Chemical Switch Cuts Costs, Improves Safety

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Courtesy of Bionomic Industries Inc.

By replacing the sodium sulfide chemistry used in its nitrogen oxide (NOx) scrubber with a non-hazardous NOx control chemistry, ChemResearch Co. Inc. (CRC; Phoenix, AZ) reduced its operating costs and eliminated a health and safety hazard.

The BIONOxSOLVER™ chemistry, developed by Bionomic Industries Inc. (Mahwah, NJ), provides CRC with a safe, easy-to-handle, high-efficiency NOx scrubbing solution that eliminates the production of toxic and odoriferous hydrogen sulfide gas.

Since 1998, CRC had used sodium sulfide chemistry in the NOx scrubber at the end of its dedicated aluminum precleaning process. Used to prepare a cast aluminum cylinder for a small engine for hard chromium plating, the automated line cleans and etches the parts using various cleaner and acid baths. The acid baths contain nitric/water or straight nitric/hydrofluoric mixtures. Each load of parts has about 450 sq ft of surface area, with one load processed every seven to eight minutes, sometimes around the clock. When the parts come out of the acid baths, a large volume of NOx is released.

Captured by a ventilation system, the acid fumes are taken to a dedicated 10,000-cfm vertical packed-bed NOx scrubber. “A number of factors led us to begin looking for a less labor intensive and less hazardous alternative to the sodium sulfide chemistry,” explains CRC Director of Regulatory Affairs and Facility Development David Weed. “Making up that sodium sulfide tank was time-consuming and generated potentially hazardous vapors. Since the chemistry was potentially subject to annual regulatory reporting requirements, we were required to perform and maintain time-consuming record keeping.”

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