The local circular economy loop has worked perfectly for nearly 20 years for U.S. industrial gas company!
Posted on November, 30th 2017.
In Pennsylvania, Veolia built and operates a plant that uses potassium fluoride (KF) as a feedstock for producing potassium hydroxide (KOH) used in the customer’s industrial gas plant.
At its Hometown plant in Pennsylvania, the customer uses potassium hydroxide (KOH) to neutralize certain materials during the production of industrial gas. The neutralization process, produces potassium fluoride (KF), a byproduct that, if disposed, would be considered hazardous waste, and needs to be safely managed to protect people and the environment.
In the late 1990s, the company wanted a more sustainable solution for the KF it produced. Veolia offered a proprietary, viable alternative to disposal: use the KF as an ingredient in a KOH manufacturing process. Under applicable regulations, when the KF is properly used in this manner, it is no longer considered a waste.
A sustainable closed loop solution
This closed loop has been running smoothly for nearly 20 years. Veolia designed, built, and operates a KOH manufacturing facility four miles from the customer’s plant in Hometown, PA. The customer delivers its on-spec KF streams to this plant, where Veolia uses it as a feedstock to manufacture KOH that’s supplied back to the customer for its operation. And so on… in a never-ending circle.
Success for industry! The solution provides a more sustainable solution for KF management and allows the customer to limit its purchase of virgin KOH. This helps reduce the total volume of raw materials that would otherwise be required to produce the virgin KOH, thereby helping to save natural resources. The KOH produced in the Veolia process is less expensive than the commercial price for virgin material. Additionally, because the KF is employed as a feedstock in the KOH manufacturing process, the customer’s raw material costs are reduced significantly each year. In 2016, the plant accepted approximately 19 million pounds of KF feedstock for processing into KOH, which without Veolia’s process would have been required to be handled and disposed of as a waste.
For its innovative approach to sustainable business, the project previously earned the Pennsylvania Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence! It is the perfect example of an efficient, innovative circular system that enables industry to improve its environmental performance and optimize its costs.
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Credit Photo: ©Veolia