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A novel process for zero emission detergent production

Powder detergent production includes energy intensive processes in terms of thermal and electrical energy consumption. In this project, we will develop a pioneering process to valorise all contents of exhaust gas into value added resources, which will bring "zero emission concept" into reality.

Powder detergent production is very energy intense since it requires extensive amounts of thermal and electrical energy for spray drying process and steam production in boilers. In this project, all contents of exhaust gases will be utilized in beneficial ways. Water vapor, CO2, and N2 will be turned into value added products such as hot water, sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3, sodium bicarb or baking soda), and free source of 90% pure nitrogen source, respectively. By utilizing resource efficient and cutting-edge chemical processing technologies, the overall efficiency of detergent production and low oxygen level storage facilities will be considerably improved while decreasing the total environmental impact of the entire production campus. The chemical content of exhaust gases creates huge environmental concerns in many industries, even in the field of FMCG production such as detergent and tissue paper. There is a huge societal and governmental pressure in order to reduce these adverse effects, especially in terms of fresh water consumption and green house gas emissions. Therefore, this project will aim at developing a new processing technology to completely eliminate CO2 emissions of powder detergent manufacturing plants by using a sustainable approach. It will initially be designed at a pilot level, which can handle 1000 ton per year (TPY) CO2 emissions, for demonstration purposes, but with a potential to be scaled up to commercial levels (50-100k TP7 CO2 emissions). This will be accomplished by means of a series of processes to utilize H2O, CO2, and N2 content of exhaust in different sections of a detergent plant. Moreover, it will be built on a mobile skeleton so as to be easily moved back and forth between different areas within the detergent plant. In this way, various trials will be performed by using different sources of CO2 emissions from boilers, cogeneration plants, spray dryer exhaust, etc. First of all, the water content of exhaust will be recovered in a scrubber system and recycled back to the detergent production process. Alternatively, the recovered hot water can also be utilized in paper production process where it will improve the efficiency of mechanical dewatering (water viscosity increases at elevated temperatures), which means less water consumption in the paper mill. In the second step, nitrogen and carbon dioxide will be separated from each other in a selective polymeric membrane followed by pumping the recovered nitrogen gas into the main warehouse featuring a state of the art fire prevention system. In this area, O2 level is precisely kept below 15% by nitrogen generators using molecular sieve technology. In our proposed idea, nitrogen generators will not be necessary as there will be constant supply of high concentration of nitrogen gas at 30-40 C. In the last step, sodium bicarb will be obtained by treating the CO2 stream with soda ash (sodium carbonate or Na2CO3) solution in a novel reactor called “Downflow Gas Contact Reactor”. This reactor will completely convert the CO2 gas stream into a valuable detergent raw material. In this part, stoichiometrically equivalent amounts (in moles) of water and soda ash (or caustic soda) will be consumed as raw materials. This is not a problem though; sodium bicarb is much more valuable compared to soda ash on the market. In summary, a new approach for a total CO2 elimination process will be developed that has potential to valorize the green house emissions in detergent (and perhaps tissue paper) production into useful raw materials that can be utilized at the factory level in a continuous manner. In this way, both processes will almost completely eliminate their environmental impact regarding CO2 and NOx emissions while water consumption will be reduced significantly, too. Hence, “zero-emission concept” will be proven to be economically feasible at a pilot level, but likely to be followed by a commercial scale process, which will set a good example to the policy makers throughout the world. Considering the fact that this project requires the cooperation of international companies with different expertise and capabilities (i) water and thermal energy recovery, ii) selective membrane, iii) CO2 conversion reaction, and iv) sodium bicarb enriched detergent formulations) in eco-innovation area, we believe that it fits the requirements of European collaborative R&D support programs such as EUREKA.
Acronym: 
PROMISS
Project ID: 
8 675
Start date: 
01-10-2013
Project Duration: 
24months
Project costs: 
1 500 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Recycling, Recovery
Market Area: 
Chemical and solid material recycling

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.