A Chemical Process to Treat Spent Potliners and Produce Several Recyclable Commercially Valuable Products

EPA Contract Number: 68D40056
Title: A Chemical Process to Treat Spent Potliners and Produce Several Recyclable Commercially Valuable Products
Investigators: Lucas, Paul J.
Small Business: Vortec Corporation
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 1994 through March 1, 1995
Project Amount: $54,878
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1994) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , SBIR - Waste , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


In the manufacture of aluminum, a carbon-based liner acts as the cathode for the electrolysis process which reduces alumina to aluminum. This liner degrades during the production process, and the resultant waste, spent potliner(SPL), is defined as a listed (K088) hazardous waste. Approximately 110,000 metric tons/year of this hazardous waste must be disposed of in the U.S. Vortec proposes to develop a chemical process to remove the cyanides, fluorides and heavy metals from the SPL, leaving a material rich in carbon, alumina and silica. The proposed chemical process will also allow for the separate recovery of aluminum fluoride and heavy metals, as well as the destruction of the cyanides.

During Phase I, Vortec will perform laboratory testing of the acidic extraction of cyanides, fluorides, and heavy metals from SPL and the destruction of cyanides by ozonation. The testing will focus on the parameters which control the extraction and oxidation processes. Phase II of the program will concentrate on the design, construction and testing os a laboratory-scale unit to verify the effectiveness of the proposed chemical process. The Phase II program will also develop a preliminary commercial system design, and its life cycle cost.

Supplemental Keywords:

Leaching Extraction, Acidic Extraction, Ozonation, Spent Potliner, Cyanide, Ferrocyanide, Hazardous Waste, Recycling., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Sustainable Industry/Business, Chemical Engineering, Environmental Chemistry, Sustainable Environment, Chemistry, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Hazardous Waste, Chemistry and Materials Science, Hazardous, Environmental Engineering, spent potliner (SPL), cyanide, metal recovery, aluminum fluoride, cyanide destruction by ozonation, acidic extraction, heavy metals

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final