Regeneration for sulfuric acid

Posted on 17 May 2018.

With the takeover of the Chemours Sulfur Products division, Veolia is able to offer sulfuric acid regeneration services to its oil and gas sector customers in the United States.

Composting household garbage and green waste from yards, transforming farm waste or restaurant meal residues into biogas through an aerobic digestion process all demonstrate that organic matter recycling solutions abound – and they are increasingly well-known to the public. But what about recycling inorganic compounds, such as sulfuric acid, one of the most widely used resources in the world?

When sulfuric acid can be regenerated and reused

Sulfuric acid is used widely and has applications in almost every industry – but particularly in the manufacture of batteries, fertilizers, synthetic fibers, cosmetics, and also oil refining.
The increasing demand for sulfuric acid in these industries, on the one hand, and the increased production of spent acid in oil refineries and chemical plants on the other hand, make recycling - referred to as "regeneration"- and reuse a particularly interesting option. It is a win-win sustainable development opportunity that enables manufacturers to not only reduce their environmental footprint but also their costs.

It is particularly true in the oil sector where sulfuric acid is used as a catalyst in the alkylation process (one of the oil refining processes), and dealing with the spent acid is very expensive.

Meeting the needs of the oil and gas sector

In 2016, Veolia took over the Sulfur Products division of Chemours, a US chemicals company. It specializes in the treatment and regeneration of sulfuric acid and sulfur gases from refining activities and their reuse in various industrial applications. The goal is to meet the needs of the oil and gas sector in the United States and so increase its commitment to the circular economy.

Veolia has therefore taken over a number of additional facilities: three sulfuric acid recovery units in Delaware, New Jersey and Texas; a sulfuric acid and sulfur recovery facility in Burnside, Louisiana; and four sulfur-based acid production plants on the east coast of the United States.
With a market share of more than 20% on the other side of the Atlantic, Veolia is currently the undisputed leader in the production of sulfuric acid regeneration using refinery sulfur-based waste streams. These products are sold on to about 50 refineries in North America and to manufacturers of soaps, shampoos, cosmetics and laundry detergents, among other things.