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Project converts gases into cash flow.

New state-of-the-art technology is bringing Inco Ltd. closer to its goal of reducing sulphur dioxide emissions from its Sudbury operations.

Under Inco's SO2 Abatement Project a $115-million fluid bed roaster(FBR) off-gas scrubbing technology facility will reduce sulphur dioxide emissions from its Sudbury operations by 34 per cent.

The equipment could be on line as early as this fall.

"There is testing going on and so far things look positive," says Angie Robson, Inco's public affairs specialist.

The FBR is part of the smelting process where nickel sulphide is roasted to make nickel oxide feed for carbonyl refining. It is said to lower emissions to 66 kilotonnes by 2015.

The SO2 Abatement Project will take the total allowable emissions given off by Inco, which is 265 kilotonnes, and reduce it to 175 kilotonnes annually.

Karen Hardy, the commissioning team leader, says it takes a lot of effort to find the right technology and tools to ensure everything is on track. The project is in the commissioning and learning phase where workers at the new plant are being instructed on how to utilize the infrastructure.

"Inco takes safety seriously," says Hardy.

"Even now during a shutdown we are doing small changes, which is why we do a shutdown so we can refine this," says Hardy.

Part of the plant's operation includes the quench tower where the gas is cooled by water. Hardy explains that before the FBR was built, gases used to flow right to the smokestacks. Now, these steps turn gases into sulphuric acid, which can then be sold to wholesale manufacturers.

Robson believes this new facility may set a precedent for other industrial companies, and added that since the 1980s, Inco has spent close to $1 billion in environmental initiatives.

The Ministry of Environment has stated that in 2000, the biggest source of SO2 emissions in Ontario alone was from smelters, falling in at 42 per cent.

SO2 is a colourless gas that smells like burnt matches and is said to cause (from high exposure) respiration illnesses, cardiovascular disease and changes in lung defense.

According to the Ministry of Environment, SO2 also causes formation of microscopic acid aerosols, which have serious health implications as well as contribute to climate change.

Sean Primeau, a foreman for Cecchetto and Sons, completed most of the excavation of the plant site.

The goal in 2015 to reduce emissions to 66 kilotonnes is feasible, Hardy says.

"I think it is possible, but the planning would have needed to have started now and it has."


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Author:Hoddinott, Heather
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Aug 1, 2006
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