Keywords: sulphuric acid, vitriol process, nitrous process, contact process, IPPC, BREF.
The paper gives a comprehensive overview about the history of the manufacturing of sulphuric acid from ancient times, through the middle ages and up to today’s technology. It shows the different ways of manufacturing sulphuric acid over the times such as the vitriol method with the early developments and the apparatus used from the time of the alchemists to the first industrial production. This nitrous technology gave a real boost to the industrial production of sulphuric acid until the last decades of the 20th century and the contact processes which now allow production capacities of up to 6,000 tpd sulphuric acid monohydrate (Mh), output capacities that no former technologies were capable of producing.
The different ways of production are described, showing the reasons for, and the historical backgrounds of, the technologies and why today the contact process is the method of choice.
The actual focus of development of the technology presents the reason for the disappearance of the historic methods.
The second part is the description of the present state of the art technology and its features, particularly in the light of best available technology (BAT) and the embedding in the BREF of IPPC. It gives an overview of technologies that could be used for the different sources of sulphur available for the production of sulphuric acid.
Materials and equipment used for the processes is shown and explained.
Finally the paper provides an outlook and a guideline for acid producers to be prepared for future requirements and constraints. Particularly the fields of energy recovery and environmental outlook are described.
Axel Schulze, Hugo Petersen GmbH, D-65203 Wiesbaden, Germany.
40 pages, 12 plates, 14 figures, 6 tables, 27 references.