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In the petrochemical industry the catalytic cracking procedure is an important part of the crude oil refining process. Crude oil contains transition metals, such as vanadium, nickel, chromium, zinc, and lead, which causes Fluid Catalytic Cracking Catalysts (FCC) or Residue Fluidized Catalytic Cracking (RFCC) used in refining processes to gradually lose their potency due to pollution by these transition metals and eventually needing to be replaced.
Taking Taiwan’s Formosa Petrochemical Corporation and CPC Corporation, Taiwan as examples, both companies produce five to six thousand tons of FFC waste catalysts in a year, meaning that each year Taiwan produces over ten thousand tons of FCC waste catalysts on its own soil due to oil refining. Furthermore, these waste catalysts contain not only several precious metals but also significant amounts of toxic metal materials. If they are not disposed of properly, they will cause serious environmental damage.
In the past, the petrochemical industry dealt with waste catalysts by burying them, which was not only an unprofitable use of resources but also severely harmful to the ecological environment. A few years ago recycling technologies for waste catalysts began to be presented to the public, which brought about a brand new vision for the petrochemical industry.
Nevertheless, today recycling techniques for waste catalysts have enormous shortcomings. Although a portion of precious metals are recycled, the procedures produce other pollutants and also result in losses of other resources.
“It is certain that currently incineration techniques are used for the vast majority of waste catalyst recycling overseas to separate out a portion of the precious metals,” said Kenny Hsu, Managing Director of UWin Nanotech.
He pointed out that these burning techniques require putting the catalysts through incinerators; however, every time these incinerators are started they require large amounts of fuel, and they also produce exhaust fumes. These methods not only deplete the Earth’s resources but there are also air pollution concerns with the exhaust fumes that they produce.
In addition, incineration methods thoroughly destroy substrates and cause the catalyst materials to lose any potential for being recycled.
In order to rectify these shortcomings and make waste catalyst recycling profitable and at the same time more friendly to the environment and people’s health, Uwin Nanotech has launched an environmentally-friendly stripping product especially designed for recycling precious metals in waste catalysts: UW-195. The product is an environmental stripping prescription which can quickly strip the precious metals palladium (Pd) and platinum (Pt) from waste catalysts at room temperature.
According to experiments at Uwin Nanotech, without being pulverized waste catalysts containing palladium can be obtained by this formula with a recycled rate of 2.83g Pd/Kg. If five thousand tons of waste catalysts are produced in a year, it can yield 14150 Kg of palladium, which is valued at over US$400 million.
“We take 2g of waste catalyst and soak it in 100ml of gold stripping solution (a 68% concentration of 50ml nitric acid mixed with 50ml of UW-195 gold stripping prescrption) at a 25℃ room temperature, and in only a few dozen seconds the palladium stripping is completed,” said Kenny.
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