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E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Inc.

Year Submitted: 2003

Process: Catalyst Recovery

Industry: Rubber

Wastes Reduced: Catalyst

Substance: Vanadium

Location: Beaumont TX

No. of employees: 900

Contact: Lynn S. Parker

Phone: (409) 727-9246


DuPont's Nordel(tm) hydrocarbon rubber polymerization process uses a vanadium catalyst. Residual catalyst collects in an aqueous stream which is generated as the polymer is manufactured. Prior to this project vanadium and other Total Suspended Solids (TSS) contributors were removed in settling basins before the process wastewater was discharged through the Plant's permitted outfall.
A team of DuPont engineers, chemists and technicians successfully carried out bench scale and semi-works activities to obtain basic data to recover and recycle the vanadium. DuPont designed and built the facilities and Beaumont personnel have successfully operated them since start up in 1992. In addition to recovering and recycling vanadium the project contributes to meeting more stringent process wastewater permit limits and doing this without the settling basins previously employed.

P2 Application:

Precipitation of metals is well known technology but applying the technology to this stream was especially challenging. Complications arose from other metals, organics and polymer, potentially explosive vapors and environmental issues (like TSS and metals in the "clear" water with no downstream settling basins).
The initial twelve months of operation recovered and recycled 3,600,000 pounds of filter cake from which 162,000 pounds of vanadium was recovered.

Environmental Benefits:

The project is one of several which allowed the plant to discontinue the use of earthen settling basins to remove vanadium and other constituents from process wastewater before discharge through the Plant's permitted outfall. This project lowered the quantity of vanadium discharged to the Neches River by approximately 50% (based on only one year's operating data and not considering the quantity of product made in the first full year versus the base year). Filter cake produced in the recovery facilities is recycled to our catalyst vendor rather than disposing of it by landfilling. They recover vanadium from this filter cake and it is reused to manufacture steel.
The initial twelve months of operation recovered and recycled 3,600,000 pounds of filter cake from which 162,000 pounds of vanadium was recovered.

Details of Reductions

Additional Information :

The benefit is environmental; there are no net dollar savings to DuPont.

Source: TCEQ

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