The bluegas™ process allows for catalyst recovery from process char for reuse on fresh feedstock. As part of this catalyst recycle loop, metals such as vanadium and nickel as well as marketable products like activated carbon from the spent char, and ammonia and sulfuric acid are captured in a high value form for resale.
More than 85 percent of vanadium is used as an alloy in specialty steels and titanium products to provide greater strength, toughness and corrosion resistance. Global steel demand is forecast to rise by 5.3 percent in 2011. Currently, China is the largest consumer of both steel and vanadium and has recently raised the standards for steel used in building materials, thus further driving up the demand for vanadium. Nickel is also mainly used as an alloy metal for making stainless steel. Similar to vanadium, the price for nickel correlates to steel production, and in 2011 demand growth is expected be around 10 percent.
By design, the bluegas™ technology also seamlessly integrates the recovery of activated carbon, ammonia and sulfuric acid. Activated carbon is widely used for environmental purposes such as the adsorption of pollutants from air and water as well as mercury capture from coal fired power plants and gas purification for industrial processes. The worldwide activated carbon market is expected to experience steady growth due to the increases in environmental regulations being imposed on industry.
Ammonia is the intermediate product from which a wide variety of nitrogen-based fertilizers and industrial products are produced. Demand for ammonia is directly correlated to world food production and it is forecast to grow by 3-4 percent annually over the coming decade with an annual worldwide market of more than 150 million tons.
Sulfuric acid is one of the largest-volume industrial chemicals with global consumption at more than 200 million tons per year, and is used in a variety of applications such as lead-acid batteries for cars, ore processing, and fertilizer manufacturing. Global demand for sulfuric acid is projected to rise by over 10 percent during the next five years.