Project GREEN PEAS Ended
R&D project aimed at the energy efficiency of company production processes and the construction by GREEN FIELD of production plants for solid potassium hydroxide, epichlorohydrin, acrylic acid and potassium sulphate.
Despite delays due to the health emergency, the project was successfully concluded in December 2020 the GREEN FIELD PEAS project with the implementation of the two pilot plants and the upgrading of the electrolysis lines in an “Industry 4.0” perspective.
The project was presented by ALTAIR CHIMICA S.P.A. as part of the settlement protocol and was admitted for funding by the Tuscany Region with Executive Decree no. 19494 of 21/12/2017 (certified on 26/01/2018).
CNR-ICCOM assisted the company in research and development activities as a qualified consultant, with particular reference to the design and development of the production processes of potassium sulphate and epichlorohydrin.
The potassium sulphate production process was particularly innovative because it allows the use of a by-product of other processes present in the Tuscany Region as a starting material, perfectly in accordance with the principles of the circular economy. The devised process allows the transformation of this waste into a high value product (potassium sulphate), which can be used in the soil improvers or fertilizers sector. The process was found to be perfectly integrated within the processes already present on the company site, representing a clear example of green innovation.
The construction of the pilot plant for the production of epichlorohydrin also followed the principles of circular economy using glycerol, the main waste compound in the production of biodiesel, as a starting substrate. By means of the chemical reactions studied in the CNR-ICCOM laboratories, the glycerol is initially chlorinated in a special reactor designed for the purpose and after a purification phase the intermediates are transformed into epichlorohydrin. The process has been optimized so as not to present drastic operating conditions such as high temperatures or high pressures and, above all, trying to avoid waste as much as possible. This allowed the construction of a particularly innovative pilot plant with a very low environmental impact.