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Gas Scrubbing

The extract ductwork that draws fumes away from the smelting pots in an aluminium smelting plant contains levels of contaminants that need to be removed from the exhaust before discharge to atmosphere. The TORBED process is used as a reactor to contact alumina with the exhaust gas stream to adsorb the pollutants prior to discharge. A TORBED reactor can be employed in a single or two stage assembly providing unique adsorption properties.

The low pressure drop across TORBED reactors is important because the volumes of gases to be processed are high at 200,000 nm3/h (117,500 acfm) per TORBED reactor and the particle size range that is used in the reactor is small and substantially un-graded. The TORBED reactor based scrubbing plant represents substantial savings in the capital and operating costs of an installation at a smelter.

Extensive pilot trials were completed to demonstrate the TORBED reactor application at 1000mm diameter scale with success in 1990/1. After construction of a 5000mm prototype in 1993, a 6000mm (20 ft) diameter two-stage reactor was installed and commissioned in early 1994. The results were sufficiently favourable that New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Ltd decided to proceed with an expenditure of NZ$94m (£30m) on a new scrubbing plant based on thirteen 6000mm (20 ft) diameter TORBED reactors. These were installed in 1995/6 and the plant is achieving the best world standards. A further 6 such units were commissioned at Comalco’s Bell Bay smelter in Tasmania in 1997.
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