GE’S RO technology helps Cia Nitro Química reduce natural gas
consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and the
generation of wastewater
With 19 million
inhabitants, the metropolitan region of
To conserve water and
reduce the emission of effluents, and other environmental pollutants,
many local factories are installing more environmentally friendly
systems, the decrease the consumption by these industrial units, in
addition to reducing the emission of contaminants.
Cia Nitro Química Brasileira is one such example, having reduced
natural gas consumption by 45% and consequently, reducing the emission
of gases and the discharge of effluents from the boilers by 90%. As one
of the leading chemical industries, the plant produces 328 thousand
tons/year of nitrocellulose, fluorhydric acid, aluminum fluoride and
sulphuric acid utilized in a wide variety of sectors, including the
manufacture of varnishes and lacquers, aluminum, herbicides,
fertilizers, as well as the chemical, steel, petroleum, alcohol fuel,
paper and cellulose industries.
production process demands a significant volume of high purity
demineralized water, to generate steam. In order to reduce water
consumption and reduce the emission of effluents, the plant opted for
the installation of a system of demineralization through the reverse
osmosis technology of GE Water & Process Technologies.
The factory workers
noticed that the water softening process that was being utilized did not
produce water of sufficient quality to refill the boilers. The formation
of scale and incrustations considerably reduced the thermal exchange and
consequently, the efficiency of the boilers, significantly elevating the
consumption of energy. The cost of maintenance was very significant and
compromised the availability and reliability of our systems. In order to
minimize these problems, regular emptying and bleeding off of discharge
water in the boilers was necessary, which caused an increase in the
consumption of water and effluents, greater consumption of fuel,
chemical products, etc. The problem was aggravated with the installation
of the compact boiler, with a greater vaporization charge.
difficulties, together with the company’s desire to reduce natural gas
and water consumption, led to the plant opting for improvement of its
steam generation system with the installation of a system of reverse
osmosis (RO) from GE Water & Process Technologies and new
“We chose the RO
system from GE because of the company’s excellent reputation,
competitive financial proposal, and a guarantee that it would meet our
strict performance standards”, affirmed Rosan Coutinho, energy
department manager, who is responsible for the distribution of utilities
and plant production of sulphuric acid.
RO is a mechanical
process involving the reversal of flow through a semi-permeable membrane
from a solution with a high concentration of mineral to the high purity
or “permeated” stream, on the opposite side of the membrane. The
driving force for the separation is pressure.
With regard to the high
purity water produced by the reverse osmosis system in GE, the effluents
from boiler discharge were reduced by 90%, reducing as well, the
loss/waste of energy. The reduction of effluents was 106,200m3/year
(2.5% of the total plant), and the consumption of water in an equivalent
amount. These reductions, in turn, reduced the relative costs relative
to industrial wastewater by US$ 75,000/year and the consumption of water
in US$ 29,500/year
Now, the boilers
operate almost continually, without the frequent interruptions required
by the previous water treatment system. In addition, the boilers now
operate in compliance with the ASME/ABMA directives.
The incrustations which
formed within the boilers were minimized substantially, and now, they
operate in a more efficient manner. The plant has therefore reduced
natural gas consumption by 7,461,000m3/year, reducing proportionally the
environmental greenhouse gas emissions.
As a result, the
company has directly saved US$ 2,070,000/year. In addition, the more
efficient operation has enabled Cia Nitro Química to reduce its
electrical energy consumption by 6,672 MWh/year, resulting in an annual
savings of US$ 320,000.