FORMALDEHYDE & SUSTAINABILITY


Safety & environment 
FORMOX™ strives to maximize the operational safety and minimize the environmental impact of our processes and products, and to encourage our customers and suppliers to do likewise.

Emissions:

No liquid waste - No liquid waste is generated from the process during normal operation. In particular our UFC design allows balancing the excess water from the process against the water needed on the site to avoid any production of waste water. Liquids used for dilution and washing can generally be blended into the final product.

No solid waste - The only solid waste we can be talking about is the spent catalyst which is best returned to us at FORMOX™ (Johnson Matthey Process Technologies). Not only do we handle the waste without any effect on the environment, the material is reused and our clients get a refund value (read more at Exceptional services).

No gas waste - All FORMOX™ plants are equipped with our own developed environmental control system, ECS, which is considered BAT. Any organic compounds in the off gas from the process are oxidised to CO2 and water over a precious metal catalyst. Heat released in the chemical reaction is re-used to heat the incoming gas to the reaction temperature and thus no additional heat source or fuel is needed to get the reaction. Additional heat released is recovered by superheat or generating additional steam.

The stack emissions from a FORMOX™ plant are well below all government requirements worldwide.

Energy recovery

The FORMOX formaldehyde process forms the basis for your future thanks to best high utilisation and recovery;

High yield, low methanol consumption

Using less raw materials is good both for the planet and operating economy.

High heat recovery

The FORMOX formaldehyde process is a net producer of heat. Both the formaldehyde reaction and the catalytic conversion of off gasses are exothermic (release heat). The heat is recovered inside the process by efficient heat recovery systems that minimize use of energy. Excess high value energy is recovered as steam. Steam from the formaldehyde plant means less fuel to the site boiler or potential use as power source.

Low power designs

FORMOX™ plant can be designed for very low electric power consumption by the use of our Turbocharger system and/or systems for utilizing steam.

Turbocharger

Pressurization with turbocharger

The turbocharger recovers energy from the stack gas, reducing power consumption. As the exhaust turbine is directly coupled to a compressor, the turbocharger takes the place of the pressurization blower. An additional benefit is that most of the thermal energy is recovered as steam and remains available for heat recovery or is taken to a turbine. In the longer term, the turbocharger offers the possibility of economical operation at even higher pressures and hence even higher productivity or optimized performance.

The innovation of the turbocharger resulted amongst other things in FORMOX™ winning the "Innovative Energy Use Award" in 2012, announced by the Chem Innovations Advisory Committee and the Chemical Engineering Editors.

Steam utilization

Excess heat from the process is mainly recovered as steam. As conditions vary from site to site the best use of steam also varies. Generally we can say that use of steam for heating purposes on site when possible is the most cost effective. At sites without this options different steam turbine solutions can be considered;

-use the steam directly, to drive the blower

-or indirectly by using the steam to drive a generator and generate electricity

In both cases superheating the steam (using heat from the ECS) will give a better result.

Our plants are designed to minimize the energy usage to operate that process.

FORMOX™ current design allows cost effective operation at turndown to 40% of capacity. As we use frequency drives on blowers and flexible catalyst loading profiles each operating capacity can be optimized to give best economy. Actually the operating cost per ton of product produced can be significantly reduced at turndown in relation to full plant capacity.

Carbon footprint

As part of life cycle assessment, the carbon footprint, CFP, indicates the amount of greenhouse gases released for the manufacturing of a specific product, expressed in carbon dioxide equivalent. The carbon footprint originates from direct emissions, (those that occur during the manufacturing process) and indirect emissions (electricity or steam purchased and used by the process).

In performing the calculation particular rules are applied to ensure a valid comparison (ISO 14067). For instance, the calculation of the carbon footprint is valid for 3 years; the system goes from the "cradle to the gate"; it is expressed in kg CO2 equivalent per kg of product. Of course the result is site specific.

The question is then how to reduce the footprint. In the case of the FORMOX™ process, you can improve the CFP for methanol, electrical power, steam and losses.

  1. In the case of methanol, the use of methanol produced from renewable sources could lower the CFP, if a suitable process is used (e.g. Fermentation). In the case of the bio-methanol made from glycerine, the CFP is higher due to the very high natural gas consumption for the steam reforming steps.
  2. With respect to the electrical power, besides reducing the overall electrical consumption, purchasing electricity from a nuclear power plant will reduced the CFP. Even better results can be achieved with hydroelectricity.
  3. Reducing the losses by improving the yield has of course a slight reducing effect on the CFP, as well as enhancing the production of steam

Read more about;

 

Customer Center

Literature

Customer Newsletter providing informal information about formaldehyde to its global producers.

 

Related links
 
 
Johnson Matthey