Downstream sulfuric acid plants benefit from WESP technology

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Courtesy of Beltran Technologies, Inc.

Industrial-grade sulfuric acid, still the most widely used industrial chemical in the world, continues to be sourced primarily (about 70 percent) as a nondiscretionary byproduct from the roasting, smelting, and refining of nonferrous metals. The rest comes from natural gas processing, electric power generation, and spent acid regeneration. These industries are usually heavy emitters of particulates, sulfur and nitrogen oxide gases, and sulfuric acid mists, among other pollutants. They are also subject to increasingly strict environmental regulations.

Beltran’s proven WESP technology, employed at Hindustan Zinc’s sulfuric acid plant in India captures submicron particulates from gaseous emissions with up to 99.9 percent efficiency.

When concentrations of sulfur dioxide from these operations exceed five to seven percent of exhaust-gas volumes, a common and cost-effective solution is the incorporation of a downstream sulfuric acid manufacturing plant. Owners of these facilities can capitalize on the high industrial market value of purified sulfuric acid, while achieving greater operating efficiencies and easier regulatory compliance.

However, cost-effective sulfuric acid manufacturing requires the maximum possible removal of fine particulates and other impurities from input gas streams to protect catalyst beds and other components, and to prevent the formation of “black” or contaminated acid. The one technology that is becoming almost universally specified for this purpose is the Wet Electrostatic Precipitator (WESP).

For engineers and plant designers in the field of gas cleaning, several operational goals stand out:

  • achieving the highest level of particle collection efficiency.
  • cleaning greater volumes of source gases, with faster throughput speeds.
  • achieving the greatest reductions in costs related to capital investment, operating cost, energy consumption, equipment maintenance, and long-term equipment replacement.

To help sulfuric acid plants and other industries achieve these goals, the engineering staff at Beltran Technologies, Inc., in New York have continuously improved the basic WESP design by researching and engineering a specific type of advanced, innovative WESP technology which offers proven superior performance and efficiency: the Beltran Wet Electrostatic Precipitator.

WESP systems can vary greatly in design, materials, gas flow rates, and durability, as well as collection efficiency. It is therefore important for engineers to recognize the key differences among these various systems. A well operated WESP can clean complex gaseous emissions of particulates and acid mists down to submicron scale (PM 2.5) with up to 99.9 percent efficiency, and very low energy drain—far superior to other equipment.