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Nitric Acid in the Spotlight

By Gerald Ondrey |

Efforts continue to make nitric-acid production more efficient with lower emissions of greenhouse gases Like the ammonia used to make it, nitric acid (NA) continues to be produced by a process nearly a century old — the Ostwald process. Although the basic chemistry has not changed over the last century, the process technology certainly has. On the one hand, NA license providers continue to find ways to improve the energy efficiency and yields, as well as make the production plant more reliable. On the other hand, catalyst providers continue to improve the composition and structure of their catalysts to boost yield, while reducing the formation of harmful byproducts. And more recently, engineering companies and catalyst manufacturers have combined their skills to reduce the emissions from NA plants.   Figure 1. This 1,150-m.t./d nitric acid plant, which started up this year in Hungary, uses a dual-pressure process together with EnviNOx NOx/N2O abatement. The nitric acid is used for fertilizer production thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions[/caption] Applications of HNO3 Nitric acid is used for a large number of applications, but the majority of the acid is used for making fertilizers (Figures 1 and 2). Around 80% of the NA…
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