Recovery of Catalyst Vapors From Foundry Cold Box Core MachinesEPA Contract Number: 68D00277
Title: Recovery of Catalyst Vapors From Foundry Cold Box Core Machines
Investigators: Wijmans, J. (Hans) G.
Small Business: Membrane Technology and Research Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Project Period: September 1, 2000 through September 1, 2002
Project Amount: $225,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2000) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , SBIR - Air Pollution , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Metal casting operations produce air streams containing 0.5 to 5 volume percent of various catalyst vapors. The source of these streams is the exhaust from cold box core machines. These streams are a serious pollution problem and are produced at more than 3,000 U.S. foundries. They also are a significant resource recovery opportunity - a large foundry may release catalyst vapors with a potential annual value of $500,000. The overall objective of this project is to develop a membrane process to recover and recycle the catalyst vapors. In favorable cases, the process can achieve simple payback times of 1 to 2 years due to the value of the recovered catalyst. In the Phase I project, suitable membranes were selected for the process. A technical design study and economic analysis were performed based on the measured membrane properties. In the proposed Phase II project, an existing pilot-scale membrane system will be modified to allow a catalyst recovery unit to be evaluated at a cooperating foundry.
If successfully developed, the process will be widely applied because current technology involves destruction of the catalyst vapors at a significant cost to plant operators. Initial users are likely to be foundries operating on a continuous basis, where significant amounts of catalyst could be recovered from a single machine. There are about 300 such foundries in the United States, and more overseas. The potential U.S. market is $50 million in these larger plants, with an industry-wide market of $100-200 million.