Sulfuric acid investments in chemical industry expected to rise in 2008
SUGAR LAND, Texas – Research from Industrial Info Resources Investments on producers of sulfuric acid indicated a slowdown in 2007 to an estimated $64 million while the focus by most producers in this segment was aimed at planned maintenance turnarounds and related projects. Based on projects currently being tracked as part of Industrial Info's North American Project Database, producers of sulfuric acid in the Chemical Processing Industry (CPI) could top $250 million this year. The largest project investments planned for 2008 will be for emissions reduction and process improvements while spending for planned maintenance turnarounds will represent approximately $40 million of the total spending for the year.
Among the largest emissions-reduction projects planned to get underway in 2008 are those of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (DuPont) at its Darrow, La., plant site. Plans are underway for major process additions and retrofits at the 600,000 metric-ton-per-year plant including upgrades and the relocation of a control room. Rhodia plans to begin the installation of at least one new scrubber this year to reduce emissions related to the production of sulfuric acid. A new scrubber has been approved for the company's Houston site and civil construction has already begun. Pegasus TSI (Tampa, Fla.) has provided E&C services for the project while CCC Group (San Antonio, Texas) is providing construction support as resident contractor of the site. Construction could begin this year for a similar project at Rhodia's Baton Rouge, La. plant site.
Looking ahead another year or more, there are at least two major unit additions planned for this segment of the CPI in the United States. PCS Phosphate Co. Inc. (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) is pursuing the addition of a huge 5,700-ton-per-day double-absorption unit for its Aurora, N.C. site, which could begin construction in late 2009 depending on the permit and approval time lines. Even further down the road are studies by The Mosaic Co. (Minneapolis, Minn.) for a massive 7,200-ton-per-day sulfuric acid unit possibly at its Uncle Sam, La. site beginning in 2013 or sooner. These two projects would serve not only new demand but most likely also replace some portion of the industry segment's existing, aging capacity that continues to operate on technology and equipment that are decades old and now inefficient or much less cost effective.
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