Inco begins commissioning of new SO2 emission control technology
Inco has begun commissioning a new, state-of-the-art $115-million facility which the company says will reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from its Sudbury, Ont operations by 34%. Using unique fluid bed roaster (FBR) off-gas scrubbing technology, the FBR SO2 abatement project will lower allowable emissions from the current regulatory limit of 265 kilotonnes to 175 kilotonnes annually.
The project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2006, but could be fully operational by early fall if the ramp-up process for the facility proceeds smoothly. Fluid bed roasting is part of the smelting process where nickel sulfide is roasted to make nickel oxide feed for carbonyl refining.
The FBR SO2 abatement project involved three main components:
* construction of a gas-cleaning facility adjacent to the existing FBR plant at the smelter;
* expansion of the existing acid plant to handle clean SO2 from the new gas-scrubbing facility; and
* construction of a weak acid treatment plant at the Copper Cliff mill filter plant to replace the current flash furnace slime system and allow for treatment of metals scrubbed by the gas-cleaning facility.
"This project continues a steady decline in SO2 emission levels at Inco's Ontario operations since 1970," said Inco chairman and CEO Scott Hand. "We are committed to doing even more to improve our environmental performance, and continuing to invest in new and innovative solutions to reach our goal of a 75% reduction from current emission limits by 2015." Since the Ontario government introduced the Countdown Acid Rain Program in 1986, Inco has spent close to $1 billion to reduce SO2 emissions at its Sudbury operations. The company has set a goal of cutting SO2 emissions to 66 kilotonnes by 2015.
The FBR project has the added benefit of decreasing total metal emissions of nickel, copper, arsenic and lead by 80 to 100 tonnes per year. With this latest improvement, Inco will have cut total metal emissions at its Copper Cliff smelter by 80% over 1988 levels, and reduced overall SO2 emissions by 90% since 1970.