Fixation of nitrogen from air in manure or biogas digestate
More than 22 million tons of ammonia are lost from livestock farms around the world every year. Lost ammonia means lost fertilizer and is a waste of nutrients and an economic burden for the farmer. The farmer needs to replenish lost nutrients through purchase of expensive, fossil-fuel based nitrogen fertilizer. Today’s industrial fertilizer value chain is costly and harmful to the environment.
The Norwegian company N2 Applied has developed a technology based on a plasma reactor to produce nitrogen fertilizer on the farm, by fixing nitrogen from air and reaction with ammonia in manure or biogas digestate. The reaction stops the ammonia losses and increases the nitrogen content in the manure or digestate.
N2 Applieds technology enables the livestock farmer to recycle nitrogen and produce his own fertilizer with lower greenhouse gas emissions, improved resource efficiency and reduced cost.
Recovery of valuable metals from complex industrial waste
ArcFume is a metallurgical plasma based process for treatment of complex industrial waste. With a high yield, it recovers valuable metals as zinc, lead, silver, copper, germanium and indium. Handling of by-products is an important step for metal smelters towards higher metal yield and less waste. By introducing the plasma based ArcFume process, they are moving towards electrification of the process flow sheet.
Examples of complex materials are jarosite, goethite, paragoethite, or hematite formed after electrolytic recovery in zinc production process. In the residues, to some extent zinc and lead follows along with other minor elements such as silver, indium and germanium. The residues are typically landfilled after a stabilization process, but due to the content of valuable metals it is highly relevant to recover the metals.
ScanArc has performed excessive test campaigns for Boliden Kokkola Smelters to treat the residues in ArcFume process for metal extraction. After metal extraction, a glassy mineral product with good environmental properties possible to use in cement and geopolymer applications is produced.
Vitrification of fly ash from municipal solid waste incineration
Fly ash generated from municipal solid waste incineration is in most cases classified as Hazardous Waste and poses an environmental risk. Today, landfill is the common method to handle the waste while countries are looking for more sustainable solutions for the future. ScanArc metallurgical process ArcFume is a plasma based treatment method that can turn the fly ash from waste to value.
Treated in ArcFume process hazardous volatile components are removed, such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury, sulfur, chlorine and bromine – it is then followed by vaporization and recycling of zinc and lead. The residuals after treatment is a glassy mineral product.
ScanArc together with Swedish Waste Management Association and companies from the energy sector made an evaluation of the environmental and health properties of the mineral product. The study showed that the mineral product meets many European or national guidelines for use as construction material, and meets the criteria to be classified as Non Hazardous Waste. That is waste turned into value.
Chemical recycling of mesa lime from pulp mills and the forestry industry
LimeArc Process is a concept developed by the company Carnot AB. Pulp mills produce chemical sulphate pulp used to make paper. Burnt lime is used as an auxiliary chemical to recycle the cooking chemicals. The so-called lime mud is recovered by burning it in fuel-fired rotary kilns. LimeArc technology burns the lime mud in a compact plasma reactor, and thereby taking a huge step to electrify chemical recycling in the forest industry.
To promote and further develop the technology, ScanArc and Carnot are together owners of the newly formed company LimeArc Process AB. Learn more at the company website!
Replacing fossil fuels burners in industrial heating furnaces
About 20% of the CO₂-emissions in the steel industry can be ascribed to furnace heating processes. The industry estimates that a large share of the furnaces can be electrified to reduce the use of fossil fuels, and one solution is electrification with plasma technology. Using plasma heating, the steel industry will have cost-effective solutions and a faster transition towards green technology.
Another application in steel industry is pre-heating of steel plant ladles. Pre-heating is required to minimize thermal shock and damage of refractory lining. Standard heating technologies combust fuels in an oxidizing environment, causing wear of refractory already in the heating procedure. Using plasma technology enables pre-heating in inert atmosphere, reduces use of fossil fuels and CO2-emissions.
Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from cement, ceramics and mineral production
Building and construction
Manufacturing of cement, ceramics and minerals are a major environmental concern. Cement production accounts for 3-5% of global carbon dioxide emissions. One step in process is to heat up limestone to 1450 ˚C to release carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide emissions come partly from this process, but also from the fuel required to heat the furnaces.
CemZero is a Swedish project by cement manufacturer Cementa and the energy company Vattenfall with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. CemZero investigated the possibility of using plasma technology to electrify the furnaces. The results were successful and next step is verification in large scale industrial tests. An English report with Swedish summary of the first trials can be downloaded here.
A high temperature solution
Hydrogen is traditionally produced by water electrolysis (H2O ↔ ½ O2+ H2) , but can be also produced by methane pyrolysis (CH4↔ C + 2 H2) using for example ScanArc´s plasma technology as heat source. The efficiency of the pyrolysis reaction is highest at temperatures above app. 1000 C. To produce hydrogen by pyrolysis it takes “only” 38 kJ of energy per 1 mol of produced H2 compared to 286 kJ of energy needed when using water electrolysis.