Mar 21, 2008
New sulphuric acid plant under considerationBack
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The company’s existing sulphuric acid manufacturing plant, based in Durban and operating since 1974, produces steam which is sold to a wider factory complex for energy generation. It is envisioned that the new facility will function in a similar way.
Sackett says that demand for sulphuric acid is increasing worldwide but that levels of supply are not catching up, owing to developments, such as uranium-mining, that consume large quantities of sulphuric acid.
Sackett attributes this to increased demand for fertilisers from China, for agricultural activities. Biofuels are also increasing the need for fertilisers for growing crops and an increase in base metals projects, such as nickel, zinc and copper cobalt in Australia, and in Africa, are also contributing to increased sulphur demand.
Chemical Initiatives supplies predominantly sulphur-based chemicals, as well as chemicals such as ammonia and nitric acid, and speciality chemicals, such as quick lime and solvents.
Sulphur, obtained essentially from crude oil, is mainly supplied by Canada, the Middle East and Russia, owing to large oil and gas reserves.
Sulphur and sulphuric acid are the building blocks for fertiliser manu- facture. The company supplies chemicals for water treatment, paper processes, car batteries, paints, leather tanning, mining operations and pigments, besides others.
The company sells concentrated sulphuric acid, which is less corrosive to metal containers and tankers than weaker concentrations of 91% and lower. Sackett says that sulphuric acid can be recycled by its application in other chemical processes. The company obtains its raw materials from the Middle East, as well as from Engen, Sapref and Chevron oil refiners in South Africa.
Chemical Initiatives’ production centre, Umbogintwini, is configured to produce sulphur trioxide, sulphur dioxide and oleum, and has a nameplate capacity of 500 t/d of sul- phuric acid. The existing plant is a double absorption, four-pass convertor plant, and a Dynawave scrubber was retrofitted in the plant to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions.
The company’s empowerment subsidiary, Metswako Chemicals, operates in Botswana, and offers chemical services to Botswana’s mines, industries and municipalities.
Edited by: Esmarie Swanepoel© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
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