Anode Furnace Off-Gas NOX Emissions Improvements at Rio Tinto Kennecott

Additonal authors: Esker, Jenny. Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:

Proceedings, Vol. Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019, 2019

Walton, Ryan

NOx emissions at the Rio-Tinto Kennecott Copper (RTKC) smelter, near Salt Lake City, Utah, are regulated to a compliance emission limit at the Main Stack of 15.9 kg/hr on an annual rolling average. The paper discusses RTKC efforts and improvements, particularly related to the anode furnace operations, since the Smelter modernization in 1995 to comply with the air quality approval limit. This includes replacement of gaseous ammonia to Steam-Gas Refining (SGR) system during the copper reduction stage, upgrade anode furnace oxygen-fuel burner from Praxair’s Stabilized Jet (S-J) to Jet Lance (J-L) technology, development and implementation of operational best practices and continuing to investigate and evaluate NOx control technology and strategy in the industry. In early 2016, changes to Praxair J-L Burner technology on both anode furnaces, utilizing wider lance spacing, was adopted and further improved NOx emission levels well below the compliance limit. INTRODUCTION Since the establishment of the Clear Air Act in 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been regulating emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) to reduce impact on public health and the environment (USEPA, CAA, USEPA, NAAQS). As a requirement of the Clean Air Act, the EPA evaluates the standards for NOx and criteria pollutants on a periodic basis and as a result, standards have been revised and ultimately reduced over time (USEPA, CAA, USEPA, NAAQS, UDAQ, SIP). To remain competitive with changing regulations and in conjunction with Rio Tinto environmental standards for continuous improvement, the RTKC smelter has been motivated to research and implement NOx control strategies. NOx health and environment impacts NOx refers to a group of seven compounds including the most common, nitrogen dioxide (NO2). (USEPA, NO2). The EPA enforces both short-term (1-hr average) and long-term (annual average) standards for NO2 to protect against associated respiratory system impacts. Short-term exposure of elevated NO2 concentrations can aggravate respiratory diseases and lead to symptoms such as coughing, wheezing or difficulty breathing while longer exposures may contribute to the development of asthma and potentially increase susceptibility to respiratory infections. (USEPA, NO2) Additionally, NOx is necessary in the formation of ozone and particulate matter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5). Ozone concentrations can negatively impact lung function and in some cases, contribute to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. (USEPA, Ozone) The particles associated with PM2.5 can reduce lung capacity and aggravate heart conditions. (USEPA, PM2.5) For all NOx related pollutants, children and the elderly are generally at greater risk for the health effects. (USEPA, NO2, USEPA, Ozone, USEPA, PM2.5)
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019
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