Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


REGMAX Report Summary

Project ID: 744822

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - REGMAX (An innovative process for the regeneration of acids used in the steel pickling process)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2017-03-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Pickling is a metal surface treatment used by stainless steel manufacturers to remove impurities from steel and obtain optimal surfaces. The process uses mixtures of nitric and hydrofluoric acid however, this results in large amounts of waste acid. After pickling these acids need to be disposed or regenerated. Disposal of spent acid causes environmental problems and very high operation costs. Also regeneration of the acid causes high operation costs, burdens the environment and remains a problem not being solved satisfactorily until today. Sustec has developed the REGMAX system to overcome these issues by regenerating the waste acid and improving the efficiency of both the pickling line and resources used. The patented process enables impressive recovery rates for both nitric and hydrofluoric acids and metals. The process is applicable to all metal and acid concentrations and gives freedom of choosing the optimum pickling conditions for best pickling performance. The objectives of the feasibility study were to evaluate the system engineering required and address the necessary customisations for the pilot plant user. Sustec also aimed at securing a commercial partner for the pilot plant and sequential scale-up. The overall objectives for the innovation project are to carry out the engineering activities, commission the pilot plant and demonstrate its validity in continuous industrial conditions.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Sustec undertook a full analysis of both the technical and business potential of the acid regeneration system establishing early on the best way in which to commercialise the system (through direct sales of the plants) and calculating five year financial projections. Sustec analysed its current stage of development and the necessary engineering and scale-up activities required to achieve the market validation and build a strong reputation within the steel industry. In parallel, with these activities, Sustec established a sound industrialisation plan and addressed necessary risks and regulations that could delay the pilot plant implementation. Within the business feasibility, Sustec performed a detailed analysis of the number of customers and evaluated the reachable market based on ongoing discussion with key industry players and market trends.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The expected outcome is to scale-up the plant engineering and commercialise the first acid regeneration plant at the end of the Phase 2 project as a reliable and efficient alternative to acid regeneration plants currently available on the market. The REGMAX system will offer signifianct increases on acid regeneration rates and resource management offering steel manufacturers optimised processes, reduced environmental impact and cost savings. Sustec will also create jobs and boost economic growth for European SMEs and the overall steel industry.

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