potash Company, which acted similarly as export coordinator for Belaruskali and Russian firm Uralkali. It is too early to speculate about the reactions of United States competition authorities, but it appears that there will still be a number of potash suppliers that have the ability to supply the United States, despite the merger. The Canadian Legacy solution mine, due to start production in the second quarter of 2017, will give German firm K+S Kali a competitive source of potash with which to supply the United States, as well as the Latin American and Asian markets. For more information on the merger, please visit Argus Media’s website at argusmedia.com. q Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016

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WESPs prove value in acid plants and beyond

By: Michael R. Beltran, President and CEO, Beltran Technologies, Inc.

Ongoing global concerns about carbon dioxide emissions and climate change are dominating the world’s attention—including the recent historic cooperation between the United States and China on ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement. However, this issue, as imposing as it is, should not cloud over the continuing efforts of numerous industries to manage fugitive sulfur emissions and capitalize on expanding markets for sulfuric acid. With about 200 million tons consumed annually, sulfuric acid (H2SO4) is still one of the world’s most widely used chemicals, essential as a primary or intermediate raw material in dozens of industrial processes. Demand is driven mainly by the agricultural fertilizer industry (70 percent of production), but encompasses petroleum refining, metal production, chemicals, pulp and paper, wastewater treatment, pharmaceuticals, pigments, and more. Experts expect demand for this ubiquitous chemical to grow about 1 percent per year. While sulfuric acid economics are obviously dependent on downstream markets, the industry is also tied to diverse, variable upstream supplies. Although elemental sulfur is mainly recovered from petroleum refining, 70 percent of industrial quality sulfuric acid is recovered as a non-discretionary by-product from the smelting and refining of nonferrous metals and steel fabrication. Thus, a robust global metals industry, combined with the environmentally responsible deployment of modern sulfuric acid recovery plants, is essential to ensuring a reliable supply chain of commercially viable sulfuric acid. Metallurgical facilities are among the myriad industries around the world faced with increasingly strict emission control requirements, especially regarding sulfuric acid mists and fine particulates. They are adopting a growing variety of advanced gas cleaning and air pollution control solutions, not only to stay ahead of the compliance curve, but also to control operating costs, achieve greater performance efficiencies, and reduce the costs of maintaining and replacing capital equipment impacted by highly corrosive gas streams. When concentrations of sulfur compounds exceed five to seven percent of exhaust gas volumes, downstream sulfuric acid manufacturing plants are a cost-effective solution for cleaning these gases while capitalizing on the markets for purified sulfuric acid. However, an efficient sulfuric acid manufacturing process requires the maximum possible removal from input gas streams of fine particulates, acid mists, condensable organic compounds, and other contaminants. This is necessary to prevent poisoning of the catalysts, plugging or fouling of catalyst beds, and corrosion of sensitive acid plant components. An optically pure input gas is also required to avoid the formation of a “black” or contaminated acid end-product. Proper gas cleaning also reduces long-term costs of maintenance, operations, and PAGE 26

A major threat to the cost-effectiveness of a WESP is corrosion of equipment caused by the harsh chemical components of treated gases. To prevent premature deterioration, critical surfaces should be constructed with advanced protective materials such as fiberreinforced plastics (FRP) or high nickelchromium alloys. The high-voltage insulators should be continuously purge-air cleaned to further reduce maintenance costs. Beltran high-efficiency WESPs reduce costs of removing acid mists and fine particulates at the Mopani Copper Mines in Zambia.

Beltran-engineered WESPs proved a durable solution for Votorantim Metais zinc smelter in Brazil.

equipment replacement. However, effective gas cleaning can make up 40 to 50 percent of the capital cost of an acid plant. The array of gas cleaning equipment available to industrial engineers includes wet and dry flue-gas scrubbers, venturi scrubbers, cyclones, and fabric filters. These systems can be cost-effective at controlling large-scale particulates, oxides of sulfur and nitrogen, and other hazardous air pollutants. However, they are usually inefficient or ineffective on fine particulates, acid mists, oily residues, or condensed organic compounds. In these cases, engineers continue to rely on modern versions of a technology that has been used for years to reduce dust and fumes from industrial exhaust and process gases: the wet electrostatic precipitator (WESP). The basic WESP design comprises an array of negative discharge electrodes surrounded by grounded collection surfaces. Exhaust gases are passed through the array, which induces a negative charge in even the most minute, submicron-size particles, impelling them instantly toward the collection surfaces, where they adhere as the cleaned gas advances to the drying unit. The captured particle residues are purged from the plates by recirculating water sprays. Because it processes gases in a cooler, saturated environment—usually between 100170 degrees F—the WESP is uniquely adept at capturing the condensable organic materials and acid mists found in many industrial plants. The simple elegance of this basic WESP design concept makes them uniquely versatile over a broad range of industries, applications, operating conditions, and gas chemistries. This adaptability is critical to metallurgical and petroleum refining operations, where source gases can be highly variable. It also means WESPs can be successfully deployed in more remote locations, which present logistical, geographical, and topological challenges— and where much of the new metals and mining plant investment is occurring. A new mission for WESPs is emerging as a result of the increasing reliance by industry on selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems to control nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx) resulting from fuel combustion in the presence of air. The SCR increases the conversion of SO2 to SO3, which reacts with water vapor to form additional acid mists, which then

overload or escape the scrubbers. Fortunately, the WESP is ideally suited to handle this added load. Still, WESPs can vary greatly in design, materials, gas flow rates, and durability, as well as collection efficiency. Therefore, it is important for engineers to recognize some of the key differences in features and benefits among the various precipitator systems. Today’s more advanced WESPs are designed around a multistage system of ionizing rods bristling with star-shaped discharge points, enclosed within square or space-saving hexagonal tubes. This unique electrode geometry generates a corona field 4-5 times more intense than that of other ESP designs, resulting in greater particle migration velocity and adhesivity. Fine particulates and aerosols, which have little significant mass and which easily escape through scrubbers and venturi scrubbers, are captured with up to 99.9 percent efficiency. A key advantage to every WESP design is the minimal pressure drop experienced as gases pass through the system—as low as 1 to 2 kPa. With virtually no mechanical obstruction through the WESP, gas velocities, and thus operating efficiency, can be extremely high. This feature also enables plant designers to use smaller-scale, less costly equipment and still achieve superior collection efficiencies compared to other systems. A persistent challenge for traditional dryoperating precipitators is the re-entrainment of particles from the collection surfaces back into the gas stream due to the use of mechanical or acoustical rapping units. The vertical flow and continuous aqueous flushing of WESPs greatly minimizes this problem. By eliminating the need for rappers, WESPs also reduce the higher cost and energy drain imposed by that equipment. For industries that generate oily or sticky residues, the aqueous flushing also prevents particle build-up, and overcomes electrostatic resistivity and backsparking on the WESP collection surfaces. Other critical features to look for in WESP equipment are sophisticated electronic controls linked to a closecoupled gas flow management system. These controls can optimize operating parameters such as gas velocity, saturation, temperature, corona intensity, etc., to achieve maximum efficiency.

WESPs: Superior technology for wide applications

The versatility of advanced wet electrostatic precipitators stems from their ability to process a wide variety of gas streams, under varied operating conditions, and in diverse geographical and industrial settings. They can also be configured in multiple stages; as either primary or adjunct, downstream gas cleaning units, or as modular components. They are a scalable solution for applications ranging from light rooftop installations for small companies, to large, multi-circuit, polymetal processing facilities. WESPs have proven particularly valuable in smelters and refineries, petroleum and gas production facilities, fossil-fueled power plants and industrial boilers, and municipal waste incinerators. When emissions of sulfur dioxide exceed five to seven percent of gas-stream volumes, a common and cost-effective solution is the incorporation of downstream sulfuric acid manufacturing plants, which can help capitalize on the market value of purified sulfuric acid. In the modern world, WESPs are also finding invaluable applications in the manufacturing of electronic components such as semiconductors and printed circuit boards. Potential air emissions from this industry include doping agents; hazardous gases; organic solvent vapors; particulates; and sulfuric, hydrochloric, and other acids. For controlling particulate emissions and condensed organic compounds, WESPs remain the technology of choice. Another forward-looking technology, biomass gasification, requires high-efficiency cleaning of syngas produced from the thermochemical conversion of carbonaceous wastes. For maximum energy production (via gas turbine or liquid fuel combustion) the gas must be purified to extremely high standards. Due to their versatility and efficiency on a wide variety of problematic emission components, and under diverse operating conditions, WESPs are becoming the proven specification worldwide for collection efficiency, reliable performance—and cost savings that translate directly to the bottom line. Michael R. Beltran is president and CEO of Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Beltran Technologies, Inc. For more information, please email beltran@earthlink.net or visit www.beltrantechnologies.com. q Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016


Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps celebrates 125 years of specialist manufacturing Weir Minerals is proud to announce that 2016 marks its 125th year anniversary of a long standing brand—Lewis® Pumps. For 125 years, Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps has developed an international reputation in the design and manufacture of pumps and valves in the sulfur, sulfuric acid, and phosphoric acid industries. “It is an honor to be celebrating 125 years of developing and manufacturing our Lewis Pump range in this ever-changing industry. We have witnessed many challenges and opportunities throughout our history and continue to advance to meet the demands of our markets,” said Bob Elliott, managing director of Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps.

History of Lewis® Pumps

Back in 1891, Charles S. Lewis founded Chas. S Lewis and Co., Inc., a family business that adopted alloy customization

The Lewis® molten salt pump is engineered to withstand high-density and hightemperature conditions common in molten salt systems circulation.

Improvements to the test area allow Weir Minerals engineers to test all axial flow pumps under actual working conditions before releasing them to the market.

methods to furnish custom OEM pump lines to the beer pasteurization and bottle cleaning industries. By the turn of the century, in 1906, the company commenced manufacturing pumps in-house and in 1914 developed and manufactured its first sulfuric acid pump, beginning a specialization

that has continued to the present day. This specialization in sulfuric acid equipment continued and, in 1975, the company manufactured its first sulfuric acid valve. The company became part of the Weir Group in 1994. Weir’s well established manufacturing excellence programs were implemented at Lewis, resulting in an even greater level of quality and performance. In 2012, the first Lewis® molten salt pump was manufactured. These highly engineered centrifugal pumps are integral to molten salt systems circulation in the solar power industry. “We have developed a full range of pumps engineered for the unique requirements of molten salt. With over 100 years of experience focused on high density and high temperature, we have been able to develop a pump that has a superior feature set to provide high reliability and low operating costs,” said Elliott. Today, after 125 years’ experience, Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps still manufactures a wide range of Lewis® pumps and valves and has made significant investments to develop and enhance its product line to better serve the industries in which it operates. “In recent years we have added gate, globe, and butterfly valves with our proprietary Lewmet alloy, proven to be highly effective in sulfuric acid pumps,” said Ken Black, vice president sales and marketing, Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps.

Strong customer focus

With customers in more than 100 countries, careful manufacturing planning, identifying the most requested spare parts, and ensuring stock is constantly replenished for the needed items are key requirements for satisfying customers. Having the necessary parts at the ready involves collecting and collating spare parts usage data to truly understand customers’ requirements and actively stocking items that will meet customers’ expectations during emergency situations. PAGE 28

Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps staff pictured in front of a vertical molten salt pump type VMS-44518.

To ensure successful implementation, Weir adopted a LEAN manufacturing strategy to access and share global best practices and training between all Weir factories. “Our most recent improvement efforts include moving 92 percent of all factory equipment into product cells, linking our most requested spare parts into new replenishment techniques, creating close bonds with key suppliers, and reducing the overall lead-time with an eye on strengthening spares availability,” says Black.


Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps recently invested in the modification of its test stand area for axial flow pump testing. This enables engineers to test all pumps extensively, under real-life working conditions, before they leave the facility. In addition, the company has also opened a new Distribution Center with 42,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space, allowing staff to manufacture, assemble and ship Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps’ products to customers around the world with ease. “We have streamlined our process to allow all departments to review orders on a daily basis. This allows all departments to ask questions at the time the orders are processed, improving the flow throughout our system” said Elliott. “Throughout the last 125 years, we have remained dedicated to the market and the customers we serve and this can be witnessed through the evolution of our Lewis pumps and valves. Our product innovations and dedicated group of employees will not only provide better service to our valued customers but will enable us to continue to deliver solutions to our customers for another 125 years and beyond,” said Elliott. For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.global.weir. q Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016

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sulfuric acid products & services


Dundee´s world-class acid plant demonstrates the latest in sustainable technology In April 2016, Dundee Precious Metals (DPM), a Canadian mining company, officially opened its new sulfuric acid plant in Tsumeb, Namibia. The design and delivery of the gas cleaning system, sulfuric acid plant, Peirce Smith (PS) converters, and related technologies were all provided by Outotec, a global leader in minerals and metals processing technology. Fig. 1 shows the depth of Outotec’s technology portfolio and EPC capabilities. The key design data of the project are listed in Fig. 2. This project demonstrates the commitment of both companies to sustainability and the use of modern, innovative technology, and it also shows the social responsibility applied beyond the project implementation. TABLE: Project key design data PSC matte per batch


Gas cleaning plant capacity

110,000 Nm3/h (dry)

Acid production (nominal, 100 wt.-% H2SO4)

1540 t/d

Acid plant SO2 emissions

<300 ppmv

Effluent treatment capacity

30 m3/h

Slurry filtration capacity

4 m3/h

Fig. 2: Project design data of new acid plant.

History of Tsumeb smelter

Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb is located in Tsumeb, Namibia, approximately 430 km north of the capital, Windhoek. With a population of 14,000, Tsumeb is the closest town to Etosha National Park. The Tsumeb smelter was constructed in the early 1960s to process concentrate from the Tsumeb copper mine and is one of only five commercial-scale smelters in Africa. It is linked by rail to the Atlantic port of Walvis Bay in Namibia. The primary smelter is a refurbished Ausmelt furnace and the facility employs close to 600 people, including contractors. The smelter is one of only a few in the world that are able to treat arsenic-bearing copper concentrates and is therefore able to

Arial view of the copper smelter. PAGE 30

senic, are removed. Significant effort was made to minimize the plant’s cooling water make-up requirements by using air-cooled cooling water systems for most of the cooling tasks, and the selection of a tailor-made high yield reverse osmosis plant for cooling water make-up treatment.

Peirce Smith Converters

Fig. 1: Design of new sulfuric acid plant in Tsumeb, Namibia.

conclude long-term favorable contracts to treat such concentrates. From the concentrates, the smelter produces blister copper, arsenic trioxide (As2O3), and sulfuric acid. The blister copper is delivered to refineries for final processing and the As2O3 and acid are sold to third party customers. Currently, half of the smelter’s business comes from Dundee’s Chelopech mine in Bulgaria. Additional business is solicited from a variety of sources globally, primarily South America.

Project background

Dundee entered into a contract with Outotec in 2012 for the design and delivery of PS converters, a gas cleaning system, a sulfuric acid plant, and related technologies downstream of the existing copper smelter. This was later converted into a full engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract. Outotec’s scope of delivery included the basic and detail engineering, procurement, supply, erection, and commissioning of PS converters, a gas cleaning system, and sulfuric acid plant, an effluent treatment plant as well as a sulfuric acid tank farm based on proprietary Outotec® technologies. Outotec supplied the entire chain of Outotec technologies and services to complement the existing Ausmelt smelter, also part of Outotec’s technology portfolio. With these integrated solutions, Dundee Precious Metals now has a world-class process plant that is designed to meet international SO2 emission standards. Built at a cost of almost $183 million, the plant created over 1,400 contract jobs during construction and currently provides 50 full time positions. Sulfuric acid, a critical component in the mining industry, is produced by taking a byproduct from copper production and turning it into something of value for Namibia’s mining economy, while at the same time ensuring a positive environmental outcome. The

The two new PS converters produce blister copper with a copper content of 9899 percent from matte. For oxidation to take place, air is blown directly into the molten matte through tuyeres at the backside of the converter. The primary converter hood is custom made and has a tight fit against the PS converter to achieve a minimum of false air intake.

View of acid plant.

entire project was delivered with no serious injuries, a commendable achievement given the brownfields nature of the work.

Focus on environmental sustainability

Environmental sustainability was high on the priority list during the planning and design stages. This included the treatment of smelter and converter gases, which are high in sulfur dioxide. The gases are now being treated and converted into sulfuric acid, providing an additional product. The capture of off-gas has been much improved via new converter hoods which collect the fumes that are generated in the copper converter process. This off-gas is cleaned from impurities in the gas cleaning plant and finally the SO2 is removed in the sulfuric acid plant, where it is converted to sulfuric acid. The addition of new PS converters not only provide a much more environmentally friendly solution, but are also larger in capacity and allow for the production of larger quantities of blister copper. PS converter dust is recovered in a converter dust slurry neutralization and filtration process, maximizing metal recovery. As water is a limited resource in Namibia, the newly installed effluent treatment plant treats the process water required for the gas cleaning process. The water is neutralized and impurities, including ar-

Charging of the new Peirce-Smith converter.

Gas cleaning technology

Downstream from the existing Ausmelt and the new Peirce Smith converters, a gas cleaning and sulfuric acid plant has been installed. The gas cleaning plant comprises three separate strands for cleaning the Ausmelt off-gas and the off-gas from the two Peirce Smith converters, which operate alternately, followed by a common gas cleaning section where the combined Continued on page 32

Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016


Interpass absorption tower designed for a 900 MTPD sulphur burner acid plant designed, constructed and installed by Clark Solutions

Mist Eliminators: MaxiMesh® wiremesh and FiberBed® fibre bed Acid Distributors: Through & Downcomers and Pipe Distributors Tower Internals: MaxiSaddle® ceramic packing and MaxiDome® ceramic support

clarksolutions.com.br USA 411 SE Mizner BLVD #72 Boca Raton FL 33432-6001

5.indd 1

(11) 3472-3344

Brazil Office 281 Av. Moema Moema / SP 04077-020


Barueri Plant 69 R. Galeão - Vila Morellato Barueri / SP 06408-050

Embu Plant 91 Dn. Joaninha - Moinho Velho Embu das Artes / SP 06807-690

Thermal and Mechanical Separation Solutions

Chile Plant Volcan Lascar 801,2H Pudahuel - Santiago - Chile

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Continued from page 30

Peirce-Smith Converter gas cleaning.

off-gas from the strands is cleaned. Each of the strands consists of a high efficiency scrubber with an integrated quench section on top followed by a droplet separator and an ID-Fan. With this technology, no evaporation cooler and hot-ESPs are required for the PS converter off-gas. The high efficiency scrubbers cool the gas by water evaporation and remove the main fraction of dust in the scrubbing zone by turbulent mixing of scrubbing liquid and dust-loaded gas. This mixing requires a pressure drop in the scrubber that is compensated by ID-Fans. The common gas cleaning section consists of a gas cooling tower and four wet electrostatic precipitators arranged in two stages. The gas cooling tower, which includes a tower filled with irrigated random packing, cools the gas to adjust the humidity according to the requirements of the downstream sulfuric acid plant. Final removal of dust and acid mist particles takes place in the wet electrostatic precipitators. All remaining small particles are removed in an electrostatic field. The scrubbing acid, which contains all impurities scrubbed out of the gas, is transferred for cleaning via the SO2-stripper, where SO2 is stripped from the weak acid, to the effluent treatment plant. A major portion of the dust removed in the converter gas cleaning strands is collected in settling tanks and pumped to a slurry filtration and bagging unit.

Acid plant process

The clean off-gas from the gas cleaning plant is treated in a 2+1 double absorption acid plant. The unusual 2+1 acid plant is a custom-made approach to the gas conditions. Cesium-promoted catalyst is used in the last converter bed to achieve a high overall conversion. The acid plant is

designed for a wide range of process conditions. A key factor is flexible heat management, which is achieved by parallel gas coolers in the gas route to the intermediate and final absorption tower. The re-heat exchanger for the gas downstream of the intermediate absorption is Outotec’s typical CORD™ design with a horizontal stainless steel part operating under corrosion optimized conditions. This results in a long lifetime for both the horizontal and the vertical carbon steel part, even under fluctuating process conditions. The benefit of this sustainable approach is that it has no sacrificial parts that require frequent replacement. A feature of the absorption section is the closed-loop cooling system for drying tower and absorption tower acid that uses air coolers to save water. This leads to the choice of Outotec Edmeston SX® stainless steel as material of construction for the acid coolers of the closed loop cooling water systems. Outotec Edmeston SX® sustains much higher wall temperatures than conventional acid coolers, so much higher cooling water temperatures are possible. High cooling water temperature capacity is favorable given the air cooler size and power consumption. The product acid is stored in three acid storage tanks. Further scope of the project included an acid loading station for filling road tankers and tank wagons.

Cooling water systems

An open cooling water tower as well as two air cooler systems with closed loop cooling water systems have been delivered for maintaining the temperature of the cooling water required by the gas cleaning and the sulfuric acid plant. The air cooler systems have been installed for minimizing the cooling water treatment requirements of the plant. The air cooler systems operate at two different temperature levels to minimize size and electrical power consumption: the hotter one cools the strong sulfuric acid, while the colder system cools the first stage of the gas cleaning plant’s weak acid. The evaporative-cooling water tower is used to achieve the necessary low temperatures for the second stage cooling in the gas cleaning plant and is used for the product acid cooling. A reverse-osmosis plant was chosen to remove the high level of impurities from the available water, to allow for a maximum number of cooling water concentration cycles in the evaporative cooling tower. This reverse-osmosis plant is equipped with an independent second stage to maximize the water yield. The reverse-osmosis water is also used for dilution water in the acid plant.

then discharged to a bagging station.

Outotec´s commitment to community investment

The project included installation of new air coolers, foreground.

concentration of 5 g/l. The weak acid is collected in an effluent collection basin. From the collection basin, effluent is pumped to the treatment plant where it is purified in a precipitation process. In the precipitation process, acid is neutralized, and arsenic as well as other soluble impurities are precipitated by adjusting the pH through the addition of lime milk. From the Outotec precipitation reactors, the slurry produced flows by gravity to the Outotec clarifier for solid-liquid separation. Clarifier underflow slurry is pumped through a filter feed tank to the Outotec PF filter. Filtrate and wash waters from the filtration stage are pumped back to the feed of clarifier and dried filter cake is discharged through cake conveyors to the bagging station where cake is bagged for solid disposal purposes. Moisture content of the filtrated solids is less than 40 wt %. Clarifier overflow flows by gravity to a pump tank and is reused in overall plant processes. The effluent treatment process yields water containing less than 100 mg/l of arsenic and suspended solids.

Outotec also contributed beyond the confines of the new plant. Together with Dundee Precious Metals, Outotec initiated a community project to build a new dining hall at Ondudu Primary School. This dining hall will allow young students to rest and prepare themselves for learning lessons. The project consisted of more than just monetary support, and required the great enthusiasm, passion, and commitment of our project teams The dining hall was opened on November 25, 2015, by the honorable Ester Anna Nghipondoka, deputy Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, in Tsumeb. During the ceremony, Dundee and Outotec representatives spoke about the importance of the social project and the commitment of both companies to social sustainability. Rick Howes, president and CEO of DPM, said, “The acid plant was the largest project ever undertaken at the Tsumeb smelter and one of the largest private sector investments in Namibia. This investment represented our commitment to improve the quality of life for our employees and the local community and reduce the impact the smelter has on the natural environment. It was the culmination of the efforts of many to bring this project to completion.” Outotec would like to acknowledge Dundee Precious Metals in the production of this article and use of photographs. For more information, please visit www.outotec.com. q

Converter slurry filtration process

The Outotec converter slurry filtration process is designed to neutralize and filter the dust slurry from the gas cleaning plant’s settling tanks to recover valuable metals. The design capacity of the converter dust neutralization and filtration plant is for converter dust slurry with a sulfuric acid concentration of 30 g/l and dust solid concentration of 110 g/l. The slurry is fed to a neutralization reactor where a soda ash solution is added. This neutralized slurry is then filtered in an Outotec PF filter for separating the solids. Dried filter cake is

New dining hall at Ondudu Primary School.

Effluent treatment plant Dundee Precious Metals’ new sulfuric acid plant in Tsumeb. PAGE 32

Outotec’s effluent treatment process is designed to treat weak acid effluent from the gas cleaning plant with a sulfuric acid concentration of 12.5 g/l and an arsenic

The converter dust slurry filtration plant is an integral part of the process.

This motivating quote is displayed prominently in the new building at Ondudu Primary School. Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016


Finding the root cause of acid carryover

By: Vitor A. Sturm¹, Bruno B. Ferraro1, Michael D. Montani1,2, and Nelson P. Clark¹ ¹Clark Solutions, São Paulo, SP, Brazil ²Polytechnic School of the University of Sao Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil

When foggy gas, acid draining, and burnt sticks are observed, the immediate concern of all operators is mist eliminator efficiency. Properly sized and built, previously tested, and carefully installed mist eliminators are extremely reliable pieces of equipment. In most cases, mist eliminators should be the last and not the first concern, especially when evaluating their costs. This article shows a successful case in which filters were not responsible for observed acid carryover.

Fig. 5: Fouled downcomers. Fig. 3: Tube sheet support beams cut to fit bolts.

Problem identification

Stick tests, as shown in Figs. 1 and 2, are the simplest qualitative way to reveal fine mist carryover and/or acid droplet reentrainment (dark wet spots), an inefficient SO3 absorption, or submicron mists (uniform wood burn) inside an absorption or drying tower. An ideal stick test retrieves a clean stick. Fig. 1 shows, from left to right, a 1-minute stick test realized at the drying (DT), interpass (IPAT), and final (FAT) towers of a 600 MTPD sulfur burning sulfuric acid plant. It is easy to see that the IPAT was operating with significant carryover—the stick was so dark and wet that it is almost impossible to pinpoint possible causes. A major mist eliminator vendor immediately suggested that candles were not working properly and that replacement was necessary. Operating with these conditions may result in downstream damage. Clark Solutions and the customer chose a programmatic problem solving approach to identify possible issues and correct flaws, prior to condemning the Fig. 1: Original candles. stick test.

Fig. 2: Closer stick test view shows dark spots (acid droplets). PAGE 34

Fig. 7: Old draining seals.

Fig. 4: Project different from as-built.

September 2015 inspection

In September 2015, the plant was shut down for a brief inspection. The IPAT inspection identified several cuts along the support beams, most probably because of a modification to fit candle filters that were acquired with different flange bolting hole patterns. Originally, the tube sheet was designed to support seventeen candles with 16 flange bolts on each candle. However, a different situation was found, with a mix of 12 and 16 flange bolts as well as two blockages at tube sheet center. When observing these conditions there was suspicion of possible tube sheet warping. Besides the cuts made in the support beam, there were changes in the original tube sheet project.


Most downcomers were heavily fouled, directly affecting acid flow on distribution troughs. This caused heavy acid overflow and resulted in intense acidmechanical carryover toward candles that overloaded due to draining capacity. All downcomers were cleaned and/or repaired. Downcomer extensions are attached by pins that must be properly designed to avoid fouling. Teflon pins are shown in Fig. 6. Properly designed pins keep debris that may be circulating with the acid from blocking the downcomers. All pins were replaced with Clark Solutions designed pins. Improper trough fixation can result in unbalanced troughs, which causes vibration and damage, and results in acid spills and carryover.

Fig. 6: Downcomer pins and trough fixation. Sketch



10% area obstruction hard edges


3% area obstruction soft edges


Fig. 8: Installed new draining seals.

Table 1: Pin exchange.

Tube sheet drain seal legs

All IPAT tube sheet drain seal legs were completely fouled and blocked by sulfate, preventing continuous drainage of collected acid by the tube sheet mist eliminators. At the time, the only way to drain collected acid was through a side drain, which operators opened once every shift. All draining seals were changed with newly designed ones, properly sized for the operating pressure drops in a more open design to reduce fouling effects. Since there were candles of different types and suppliers inside the IPAT, there was not a pattern on the mist eliminators. Fig. 11 shows two hole patterns on the same flange. In addition, some candles included an internal reinforcement structure and others did not. In September, 18 Fiberbeds® were bought from Clark Solutions. Because a new tube sheet with one single candle bolting hole pattern was scheduled to be installed in 2016, the candles were designed and built with a stainless steel pedestal so that they

Fig. 9: New draining seals.

Fig. 10: Old candles with different hole patterns and internal structure.

Fig. 11: New Fiberbed® with pedestals to fit different hole patterns. Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016

January 2016 inspection

In January 2016, the plant was shut down for a brief inspection prior to the new tube sheet installation. Due to both the mist eliminators’ weight in operation and the support beams’ “cut windows” (Fig. 3), the tube sheet showed warping, creating

preferential gas paths between the filter’s flange and the tube sheet. The January inspection revealed that the Teflon gaskets on some filter candles were clearly not tight, indicating warping and gas passage. Fig. 15 shows that even anti-acid bricks were removed to fit bolting. Even 6 mm full face Teflon gaskets were not able to correct the spacing caused by the tube sheet warping, confirming that a new tube sheet was necessary. In order to improve acid distribution

Fig. 16: Design comparison of orifice plate.

in the IPAT acid troughs, new flow-control orifice plates were designed. Differences in the plate designs are shown in Fig. 17. The plates were changed during the January inspection. After these orifice plates’ modification, smoother flow was observed over all acid troughs, eliminating overflow and minimizing acid entrainment.

line. All candle filters that were installed in September 2015 had their pedestals adapted to the new candle bolt hole standard and were installed in the new tube sheet as planned. The plant has now prevented further damage of downstream equipment and is properly operational.

Tube sheet replacement and final results

Fine mist carryover, acid droplets reentrainment, and inefficient SO3 absorption can result from many sources, including uneven acid distribution (distributor or packing flaws), fouled drain seal legs, bad mist eliminator installation, gasket leakage, tube sheet preferential gas paths, and others. If only the mist eliminator candles were exchanged in these situations, the stick test would show little to no improvement. When observing acid content downstream from towers it may be necessary to inspect and evaluate the plant, considering dry tower inefficiency, water leaks, bad acid or gas distribution inside towers, intense acid fine mist condensation, as well as other non-conformities discussed in this article. Clark Solutions is always available to conduct such inspections. For more information, visit www. clarksolutions.com.br. Fiberbed® and MaxiMesh® are registered trademarks of Clark Solutions in Brazil. q

Because of the warped and damaged structure of the IPAT tube sheet, a full replacement was made in May 2016. The new tube sheet was designed to evenly support 19 filter candles as shown in Fig. 19. After the tube sheet replacement, a proper stick test was finally achieved. The black marks in the final stick test are typically seen as a result of acid residue in the

May 2016 Stop Fig. 20: Stick test comparison for final intervention.

Fig. 12: New Fiberbed® detail with pedestal and internal structure.

Fig. 17: Old (below) and new (above) orifice plates.


6th Sulphur and Sulphuric Acid 2017 Conference 9 May 2017—WORKSHOP 10–11 May 2017—CONFERENCE 12 May 2017—TECHNICAL VISIT Cape Town, South Africa

September 2015 Stop Fig. 13: Stick test comparison for first intervention.

January 2016 Stop Fig. 18: Stick test comparison for second intervention.

OBJECTIVES > Expose SAIMM members to issues relating to the generation and handling of sulphur, sulphuric acid and SO2 abatement in the metallurgical and other industries. > Provide opportunity to producers and consumers of sulphur and sulphuric acid and related products to be exposed to new technologies and equipment in the field. > Enable participants to share information and experience with application of such technologies.

Fig. 14: Tube sheet warping scheme.

Fig. 15: Warping detail. Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016

> Provide opportunity to role players in the industry to discuss common problems and their solutions.

Fig. 19: New tower head with new tube sheet.

For further information contact: Conference Co-ordinator Camielah Jardine, SAIMM P O Box 61127, Marshalltown 2107 Tel: (011) 834-1273/7 Fax: (011) 833-8156 or (011) 838-5923 E-mail: camielah@saimm.co.za

BACKGROUND The production of SO2 and sulphuric acid remains a pertinent topic in the Southern African mining, minerals and metallurgical industry. Due to significant growth in acid and SO2 production as a fatal product, as well as increased requirement for acid and SO2 to process Copper, Cobalt and Uranium, the Sub Saharan region has seen a dramatic increase in the number of new plants. The design capacity of each of the new plants is in excess of 1000 tons per day. In light of the current state of the industry and the global metal commodity prices the optimisation of sulphuric acid plants, new technologies and recapture and recycle of streams is even more of a priority and focus. The 2017 Sulphuric Acid Conference will create an opportunity to be exposed to industry thought leaders and peers, international suppliers, other producers and experts.

http://www.saimm.co.za  PAGE 35


could be adapted and reused in the future. Due to the short working timeframe in September, it was not possible to implement further actions. After starting the plant, a new stick test was conducted. The improvements were noticeable, but not complete, so another inspection was scheduled for January.


conference review

Central Florida AIChE hosts 40th International Phosphate Fertilizer & Sulfuric Acid Technology Conference Now in its 40th year, the International Phosphate Fertilizer and Sulfuric Acid Technology Conference is always one of the year’s highlights. This event, hosted by the Central Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, brings colleagues from around the world to Florida’s Gulf Coast to share their ideas concerning chemical process technology, specifically the production of phosphoric acid, phosphate fertilizers, and sulfuric acid. The conference, held last June 10-11 at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater, Fla., included the following presentations: —“Digitalization–What does it look like in H2SO4?” by Hannes Storch of Outotec. —“MECS OTS Dynamic Process Simulator for Operator Training,” by Brian Lamb of DuPont MECS. —“Sulfuric Acid SO3 Dewpoint Measurement,” by Chetan Chothani of Breen Energy Solutions. —“Advanced Concentration Measurement of Sulfuric Acid,” by Sebastian Vreemann of SensoTech GmbH. —“Benefits of PIOX S in HR Systems,” by Brian Reynolds of FLEXIM Americas Corp. —“Product Strategies of Sensors,” by Chris Davis of ION247 Managed Services. An integral part of the conference is the Sulfuric Acid Workshop. This year’s 19th annual Sulfuric Acid Workshop, moderated by

James Byrd of Jacobs Engineering Group, left, receives the 2015-2016 Central Florida Chapter of the AIChE Engineer of the Year award from Bob Andrew during the chapter’s meeting in Clearwater, Fla.

Rick Davis of Davis & Associates, focused on current advances in process instrumentation as it applies to the sulfuric acid process and production. The session included presentations that were geared toward practicing engineers with various degrees of exposure to the sulfuric acid process, plant operation, and plant maintenance. The workshop aimed to assist engineers in evaluating the operation and the maintenance of their plants. Best practices and case studies were shared, allowing industry leaders to learn from each other on topics ranging from tank lining and converter startup to EPA regulations. Sulfuric Acid Workshop presenta-

tions included: —“Best Practices Utilizing FRP and Elastomeric Liners for Steel and Concrete Tanks,” by Michael P. Yee and Richard Taraborelli, PE, RTConsults PLLC. —“Recent Advances in Sodium Based Sulfuric Acid Tail Gas Emission Control,” by Leonard J. Friedman & Samantha J. Friedman, PhD, of Acid Engineering & Consulting. —“Upgrading a Sulphuric Acid Plant: Project Execution Strategy and Performance Evaluation,” by Andrés Mahecha-Botero, Brad Morrison, Brian Ferris, Hongtao Lu, J.P. Sandhu, C. Guy Cooper, and Nestor Chan of NORAM Engineering and Constructors Ltd. —“Understanding Dynamics and Emissions During Sulfuric Acid Converter Startup,” by Per A. Sørensen and Kurt A. Christensen of Haldor Topsøe. —“Keys to Successful Internal Gas-Gas Heat Exchanger Replacement, A Case Study,” by Jesse Huebsch, P. Eng.; Grant Harding, P. Eng.; and Jean-Philippe Hudon, EIT, of Chemetics and Bill Jones of Lucite. —“Stack Acid Mist—How Low Can You Go?” by Douglas Azwell, Steven Ziebold, and Evan Uchaker, PhD, of MECS. —“Control Systems Migrations in Phosphate Plants: A Road Map for Success,” by John O’Toole and Richard Brooks of Hatch.

This year’s sulfuric acid workshop delved into the topic of the advances in process control. Rick Davis, left, of Davis & Associates moderated the question and answer discussions for the panel of the presenters. Pictured are, from left, Brian Reynolds of FLEXIM Americas Corp., Sebastian Vreemann of SensoTech GmbH, Chetan Chothani of Breen Energy Solutions, Hannes Storch of Outotec, Brian Lamb of DuPont MECS, and Chris Davis of ION247 Managed Services.

—“Cost and Performance Benefits of Dual Laminate Pipe over Lined Steel,” by Kira Townsend of RPS Composites, Inc. The Clearwater conference is always about more than presentations and panel discussions, though. James Byrd of Jacobs Engineering was presented with the Engineer of the Year award for his contributions to the field. And all attendees enjoyed family-friendly hospitality suites each night, which afforded the chance to network, reconnect with old friends, and enjoy some great Florida cuisine. Dates for the 2017 conference have been set for June 9-10, 2017. For more information, visit the event’s website at www. aiche-cf.org. q

lessons learned: Case histories from the sulfuric acid industry By; Rick Davis, president of Davis & Associates Consulting Inc.

Packing size is important

A plant planned to repack an interpass absorption tower that was fouled with sulfate deposits. The repacking would reduce the pressure drop and return the tower to a clean plant condition. The original packing consisted of 3-inch ceramic saddles topped off with a 2-foot layer of 2-inch saddles. The plant ordered the required packing and a sub-contractor removed and installed the new packing. There was not enough packing purchased and an additional approximately eight inches of 2-inch saddles were required to bring the packing level to the proper level below the acid distributor troughs. Additional 2-inch saddles were not available in inventory, but 1-inch saddles were. The plant decided to use 1-inch saddles to get the plant on-line versus waiting an extra day for the delivery of new material. Shortly after the plant came back on-line, the performance of the tower was worse than before repacking the tower. When the tower was opened it was found that the 1-inch saddles were all broken and laying on components above the acid


distributor and in the distributor troughs. A quick review found that the 1-inch saddles had fluidized. There is a significant difference in the pressure drop across 2-inch packing versus 1-inch. The published packing factor of 2-inch saddles is 40 versus 98 for 1-inch saddles (145 percent higher). The 1-inch saddles were operating in the flooding zone and beyond to cause fluidization. The plant had to shut down again and repack the tower to remove the broken saddles. Saving one day cost another eight days’ additional downtime. Lesson learned: Do not change the original design without an engineering examination of the proposed changes. Rick Davis is a chemical engineer with over forty years of experience in the sulfuric acid industry and he provides a wide range of engineering services to the sulfuric acid industry with expertise in plant design, plant operations and legal advisement. For more information, please contact Rick Davis of Davis & Associates Consulting Inc., at (863) 646-7930 or rick@consultdac.com. q

Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016


Conference review

Acid community connects, shares at Australia conference

Amid the professionals attending last spring’s Australasia Sulfuric Acid Workshop was a strong sense of community. Participants in the event, which took place over four days last April at a Queensland resort, included plant personnel who produce sulfuric acid and suppliers who service the industry. The suppliers, who cosponsored the conference, are industry experts with a wealth of experience. They made it their business to share what they know. “The people in this industry have a strong sense of comradery,” said Kathy Hayward, conference coordinator and Sulfuric Acid Today publisher. “The cosponsors understand the challenges producing plants face, especially in a downturn market. And their attitude is ‘we’re in this together, how can I help?’” Their connectedness was particularly evident during panel discussions, where plant personnel together with cosponsor subject experts formed a panel to discuss a specific circumstance at the plant. The topic was presented and discussed, including answering audience questions, and in many instances cosponsor subject experts helped to untangle the complexities presented. “Often at conferences you have the experts talking ‘at’ you,” Hayward explained. “But the panels give the producing plants the chance to present their particular situation, and the industry expert can respond specifically to that. It makes the dialogue more meaningful and the whole experience more supportive.” There were seven panel discussions presented over the four days. The topics were: • Converters, including replacement, maintenance, catalyst screening and disposal. • Heat exchangers, including acid coolers shell and tube, plate, and gas-gas. • Acid towers, including packing, mist elimination, distributors, pressure drop, mist carryover, and replacement. • Acid resistant linings, bricks, mortars, and furnace refractory. • Process gas monitoring and analyzers. • Materials, including ductile iron, lined piping, anodic protected stainless steel, silicon SS piping, and alloys/pumps. • Hydrogen safety: issues and incident reviews. The workshop, held at The Ville ResortCasino in Townsville, also offered many relaxation opportunities for participants, who represented 11 producing plants and 19 cosponsor companies from around the world. One of these outings was a fishing tournament with prizes awarded for the most and largest caught. Another was an excursion to Magnetic Island, with dinner served under the stars. “This social time is so important,” said Hayward. “It helps participants recharge, but it also strengthens connections because it allows people to relate on a personal level, not just in PAGE 38

the meeting room.” Presentations addressing many topics relevant to the industry rounded out the conference agenda. These presentations were: • Keynote Address: “Global Acid Market: Changing Fundamentals,” by Fiona Boyd, Acuity Commodities. • “Sulfuric Acid X-Files–The Truth is Out There,” by Angus Yip, DuPont MECS Inc., and Darren Bridges, Specialized Engineering Services. • “Replacing an Internal Heat Exchanger– A Case Study,” by Michael Fenton, Chemetics. • “Handling Non-Steady State Conditions: Startups, Shutdowns and Fluctuating Gas Conditions–The Ultimate Catalyst Challenge?” by Allan Larsen, Haldor Topsøe, A/S. • “Reduce Costs by Better Utilization of Downtime,” by Jack Harris, VIP International. • “Performance Criteria for Optimizing Sulfur Gun Operation,” by Chuck Munro, Spraying Systems Co. • “Better Results with Improved Design Sulphur Filtration Process,” by Jan Hermans, Sulphurnet. • “Choosing the Right Drying Tower Mist Elimination Solution,” by Graeme Cousland, Begg Cousland Envirotec Ltd. • “Debottlenecking Metallurgical and Sulphur Burning Plants,” by Guy Cooper, NORAM Engineering & Constructors. • “Repairing Brick Lined Absorption Towers Using Injection Materials,” by Mark Martin, Koch Knight LLC. • “Complicated Acid Proof Brick Lined Repairs,” by Roland Günther and Iain Bennett, Steuler-KCH. • “Non-invasive Measurement of Process Parameters and Impact on Big Data Analysis,” by Jörg Wylamrzy, Flexim GmbH and Jan Albrecht of Outotec. • “Shell & Tube Strong Sulphuric Acid Coolers,” by Anders Ohlin, Outotec (Sweden) AB. New to this year’s workshop agenda was an opportunity to participate in a plant tour. Upon the completion of the meeting, participants loaded a coach and headed just 10 miles away to Sun Metals Corp.’s zinc metal processing facility. The bus toured the entire complex and participants were able to ask guide, Lance Moody of Sun Metals Corp., questions throughout the tour. Kathy Hayward and cosponsoring acid industry suppliers host the Australasia workshop in even years with producer plant participation subsidized by the cosponsors. Hayward and cosponsoring companies also host the Sulfuric Acid Roundtable conference in odd years. Next year’s roundtable will be April 3-6, 2017 at the Woodlands Resort and Conference Center in Houston, TX. For more information, visit www.acidroundtable.com. q

Sulfuric acid industry professionals from around the world converged in Townsville, Queensland for 3 days of insightful presentations and networking.

Fiona Boyd of Acuity Commodities kicked off the meeting with her keynote presentation on the global acid market and its changing fundamentals.

The workshop consisted of several informative co-sponsor presentations. Mark Martin of Koch Knight LLC shared information regarding the repairing of a brick-lined absorption tower using injection materials.

Andrew Brown of Incitec Pivot shared his facility’s recent successful experience with catalyst screening and reloading during a maintenance panel discussion at the workshop.

Participants at this year’s workshop were given an opportunity to reel in some cash during a fishing tournament. Ian Ellis of Metz Specialty Materials displays his prize-winning queenfish.

Marcus Fox of Nyrstar Hobart, left, receives information from Guy Cooper of NORAM Engineering & Constructors during the workshop’s exhibition time.

New to this year’s workshop agenda was an opportunity to participate in a bus plant tour. The group toured Sun Metals Corp.’s zinc metal processing facility — just 10 miles from the meeting.

The workshop consisted of several panel discussions that were chaired by both cosponsors and producers. Chairing the heat exchanger discussion, are, from left, Mike Fenton of Chemetics, Feryl Masters of Feryl Inc., Brad Varnum of CMW, Trevor Morrell of Nyrstar Port Pirie, and John Woodhead of Specialized Engineering Services. Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016

Last year, International Polymer Solutions Inc. (IPS) introduced its new line of PTFE chemical injection control valves, which are constructed from two IPS building blocks: an IPS PTFE pressure regulator and an IPS PTFE ball valve. After repeated requests from wet chemical process clients asking for a reliable solution for low-flow chemical injection (“dosing”) of harsh chemicals, IPS married a custom PTFE pressure regulator and custom PTFE ball valve to create this single unit with quarter-turn automatic actuation. Ensuring best-in-class performance, the core valve design utilizes polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) material for all wetted surfaces. PTFE takes advantage of a strong polar covalent bond between two elements: carbon (C) and fluorine (F).

PTFE is a high molecular weight thermoplastic that is polymerized purely from carbon and fluorine. The exceptionally strong C-F bond gives PTFE its high melting point, chemical inertness and hydrophobic nature. The control element, a modified PTFE taperedorifice ball, can reliably handle a wide range of classic dosing chemicals and offers precision performance under extreme conditions. The all-wetted PTFE design is ideally suited for chemical wet process in water, wastewater, semiconductor, pharmaceutical, life science, and general chemical handling applications. The PTFE construction guarantees best-in-class inert characteristics for high-purity applications and exceptional chemical resistant behavior for corrosive applications. Frequently, chemicals

IPS Regulated Actuated Ball Valve.

for injection and dosing are dispensed from fixed tanks or vessels. As the chemistry is consumed, the line-feed pressure decreases. Large changes in inlet pressure can affect an injection or dosing control valve. The

new IPS unit integrates a PTFE pressure regulator directly coupled with a quarter-turn ball valve. The regulating pressure is set for the minimum line pressure required through the ball valve when fully

open to deliver the target maximum flow rate. This helps solve chemical dosing problems for fluoride, chlorine, chlorine dioxide, ammonia, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, peracetic acid, and any number of other processinjection chemistries. The valve system self-regulates and controls the flow rate to gallons per hour (GPH) of dosing levels. Supporting a large wet process audience requires both on/off and continuous control options. It is common for a dosing application to require as little as 2 GPH of chemistry flow to maintain a small 1 ppm presence in a large process bath or tank. Some facilities monitor their chemistry on an incremental clock basis, say hourly, and trigger a dosing cycle to rebalance their pH or chemistry, while other facilities will continuously monitor their wet


Solving corrosion challenges with IPS PTFE chemical injection control valves

process with inline sensors and PLC controllers, which sample both upstream and downstream data from the wet process. The differential sensor measurements processed through a PLC controller will signal a control position for the dosing valve. For a continuous control duty cycle, a 4-to-20ma electromechanical PTFE chemical injection control valve would be deployed. The unit can inject from zero to 100 GPH of the dosing chemical within a few milliseconds of the command signal. For further information on this type of IPS PTFE control valve or any other high purity fluid handling products that IPS manufactures, please visit www. ipolymer.com or contact IPS Customer Service at info@ ipolymer.com q

In Memory of Eugene “Skippy” Waters Jr. The industry is deeply saddened by the love for Cathy was unmistakable,” Robinson passing of Eugene “Skippy” Waters, Jr., of said. “They would attend plays together and New Bern, NC, on April 8, 2016, at the age volunteer together.” They were both fond of of 67. Skippy was known for his dedication roller skating, and even went to work together—in a manner of speaking. “Skippy was to work with 37 years at PCS Phosphate Co. often sent to manufacturers’ Inc. He had an abiding pasfacilities to inspect equipment sion for family and his wife, being fabricated,” said Feryl Catherine Narron Waters. He Masters, consultant, Feryl Inc. also had a deep commitment “And because he hated to fly, to the community, especially he and Cathy would climb the Special Olympics, where into the company truck and he served as a volunteer. head off to Florida, Louisiana, “Skippy was an exor wherever, to inspect.” tremely dedicated employee,” Eugene “Skippy” Waters Coworkers also resaid John D. Robinson, su1949 - 2016 marked on his kindness. perintendent–special projects, “Once during a tower issue PCS Phosphate Co. Inc. “He at PCS Phosphate Aurora over Christmas would do whatever necessary to get a job time,” Masters said, “Skippy and Cathy done with safety, productivity, and long term brought Christmas dinner out to the plant reliability.” and fed the workers—tablecloths and ev With 37 years of experience in the erything.” But the Special Olympics held a industry, he was also a well sought after respecial place in Skippy’s heart. He dedicated source. “Skippy was the go-to individual for many volunteer hours to the event. “It was all things related to sulfuric acid plants,” said a true passion,” Robinson said. “You knew Kevin Bryan, vice president, business develSkippy would not be at work when the Speopment at PCS. “He was the guy everyone cial Olympics were being held,” said Maswent to.” And he shared his knowledge readters. “He and Cathy worked every year to ily, attending many iterations of the Sulfuric help put on a great event. Skippy loved to tell Acid Roundtable where he became a feastories about the athletes.” tured presenter. “We are all going to miss having Skip Anyone who knew him knew of his adpy around,” said Bryan. q oration for Cathy, his wife of 33 years. “His

Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016

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Faces & Places Enjoying the welcome reception at the 2016 Australasia Sulfuric Acid Workshop in Townsville, Queensland are, from left, Rene Dijkstra of Chemetics, Brad Varnum of Central Maintenance & Welding, Jayson Daldy of Outotec, and Mike Fenton of Chemetics. Attendees at the 2016 Australasia Sulfuric Acid Workshop enjoyed participating in a Casino Night held in conjunction with the meeting in Townsville, Queensland.

Enjoying the Florida sunshine during the 2016 AIChE Central Florida Chapter Convention are, from left, Corey Muller of Outotec, Patrick Vaesen of Benvitec Environment, and Graeme Cousland of Begg Cousland Envirotec Ltd.

Joerg Wylamrzy of FLEXIM presented an informative paper on the non-invasive measurement of process parameters and their impact on big data analysis at the 2016 Australasia Sulfuric Acid Workshop in Townsville, Queensland.

Cruising to Magnetic Island at the 2016 Australasia Sulfuric Acid Workshop are, from left, Darren Bridges of Specialized Engineering Service, Terry Hocking of Minara Resources, and Fiona Boyd of Acuity Commodities.

Muhamad Syafiq Bin Shamsuddin of Taiko Bleaching Earth, left, approves of the beautiful scenery on the way to Magnetic Island with Angus Yip of DuPont MECS during the 2016 Australasia Sulfuric Acid Workshop in Townsville, Queensland.

Doug Azwell of DuPont MECS, left, Bill Jones of Lucite, center, and Aaron Hanewinkel of DuPont MECS, right, enjoy catching up with one another at the 2016 AIChE Central Florida Chapter Convention in Florida. Haldor Topsøe hosted a dinner in conjunction with the 2016 AIChE Central Florida Chapter Convention at the beautiful Don CeSar resort in St. Petersburg, Fla. Pictured are, from left side, Sherie Wittie, Scott Doty of Mosaic Co., Kathy Hayward of Sulfuric Acid Today, Patrick Polk of Haldor Topsøe, Allyn Cottemond of Chemtrade Logistics, and Shari Cottemond. From the right side, Mike Wittie of Martin Resources, Lian Blackwelder of Mosaic Co., Nolan Blackwelder, Per Sorensen of Haldor Topsøe, Bill Goodall of Haldor Topsøe and Emily Flieger. 

George Wang of AcidTech, right, chaired the discussion regarding gas process monitoring and analyzers along with Jan Albrecht of Outotec, left, and Joerg Wylamrzy of Flexim at the 2016 Australasia Sulfuric Acid Workshop in Townsville, Queensland.

Networking in the Chemetics hospitality suite, held in conjunction with the 2016 AIChE Central Florida Chapter Convention in Clearwater, Fla., are, from left, Greg Wilkinson, Ian Legg, and John Varnum of Central Maintenance & Welding, and Robert Maciel of Chemetics.

Faces & Places

Singing a crowd favorite, ‘You Don’t Have to Call Me Darlin,’ in DuPont MECS’ hospitality suite at the 2016 AIChE Central Florida Chapter Convention are, from left, Darwin Passman of VIP International, Howard Tenney of H.A. Tenney & Co., John Horne of DuPont MECS, Stan Miller of VIP International, John Robinson of PCS Phosphate, and Jack Harris of VIP International.

Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps hosted a dinner at Crabby Bill’s during the 2016 AIChE Central Florida Chapter Convention in Clearwater, Fla. Enjoying dinner are, from left, Jeff Cline of Mid-State Machine and Fabrication Corp., and Frans Kodeda, Collin Bartlett, and Hannes Storch of Outotec.

Exchange of information was one of the key components of the 2016 Australasia Sulfuric Acid Workshop in Townsville, Queensland. Jan Hermans of Sulphurnet, left, shares his knowledge of sulfur filtering with some members of Incitec Pivot’s team. Pictured, from left, are Andrew Brown, Kobus Kirsten, and Gerrie DuPlessis.

Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps hosts an annual family dinner at Crabby Bill’s during the 2016 AIChE Central Florida Chapter Convention in Clearwater, Fla. Pictured are, from left, Randy Stanfill and Mick Cooke of Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps.

Craig Brown of Minara Resources, left, JS Jang of Sun Metals Corp., and Allan Godsk Larsen of Haldor Topsøe enjoy the cruise across to Magnetic Island during the 2016 Australasia Sulfuric Acid Workshop in Townsville, Queensland.

Hosting Kimre’s hospitality suite at the 2016 AIChE Central Florida Chapter Convention in Clearwater, Fla. are, from left, Linda Kravitz, Stephanie Gornail, and Ed Fowler.

Mark Martin of Koch Knight LLC, left, networks with Gerrie DuPlessis, second from left, Glenn Poynter, and Ross Kealy of Incitec Pivot at the welcome reception of the 2016 Australasia Sulfuric Acid Workshop in Townsville, Queensland.

Roland Günther of STEULER-KCH GmbH explained his company’s experience with complicated acid-proof, brick lined repairs at the 2016 Australasia Sulfuric Acid Workshop in Townsville, Queensland. Members of Spraying System Co. enjoyed the festivities of the welcome reception at the 2016 Australasia Sulfuric Acid Workshop in Townsville, Queensland. Pictured are, from left, Michael McCulloch, Chuck Munro, and Christy Hofherr.

Becky and Jack Harris of VIP International, left, enjoyed the Koch Knight LLC hospitality suite with Staci and Matt Thayer of Koch Knight LLC at the 2016 AIChE Central Florida Chapter Convention in Clearwater, Fla.

Margie and Skip Unger of Acid Piping Technology relax at the DuPont MECS hospitality suite during the 2016 AIChE Central Florida Chapter Convention in Clearwater, Fla.


calendar of events Phosphates 2017 slated for Tampa

LONDON—Phosphates 2017 will bring together experts and decision makers from the key players within the fertilizer, industrial, and feed phosphate industries to meet and debate the issues and dynamics that shape the global markets. Now firmly established as the premier annual event for the global phosphate industry, the 10th Phosphates International Conference and Exhibition will be held in Tampa, Fla., March 13-15. Phosphates 2017 will provide delegates with key insights and indepth market information about phosphate raw materials, intermediates, and finished products in addition to highlighting those technologies and processes that maximize operational efficiency. The conference is the ideal forum for senior decision makers from commercial and operational segments of the phosphates value chain to understand the specific market and technology factors that will influence the industry in 2017 and beyond. For more information, please visit the event’s website: www.crugroup.com/ events/phosphates/

Sulfuric Acid Today to host 2017 Sulfuric Acid Roundtable in Houston

DuPont Best Practices Workshop 2017 opens for registration

COVINGTON, La.—Plans are underway for Sulfuric Acid Today magazine’s bi-annual Sulfuric Acid Roundtable. The 2017 event will take place April 3-6 at The Woodlands Resort in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas. The 2015 Workshop attracted more than 180 participants from around the world, and 2017 is shaping up to be an even bigger event. As in years past, sulfuric acid insiders will gather to attend presentations given by event co-sponsors on a variety of topics relevant to the industry. Panel discussions and cosponsor booths will provide more opportunities for information sharing, while social events will ensure that participants get to enjoy the beautiful area while building relationships that promote beneficial business exchanges in the future. For more information, please email Kathy Hayward at kathy@ h2so4today.com, or visit the event’s website: www.acidroundtable.com.

Wilmington, Del.–The DuPont 2017 Best Practices Workshop (BPW), to be held in Ojai, Calif., from May 1-4, marks the event’s 30th anniversary, attracting new and returning participants every year. Designed to address all aspects of sulfuric acid alkylation, the 2017 workshop will examine topics from regulatory challenges to today’s market conditions, and alkylation chemistry to equipment reliability and inspection. New in 2017 is an Operations Roundtable session in which operators will have the opportunity to discuss specific troubleshooting scenarios. Discussions in this new session will focus on how to identify a unit upset, how to respond and where to look for root causes. The workshop further covers topics including technology configuration and selection, technical design considerations, operations, and maintenance, as well as technology troubleshooting and performance optimization. Led by STRATCO® subject matter experts, this work-

shop is ideally suited to technology specialists, engineering supervisors, engineers, and operations personnel. For more information and to register, visit www.dupontbpw.com.

SAIMM 6th Sulphur & Sulphuric Acid 2017 Conference

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa—The production of SO2 and sulfuric acid remains a pertinent topic in the Southern African mining, minerals, and metallurgical industry. In light of the current state of the industry and the global metal commodity prices, the optimization of sulfuric acid plants, new technologies, and recapture and recycle of streams is even more of a priority. The 2017 Sulphuric Acid Conference will create an opportunity to be exposed to industry thought leaders and peers, international suppliers, other producers, and experts. The conference, hosted by the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, focuses on the production, utilization, and conversion of sulfur and sulfuric acid as well as SO2 abatement in metallurgical and other processes. It will be


Sulfuric Acid


April 3-6, 2017 Woodlands Resort The Woodlands, TX

held May 9-12, 2017, in Cape Town. For more information, please email Camielah Jardine at camielah@saimm.co.za or visit the event’s website at www. saimm.co.za.

AIChE Clearwater Conference set for June

CLEARWATER, Fla.—Each year, members of the AIChE Central Florida Section and colleagues from all over the world gather at Clearwater Beach to share ideas concerning chemical process technology, specifically the production of phosphoric acid, phosphate fertilizers, and sulfuric acid. The Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater will once again be the site for this anticipated event, scheduled for June 9-10, 2017. As always, the convention also provides a relaxing getaway with friends and family, good food, and a lot of fun. Social and networking events are planned during the event, with a little something for everyone. For more information, please visit www.aiche-cf.org. q

The Sulfur 2017 Roundic Acid table will

offer : — Keyno te Addre ss Globa l Sulfuric on the Acid Mark — Produ cin et Discus g Plant Panel sions & Presenta — New T tions ech — Safety nology Develop ments Issues & Incident Reviews

(Houston) Sponsored By:

Sulfuric Acid T





Industry’s Premier Event for Networking & Sharing Best Practices™ Register On-Line Today! www.acidroundtable.com PAGE 42

Sulfuric Acid Today • Fall/Winter 2016

Complete Turn-Key Corrosion Protection For Sulphuric Acid Koch Knight provides a complete suite of value-adding products and services needed for sulfuric acid plant towers. Whether you require a complete tower design and supply package, lining repairs or ceramic packing; Koch Knight can help. This can include vessel shells and components of carbon steel, alloy, plastics, FRP and dual laminate materials. We also supply and install tower internals from your preferred technology suppliers as well.

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Structured Packing Efficiency FLEXERAMIC® Structured Tower Packing provides plant operators increased absorption efficiency, increased capacity, lower pressure drop and often significantly lower energy costs of operation. This means retrofitting existing packed units with FLEXERAMIC® Structured Tower Packing will improve profitability.

Injection Tower Repair Koch Knight’s proprietary EPOXIGARD™ HC Injection system provides for fast repair of leaking towers and pump tanks without vessel entry. Our Injection Repair System is a proven success in multiple installations.

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LEWIS® PUMPS Vertical Chemical Pumps The world standard for vertical pumps and services to the sulphur chemicals industry Lewis® Pumps comprehensive product line includes: Sulphuric Acid Pumps Molten Sulphur Pumps Axial Flow Phosphoric Acid Pumps Molten Salt Pumps Sulphuric Acid Valves • Butterfly Valves • Gate Valves • Globe Valves Lewmet® Specialty Items • Dilution Pipes • Orifice Plates • Strainers Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps is known internationally in the sulphur, sulphuric acid and phosphoric acid industries with equipment installed in more than 120 countries worldwide. Founded in 1891 as Chas. S. Lewis & Co., Inc., today Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps is the recognized world leader for pumps and valves in these difficult pumping applications.

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Profile for Sulfuric Acid Today

Fall/Winter 2016  

Fall/Winter 2016