Tag Archives: sulphuric acid

Travertine looks to revolutionise metal extraction tech, sulphuric acid production

A new technology start-up that came out of research from the University of California, Berkeley is looking to commercialise a novel, cost-effective process to capture and permanently sequester ambient carbon dioxide while producing sulphuric acid.

The process should, the company says, enable carbon-negative critical element extraction and fertiliser production.

Travertine Technologies, Inc. today announced a $3 million seed financing jointly led by Grantham Environmental Trust and Clean Energy Ventures to enable the company to scale up its team in Colorado, and to accelerate its pathway to pilot-scale technology implementation in 2023.

Carbon dioxide removal has widely been acknowledged as a key piece in the climate change puzzle, with the IPCC believing it must be scaled concurrently with decarbonisation to achieve the goals from the Paris Climate Accord.

Travertine’s electrochemical process mineralises CO2 from the air and co-produces sulphuric acid used for extracting raw materials such as lithium, nickel and cobalt. It accelerates the Earth’s natural carbon cycle to precipitate carbonate minerals from carbon dioxide in the air – producing sulphuric acid, green hydrogen for renewable energy and oxygen as a by-product – and permanently storing carbon in the solid phase, according to Travertine.

Travertine Founder and CEO, a former University of California, Berkeley Professor, Laura Lammers, told IM: “For every tonne of sulphuric acid produced, half a tonne of CO2 is saved and sequestered.”

Some 300 Mt of sulphuric acid is used annually in extractive industries including mining and fertiliser production, with demand set to grow with the surging need for critical elements.

Lammers, one of the leading scientists in carbonate mineralisation, says Travertine is engaging with companies looking to expand or bring online new production of energy minerals such as lithium that would typically go down the normal sulphuric acid plant route, telling them Travertine can provide another option.

“In addition to that, there are many tonnes of sulphate waste out there that come with recycling options using the technology,” she said. If the technology proves successful in these applications, it could prevent the accumulation of millions of tonnes of waste annually that contaminate water and are deemed as liabilities for mining companies.

And there are also options to bolt-on the technology for retrofits/upgrades in existing sulphuric acid processes, she added.

To this point, the company is working with mining companies to trial this technology, with Lammers hoping to say more about these partnerships next year.

She concluded: “There are a number of companies looking at the carbon-to-value landscape, but we are focused on redressing the needs of the industry and the environmental balance.”

Metso Outotec to supply equipment for Boliden’s Green Zinc Odda project

Metso Outotec says it has been awarded a contract for the delivery of key technology to the Boliden Odda zinc smelter expansion in western Norway.

Approximately 90% of the €150 million ($170 million) contract has been booked in the company’s Metals Q4/2021 orders received and the rest in Minerals Q4/2021 orders received.

With the expansion, Boliden Odda is planning to increase its annual production capacity of zinc metal from 200,000 t to 350,000 t. Several by-products will also be produced.

The project is called “Green Zinc Odda”, and its energy consumption is based on fossil-free energy.

Metso Outotec’s scope of delivery includes roasting and off-gas cleaning solutions and a sulphuric acid plant, with the OEM also supplying hydrometallurgical equipment and technology for calcine leaching, solid liquid separation, solution purification, as well as process and plant engineering and site services. The deliveries are set to take place in 2022-2024.

Jari Ålgars, President, Metals business area at Metso Outotec, said: “The Green Zinc Odda project paves the way for more sustainable zinc production and is yet another important milestone in the many years of collaboration between Boliden and Metso Outotec.”

DuPont Clean Tech to provide low emission sulphuric acid plant input at Rhyolite Ridge

ioneer Ltd has awarded DuPont Clean Technologies a contract for the licence, engineering and supply of proprietary equipment for the planned sulphuric acid plant at the company’s Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

Specialty technology provider DuPont will work with engineering partner SNC-Lavalin on the plant design, providing best-in-class MECS® sulphuric acid production technology for a plant with a 3,500 t/d capacity, and controls that limit emissions to among the lowest in the world for this type of facility, ioneer says.

The DuPont contract is conditional on a final investment decision on the project by the ioneer Board of Directors, which is expected shortly.

In June, Rhyolite Ridge became the first project with planned sulphuric acid production to receive a Class II Air Quality permit in Nevada.

Employing advanced technologies, the plant will meet stringent NV Class II air quality standards and water pollution control, according to ioneer. DuPont will also supply its latest generation MECS Super GEAR™ catalyst and other critical proprietary equipment, with the plant set to convert sulphur into commercial-grade sulphuric acid, used to leach lithium and boron from the crushed rock.

The heat released in the process will be recovered to produce steam for electricity. The plant will generate an initial 35 MW of electricity, which is sufficient to power the entire Rhyolite Ridge operation and means ioneer will not draw electricity from the grid, the company says.

“Rhyolite Ridge will be an energy-independent operation, using primarily co-generated, zero-carbon power,” it added.

The heat generated will also be used for evaporation and crystallisation processes required to produce lithium carbonate and boric acid.

Once operational, Rhyolite Ridge is expected to produce 20,600 t/y of lithium carbonate, converting in year four to 22,000 t/y of battery-grade lithium hydroxide, and 174,400 t/y of boric acid. Pending final federal US Department of the Interior approval of the Plan of Operation, the project is expected to begin production in the second half of 2024.

Commenting on the contract, ioneer Managing Director, Bernard Rowe, said: “Development of the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project is a critical strategic step to enable US production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage. ioneer’s core commitment is to produce essential materials in an environmentally and socially responsible and sustainable manner through lowered emissions, reduced water usage and a minimal surface footprint. We are delighted to welcome MECS-DuPont to our team. It is a world-leader in clean technology and emissions control and will work alongside ioneer to deliver this tier-1 project in the US.”

Global business leader of DuPont Clean Technologies, Eli Ben-Shoshan, said: “We have worked in close partnership with ioneer and SNC-Lavalin to be able to guarantee the precise performance and emissions control ioneer needs for its Rhyolite Ridge project to meet stringent environmental standards and production objectives. We are excited to be part of a project that helps ioneer cleanly produce lithium essential to advancement of electric energy markets and to be able to support it with our many decades of expertise in sulphuric acid plant technology.”