Project Synopsis

Feasibility study to identify a commercially-viable method for regenerating sodium hydroxide and sulfuric acid raw materials from sodium sulfate byproduct.

Project Summary

CHEMICAL PRODUCTION FACILITY ACID/CAUSTIC REGENERATION FEASIBILITY STUDY

The client owns and operates a batch chemical production facility that employs a process that produces significant amounts of byproduct sodium sulfate.  The client had been trying for years to identify a commercially-viable method for regenerating sodium hydroxide and sulfuric acid raw materials from the sodium sulfate.  The plant management decided to hire a third-party process engineering company to perform an independent investigation to identify such a process or to confirm the client’s findings that no commercially-viable process exists.  Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the plant to execute this feasibility study.

Based on literature research using both in-house and public library/database resources, PROCESS identified the following technologies that had been demonstrated on at least a bench scale for regenerating the acid and caustic from sodium sulfate:

  • Chemical reaction
  • Ion exchange
  • Electrolytic production
  • Membrane production.

PROCESS determined that the only process that had ever come close to commercialization was the electrolytic process.  PROCESS performed order-of-magnitude cost estimates for commercial-scale production of the acid/caustic using the electrolytic process.  Based on the costs, it was tentatively concluded that production of the acid/caustic using the electrolytic process was not feasible.  In addition, there were technical uncertainties associated with the process due to inert compounds that would likely be part of the sodium sulfate feed stream.  These conclusions were consistent with those previously reached by the client.

Industry Type

  • Batch Chemicals

Utilized Skills

  • Technologies evaluation
  • Cost estimating
  • Front End Engineering Design Study (FEED Study)

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