HCL System Exceeds Current Regulations

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Chemron manufactures high-quality specialty chemicals and surfactants for personal care products, industrial, institutional, oil field, mining, coatings, lubricants and water treatment. Some of the operations result in the creation of hydrochloric acid with high variable rates.

As expressed by Bill Frost, of Chemron: “Chemronmaintains a strong environmental commitment, which views regulations as a challenge rather than a burden.  It’s important for the chemical industry to go beyond today’s specific control regulations, and to look ahead, not only to where the regulations will be in a few years, but where we should be.”

He believes that complex problems should be considered long-range, thereby providing time to make orderly adjustments to process and treatment methods. Compliance then becomes part of the process rather than an externally-imposed hardship.

Seeking a profitable solution
Design criteria for the sought-after emission-control system included variable flow rates from 60-240 scfm, with various concentrations of hydrochloric acid and inert gases. Gas stream temperature runs about 110 F. Specifications for the control system, as provided to 5 companies, included 2 criteria considered to be essential. A very low emission level (5 ppm) had to be achieved, and hydrochloric acid had to be collected in salable form (concentrations of 31.5 to 32%).

The system purchased by Chemron uses 2 jet venturi scrubbers in series to intimately mix the airstream and scrubbing liquid, followed by 2 packed towers to remove residual hydrochloric acid. Height limitations required the use of two shorter towers rather than a single tall tower. Jet venturi fume scrubbers were selected because they can handle load fluctuations very well, and the 2 units in series can recover more than 98% of the hydrochloric acid. The venturis also
provide back-up for each other, increasing the safety factors involved. The units are nonmetallic for corrosion resistance, with fiberglass-reinforced plastic bodies and PVC spinners.

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