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Nitric acid

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ThyssenKrupp Uhde

Table of contents

1. Company profile 3

2. The nitric acid process 4

3. Uhde and nitric acid 6

4. The Uhde medium-pressure process 8

5. The Uhde high-pressure process 10

6. The Uhde dual-pressure process 12

7. The Uhde azeotropic nitric acid process 14

8. The Uhde N2O/NOX abatement process EnviNOx 16

9. Typical consumption figures 19


Uhdes head office

Dortmund, Germany

1. Company profile
With its highly specialised workforce of more than 5,600 employees
and its international network of subsidiaries and branch offices, Uhde,
a Dortmund-based engineering contractor, has to date successfully
completed over 2,000 projects throughout the world.

Uhdes international reputation has been built on the successful

application of its motto Engineering with ideas to yield cost-effective
high-tech solutions for its customers. The ever-increasing demands
placed upon process and application technology in the fields of
chemical processing, energy and environmental protection are met
through a combination of specialist know-how, comprehensive
service packages, top-quality engineering and impeccable punctuality.

2. The nitric acid process

Although the basic chemistry of the nitric

acid process has not changed in the last
hundred years, todays highly efficient,
compact and environmentally friendly plants
have been developed by a process compa-
rable with the advances made in automobile
technology in the same period.

The oxidation of ammonia over a platinum

catalyst to nitrogen oxides, and their ab-
sorption in water to form nitric acid was first
carried out in 1838 by C.F. Kuhlmann. How-
ever, this discovery was not then commer-
cialised as ammonia was too expensive
compared with the Chile saltpetre used to
manufacture nitric acid in those days. The
Birkeland-Eyde process, invented at the
beginning of the 20th century, which in-
volves the direct combination of atmos-
pheric oxygen and nitrogen in an electric
arc, was also of limited application due to
poor energy utilisation.
BP Kln, Cologne, Germany
Capacity: 1,500 mtpd HNO3 (100%)

Block diagram of nitric acid process Stoichiometry of nitric acid process

1 mole 3/2
Air Compression
NO gas Combustion
Ammonia Combustion 5/4 mole 1m
O2 N
NO gas
Excess energy
Tail gas Energy recovery
2 mole 3/4 mole 3/2

NO gas O2 O2 Oxidation N
Gas cooling
Tail gas 1/2
NO gas mole
+ Acid condensate
water Absorption Nitric acid
Tail gas 1 mole
Tail gas treatment HNO3

The history of the modern nitric acid pro- sure process. From the 1920s onwards, ammonium nitrate solution. The remainder
cess really begins in 1901 when W. Ostwald advances in the synthesis of ammonia from goes into the production of porous prilled
established the ammonia oxidation condi- hydrogen and atmospheric nitrogen by the ammonium nitrate for the mining industry,
tions necessary for high nitrogen oxide Haber-Bosch process have given the Ostwald and as an intermediate for the production
yields. The first plants using the Ostwald route to nitric acid an additional boost by of special chemicals such as caprolactam
process were started up in the first decade lowering its feedstock costs. Nowadays prac- or adipic acid. There is a growing demand
of the 20th century. Since then many im- tically all nitric acid is manufactured by this for azeotr opic nitric acid (approximately
provements have been made by various process. 68% concentration), which is used as a
workers. Milestones include the use of larger nitrating agent in the production of nitro-
ammonia combustion units employing flat Nitric acid is a strong acid and occurs natu- benzene, dinitrotoluene and other chemi-
platinum-rhodium gauzes instead of rally only in a combined state as nitrate salt. cals. These are further processed to TDI or
Ostwalds rolled up platinum gauze strip As with other industrial inorganic acids, nitric MDI, and finally used for the production of
and the recovery of the heat of reaction for acid is hardly of importance in itself but ra- polyurethane.
steam raising or electricity generation. The ther as a key intermediate in the production
development of strong, affordable, corro- of industrial goods. Nowadays around 55 Among the great variety of other applica-
sion resistant stainless steel materials of million tonnes a year of nitric acid of various tions, those most worthy of mention are
construction made feasible the absorption concentrations are produced worldwide. Ap- its use as a chemical in metallurgy, for
of the nitrogen oxides in water under pres- proximately 80% of this is used as an inter- example as an etching and pickling agent
sure, thus reducing the size and cost of the mediate in the production of nitrogenous for stainless steel, and its employment in
absorption equipment, while progress in mineral fertilisers, primarily ammonium the manufacture of dinitrogen tetroxide for
turbo-machinery technology led to the adop- nitrate and its derivatives such as calcium rocket fuels.
tion of the more energy efficient dual pres- nitrate, calcium ammonium nitrate and urea

Nitric acid

~ 80 % consumption ~ 20 % consumption
3/2 mole 1 mole
Fertiliser Non-Fertiliser

1 mole
NO H2O 1/2 mole
AN NP AN (technical grade) Chemicals

3/2 mole
CN CAN UAN ASN Capro- Adipic Dinitro- Nitro-
lactam acid toluene benzene

Uses of nitric acid

AN : ammonium nitrate TDI MDI
NP : nitrophosphate
CN : calcium nitrate
CAN : calcium ammonium nitrate
UAN : urea ammonium nitrate solution
ASN : ammonium sulphate nitrate Poly- Poly- Poly- Poly-
TDI : toluene diisocyanate amide 6 amide 6.6 urethane urethane
MDI : methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (flexible PU) (rigid PU)

3. Uhde and nitric acid

As early as 1905, Dr. Friedrich Uhde, the Today, nitric acid is produced exclusively
founder of Uhde GmbH, designed and con- from ammonia oxidised by combustion
structed, in cooperation with Prof. Wilhelm with air in the presence of a noble-metal
Ostwald, a pilot plant for the production of catalyst.
nitric acid by burning ammonia with air in
the presence of a catalyst. Non-noble-metal catalysts do not play a
significant role.
Since the companys foundation in 1921,
the number of plants for the production of The catalysts used in the process consist
weak and concentrated nitric acid as well of a pack of platinum-rhodium gauzes, the
as ammonia combustion units for nitrogen number depending on the operating pres-
oxide production and absorption plants sure and burner construction. The gauzes
for nitrous waste gases, which have been are produced nowadays by knitting thin
designed, constructed and commissioned wires, usually with a diameter of 60 or 76
by Uhde under a variety of climatic condi- m. Woven gauzes are used only in a few
tions total some 200. specialised applications.

Uhde thus ranks among the worlds lead- A platinum recovery system made from
ing engineering companies engaged in the palladium can easily be installed under-
design and construction of nitric acid plants neath the platinum catalyst. Combined
and ammonia combustion units. catalyst and catchment systems are also
The processes have been continually refined
in order to meet ever more stringent require- Nowadays, it is possible to manufacture
ments, particularly with regard to air pollution catalyst gauzes with a diameter of more
control and energy cost constraints. than 5.5 m. More than 1,500 tonnes per
day of nitric acid can be produced from a
The plants designed and constructed by single burner.
Uhde are characterised by high reliability,
profitability and on-stream time. Even larger burners can be manufactured;
the upper limit is dictated solely by trans-
Shutdown periods are now almost entirely port restrictions and flange machining.
limited to catalyst changes and equipment
inspections. The production of nitric acid takes place
in 3 process steps shown by the following
The number of follow-up orders Uhde re- main equations:
ceives bears witness to the satisfaction of
our customers. 1. Ammonia combustion
4 NH3 + 5 O2 4 NO + 6 H2O + 905 kJ

2. Oxidation of the nitric oxide

2 NO + O2 2 NO2 + 113 kJ

3. Absorption of the nitrogen dioxide in water

3 NO2 + H2O 2 HNO3+ NO + 116 kJ*

* The heat of reaction shown applies to the production

of acid with a concentration of 60% by wt.

The large photograph in the background shows the glowing

In practice, these three process steps can catalyst gauze in an ammonia burner.
be carried out in different ways, resulting
in several different nitric acid processes. The photograph on the left shows an ammonia burner of a
Modern nitric acid plants are designed ac- nitric acid plant built in 1924 and in operation until 1965.
The throughput was 0.1 t of nitrogen per day.
cording to the mono-pressure or the dual-
pressure process. In order to achieve a daily throughput of 20 tonnes of
nitrogen, 200 of these burners were formerly arranged in
Within the group of mono-pressure pro- parallel.
cesses, a distinction is made between the
medium-pressure process with a 4-6 bar
abs. operating pressure and the high-pres-
sure process which operates at 8-12 bar

The dual-pressure process employs a me-

dium pressure of approx 4-6 bar abs. for
Dual-pressure nitric acid plant:
ammonia combustion and a high pressure Two ammonia burners
of approx. 10-12 bar abs. for nitric acid
absorption. 1,850 mtpd HNO3 (100%)
corresponding to a burner load of
The optimum process is selected taking into 430 mtpd of nitrogen Abu Qir, Egypt
account the costs of feedstocks and util-
ities, energy and capital investment as well
as local conditions.

In compliance with stringent pollution abate-

ment requirements, it is possible to achieve
a NOX tail gas content of below 50 ppm.

Furthermore, emissions of nitrous oxide, an

unwanted by-product in the ammonia oxi-
dation step, can be reduced to a minimum
by appropriate catalyst-based methods.

4. The Uhde medium-pressure process

Nitric acid plant for SKW

in Wittenberg, Germany

Capacity: 350 mtpd HNO3 (100%)

(Mono medium-pressure)

The ammonia combustion unit was desi-

gned for a capacity equivalent to 500 mtpd
HNO3 (100%). It supplies the existing plant
for the production of highly concentrated
nitric acid with nitrous gases.

lowsheet of a medium-pressure
nitric acid plant
1 Reactor
2 Process gas cooler
3 Tail gas heater 3
4 Economizer
5 Cooler condenser & feedwater preheater
6 Absorption
7 Bleacher
8 Tail gas heater 1 & 2
9 Tail gas reactor
10 Ammonia evaporation & superheating
11 Turbine steam condenser

In this process, the air required for burning feasible if a second absorption tower is used. NOX content in the tail gas can be reduced
the ammonia is supplied by an uncooled The medium pressure process is the pro- by absorption to less than 500 ppm.
air compressor. The compressor set can be cess of choice when maximum recovery of
designed either as an inline train configura- energy is required. The air compressor is The NOX content has to be further reduced
tion or preferably as a bull gear type with usually driven by a tail gas expansion tur- to the required value by selective catalytic
an integrated tail gas turbine. bine and a steam turbine, the steam being reduction using a non-noble-metal catalyst
generated within the plant. If the credit for and ammonia as the reducing agent.
The operating pressure is governed by the exported steam is high then the compressor
maximum final pressure obtainable in an train can be driven by a high voltage syn- The medium-pressure process is charac-
uncooled compressor, i.e. 4-5 bar abs. in chronous or asynchronous electric motor terised by a high overall nitrogen yield of
the case of radial compressors and 5-6 rather than a steam turbine so that all the about 95.7% or 95.2% in conjunction with
bar abs. with axial flow compressors. steam generated can be exported. the tail gas treatment process, a low plati-
num consumption and a high steam ex-
Plant capacities of up to 500 mtpd of nitric With this plant type, it is possible to pro- port rate.
acid (100%) can be realised using a single duce one type of nitric acid with a max.
ammonia combustion unit and one absorp- concentration of 65% or two types of acid The catalyst gauzes only need to be changed
tion tower. Due to the process pressure, high- with different concentrations, e.g. 60% once every 6 months due to the low burner
er capacities of up to about 1,000 mtpd are nitric acid and 65% nitric acid, while the load.

Primary air
Tail gas


Tail gas
turbine WB
HP steam HP 2
steam NO gas
Steam Tail gas

Ammonia (gas)
Process water

11 3
Air CW
Secondary air
compr. WB

9 4 WB 6

LP steam BFW BFW


10 5 7
AW Acid Nitric acid
Ammonia (liquid) condensate product

5. The Uhde high-pressure process

In the high-pressure process, a radial multi- The NOX concentration in the tail gas can
stage compressor with an intercooler sec- belowered to less than 200 ppm by absorp-
tion is used to compress the process air to tion alone.
a final pressure of 8-12 bar abs. Prefer-
ably, the bull gear type with integrated tail If lower NOX values are required, an addi-
gas turbine is selected but alternatively an tional catalytic tail gas treatment unit can be
inline machine can be used. easily integrated. The nitrogen yield attained
by the high-pressure process is in the order
Due to the higher pressure, all equipment of 94.5%.
and piping can be of a smaller size and only
one absorption tower is required. For capacities below 100 mtpd, a low capital
investment cost may be much more prefer-
The arrangement of all equipment is very able to an optimum recovery of energy.
compact so that the building for the machine
set and the burner unit can be kept small, In such cases, Uhde can offer a greatly
but this does not pose a problem for main- simplified process which does not include
tenance work. tail gas and steam turbines. The heating of
the tail gas downstream of the absorption
This type of plant is always recommended section is not necessary. Special design
when a quick capital return is desirable. concepts for the process gas cooler unit,
condenser and bleacher reduce the cost
Plant capacities between 100 mtpd (100%) even further.
and 1,000 mtpd of nitric acid can be realised. lowsheet of a high-pressure
The operating pressure required by such a nitric acid plant
The achieved acid concentrations of up to process depends on the maximum permis- 1 Reactor
67% are slightly higher than with the me- sible NOX content in the tail gas. If the spec- 2 Process gas cooler
3 Tail gas heater 3
dium-pressure process. Two or more prod- ified NOX limit is below 200 ppm, a pressure
4 Economizer
uct streams with different concentrations of at least 7 bar abs. must be considered, 5 Cooler condenser & feedwater preheater
are likewise possible. depending on the cooling water temperature. 6 Absorption
7 Bleacher
The compressor may be driven by a steam Lower NOX values of less than 50 ppm can 8 Tail gas heater 1 & 2
9 Tail gas reactor
turbine or an electric motor. be achieved, if required, by integrating a
10 Ammonia evaporation & superheating
catalytic tail gas treatment process. Uhde 11 Turbine steam condenser
also provides a similar process without the 12 Air intercooler
ammonia evaporation and heat recovery
units for recovering acid from the waste gas
in, for example, adipic acid plants.

Two high-pressure nitric acid plants:

(left)  naex S.A., Mejillones, Chile

Capacity: 925 mtpd HNO3 (100%)

(right) Thai Nitrate Company,

Rayong, Thailand
Capacity: 210 mtpd HNO3 (100%)

Secondary air
Tail gas
Primary air
STH steam

Tail gas
turbine WB

HP steam HP 2
steam 8
turbine NO gas
Tail gas
Ammonia (gas)
Process water

Air CW

Air WB
12 9 4 6

LP steam BFW BFW

10 5 7
Acid Nitric acid
Ammonia (liquid) condensate product

6. The Uhde dual-pressure process

The dual-pressure process was developed set or optionally as a bull gear type unit
to accommodate ever more stringent envi- with integrated air/NOX compression and tail
ronmental pollution control requirements. gas expander stages. The inline machine
concept is favourable in the case of higher
The process air is compressed to a final plant capacities in excess of 1,100 mtpd up
pressure of 4-6 bar abs. to 2,200 mtpd or if an increased energy
export is required. For plant capacities in
The NO gas from the ammonia combustion excess of 1,500 mtpd the ammonia com-
unit is cooled in a heat exchanger train, pro- bustion and process gas cooler unit needs
ducing steam and preheating tail gas, and only to be duplicated.
then compressed to 10-12 bar abs in the
NOX compressor. The final pressure is se- The nitrogen yield in a plant of this type is
lected so as to ensure that the absorption more than 96% with a NOX content in the
section is optimised for the specified NOX untreated tail gas of less than 150 ppm (vol.)
content of the tail gas and that the com- being possible. The NOX content may be
pressors, driven by a steam turbine, can be further reduced to less than 50 ppm, if re-
operated using only the steam generated in quired, by selective catalytic reduction using
the process gas cooler unit while ensuring a non-noble-metal catalyst and ammonia
that some excess steam will always be as the reducing agent.
available in order to guarantee steady oper-
ating conditions at all times. Alternatively Acid concentrations of more than 68% can
the compressor set can be driven by either be achieved. (See also chapter 7: The Uhde
a high voltage asynchronous or synchro- azeotropic nitric acid process.) Two or more Flowsheet of a high-pressure nitric acid plant
nous motor and the steam generated can product streams with different concentrations 1 Reactor
be exported. The dual-pressure process are also possible. In addition, external streams 2 Process gas cooler
combines in an economical way the advan- of weak nitric acid (various concentrations) 3 Tail gas heater 3
4 Economizer
tages of the low pressure in the combustion can be processed if required.
5 Cooler condenser 1 & feedwater preheater
section and the high pressure in the absorp- 6 Tail gas heater 2
tion section. Plant capacities of up to 1,500 Due to the low burner load, the catalyst 7 Cooler condenser 2
mtpd of nitric acid (100%) can be achieved gauzes can remain in the burner for an oper- 8 Absorption
in a single-train configuration. The machine ating period of 6 to 8 months or longer be- 9 Tail gas heater 1
10 Tail gas reactor
set can be designed either as an inline-shaft fore being partially or completely replaced.
11 Ammonia evaporation & superheating
12 Ammonia evaporation
13 Bleacher
14 Turbine steam condenser

Two dual-pressure nitric acid plants:

(left) Abu Qir Fertilizers and Chemical Ind. Co.,

Abu Qir, Egypt
Capacity: 1,850 mtpd HNO3 (100%)
NOX in tail gas: less than 50 ppm as a result
of a catalytic tail gas treatment process

(right) Borealis AG, Linz, Austria

Capacity: 1,000 mtpd HNO3 (100%)
NOX in tail gas: less than 10 ppm
as a result of the Uhde N2O/NOX
abatement process EnviNOx

ant Secondary air

Primary air
1 6



HP 2 7 9
Air Air Tail gas steam NO gas
compr. Tail gas

Tail gas
Process water

turbine 3
Ammonia (gas)
compr. CW

14 10 4 WB 8
HP steam Condensate

Tail gas
LP steam BFW
LP steam
11 12 5 13
Ammonia (liquid) AW Acid Nitric acid
condensate product

7. The Uhde azeotropic nitric acid process

Azeotropic nitric acid with an elevated con- vide an external chilled water set. However,
centration of 68% by weight can replace this solution is expensive and energy con-
concentrated nitric acid in some applica- suming and would only be considered by
tions such as nitrations. Due to increased Uhde if all other measures prove insufficient.
market demand, Uhde has developed an
enhanced process for the reliable produc- The design of the absorption column is of
tion of azeotropic nitric acid without any particular importance especially for produc-
further weak nitric acid co-production. The ing azeotropic acid. At Uhde a sophisticated
basic process design is mainly an extended computer program is used to predict the
dual-pressure process. exact limits of acid concentration, heat loads,
NOX in tail gas, etc.
Important process features for the produc-
tion of azeotropic acid are, in addition to Another important feature of the Uhde azeo-
sufficient absorption pressure and cooling, tropic nitric acid process is the drying sec-
the overall water balance of the plant. Fur- tion for the secondary air. This air is used
thermore, the ratio of dinitrogen tetroxide to for stripping nitrous gases from the crude
nitric oxide in the process gas at the absorp- acid leaving the absorption unit. During this
tion tower inlet has to be adjusted to a level stripping process, the humidity of the sec-
that is in equilibrium with the acid concen- ondary air dilutes the product acid. The water
tration required. vapour in the secondary air is absorbed by
a small circulating stream of product acid in
To satisfy the overall water balance, it is a special drying section within the bleacher.
mandatory at some locations to eliminate Flowsheet of an azeotropic nitric acid plant
the water carried with the incoming air taken Taking the above into consideration, Uhde is 1 Reactor
in by the air compressor. The necessary able to offer individual customers tailor-made 2 Process gas cooler
measures depend on climatic conditions, in solutions for azeotropic nitric acid plants. 3 Tail gas heater 3
4 Economizer
particular air humidity and temperature. In
5 Cooler condenser 1 & feedwater preheater
the case of extreme conditions the installa- The equipment shown as an example is fully 6 Tail gas heater 2
tion of an additional air cooler/condenser integrated in Uhdes compact bull gear con- 7 Cooler condenser 2
operating partly with chilled water is recom- cept, which is applicable for capacities up 8 Absorption
mended. Normally in the Uhde dual-pres- to 1,100 mtpd. Above this capacity an inline 9 Tail gas heater 1
10 Tail gas reactor
sure process, there is an extra chilled water machine set is employed as shown on page
11 Ammonia evaporation & superheating
circuit linked to the ammonia evaporation. 13. The first pressure level delivered by the 12 Ammonia evaporation
This uses to a large extent the ammonia air compressor is advantageous for the am- 13 Bleacher
evaporation heat, especially in the absorp- monia combustion section, while the final 14 Turbine steam condenser
tion section, in order to establish the re- pressure delivered by the NOX compressor 15 Air condenser (optional)

quired acid strength and the NOX level at the promotes absorption and the formation of
absorption outlet. It is also possible to pro- azeotropic acid.

Two azeotropic nitric acid plants:

(left) BP Kln, Cologne, Germany

Capacity: 1,500 mtpd HNO3 (100%)

(right) Namhae Chemical Corporation

operated by HU-CHEMS, Yosu, Korea
Capacity: 1,150 mtpd HNO3 (100%)

Secondary air

Primary air
1 6

er 15 STH
Tail gas CW

compr. HP 2 7 9
steam NO gas
Tail gas

Tail gas
turbine Ammonia (gas)
Air Process water
HP steam

Steam 3
turbine CW

NOx WB 8
compr. 14 10 4

Tail gas
LP steam BFW
LP steam
11 12 5 13
Ammonia (liquid) AW
Nitric acid product

8. The Uhde N2O/NOX abatement process EnviNOx

Nitrous oxide (N20)also known as laugh- NOX is catalytically reduced to water vapour
ing gas- is formed in the ammonia burner and nitrogen:
as an unwanted by-product. Depending on
the performance of this burner around 1% 4NO + 4NH3+O2 4N2+ 6H2O + 1628 kJ
to 2% of the ammonia feed is lost in this
way, with a similar amount being lost due 3NO2 + 4NH3 7/2N2+ 6H2O + 1367 kJ
to the formation of nitrogen. The nitrous
oxide passes through the rest of the nitric Further removal of nitrous oxide also takes
acid plant unchanged and is discharged to place in this bed.
atmosphere with the tail gas.
For lower temperatures Uhdes solution is
Neglected for many years, nitrous oxide based on the catalytic reduction of nitrous
emissions are now coming under scrutiny oxide with hydrocarbons, such as natural
by regulators since nitrous oxide is a potent gas, combined with the reduction of NOX by
greenhouse gas some 300 times stronger ammonia. In most situations the removal of
than carbon dioxide and is implicated in both N2O and NOX can take place in paral-
the destruction of the ozone layer. lel in a single catalyst bed. The quantity of
the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, that is
Uhde, having at an early stage recognised produced due to the use of hydrocarbons is
this trend, have developed a catalyst and insignificant in comparison to the amount of
a process for the lowering of nitrous oxide greenhouse gas emission reduction that the
emissions from nitric acid plants. An added EnviNOx process achieves by the removal
bonus is that emissions of nitrogen mono- of nitrous oxide.
xide and dioxide (NOX) are also reduced.
In both EnviNOx process variants the tail
The Uhde EnviNOx nitrogen oxide abate-

gas leaving the reactor has a greatly re-
ment process features a tail gas reactor duced concentration of N2O. The low outlet
installed directly upstream of the tail gas NOX concentration is significantly smaller
turbine. Uhde has developed specific pro- than that commonly attained in conventional
cess variants to cater for the range of tem- DeNOX units, and results in an invisible stack
peratures found in different nitric acid plants. plume. The NOX reduction component is
The nitrous oxide decomposition variant is also available without the N2O removal com-
particularly suited to tail gas temperatures ponent and is applicable to temperatures
above about 420C. In this variant nitrous between about 200C and 500C.
oxide is decomposed to oxygen and nitro-
gen in a first catalyst bed. Uhdes EnviNOx technology is suited
equally well to retrofits or to new plants.
N20 N2 + O2 + 82 kJ As it is an end-of-pipe process there is no
contact with the product nitric acid or inter-
The tail gas is then mixed with ammonia mediate NO gas, thus eliminating any pos-
before entering the second bed in which sibility of product loss or contamination.

Uhde EnviNOx reactor at

Borealis AG, Linz, Austria
1,000 mtpd HNO3 (100%)

For more details, please refer to our

brochure: EnviNOx - Climate protection
solutions for nitric acid plants

Flowsheet of tail gas section of a nitric acid plant with EnviNOx reactor

Tail gas
Tail gas

Process water

Tail gas

Ammonia (gas)
1 3

NO gas CW

1 Absorption
2 Tail gas heating
3 EnviNOx combining
Nitric acid DeN2O and DeNOx


Flowsheet of tail gas section of a nitric acid plant with EnviNOx reactor
(for lower temperature applications)

Tail gas
Tail gas Ammonia (gas)

Process water

Tail gas

1 3

NO gas CW

1 Absorption
2 Tail gas heating
3 EnviNOx combining
Nitric acid DeN2O and DeNOx


The dual-pressure nitric acid plant in

Donaldsonville, Louisiana, USA.
Capacity: 870 mtpd HNO3 (100%)

9. Typical consumption figures

Plant type Medium-pressure High-pressure Dual-pressure

process process process

Operating 5.8 bar 10.0 bar 4.6/12.0 bar

pressure pabs

Ammonia 284.0 kg 286.0 kg 282.0 kg

Electric power 9.0 kWh 13.0 kWh 8.5 kWh

Platinum, 0.15 g 0.26 g 0.13 g

primary losses

with recovery 0.04 g 0.08 g 0.03 g

Cooling water 100 t 130 t 105 t

(t =10 K)
including water
for steam turbine condenser

Process water 0.3 t 0.3 t 0.3 t

LP heating steam, 0.05 t 0.20 t 0.05 t

8 bar, saturated

HP excess steam, 0.76 t 0.55 t 0.65 t

40 bar, 450 C
Table: Comparison of typical consumption figures for steam turbine-driven and inline compressor set nitric acid plants,
per tonne of nitric acid (100%), with a NOX content in the tail gas of less than 50 ppm
FL 130e/1500 04/2012 ThyssenKrupp Uhde/TK printmedia/ Printed in Germany

ThyssenKrupp Uhde
Friedrich-Uhde-Strasse 15
44141 Dortmund, Germany
Tel.: +49 231 5 47-0 Fax: +49 231 5 47-30 32