In dealing with metal-bearing spent catalyst, metals reclamation is one solution. There are a number of different metals reclamation options for these materials and finding the appropriate one can be challenging. If the catalyst is hazardous waste, which includes all spent hydrotreating catalyst from refining operations, it must go to an appropriately permitted facility. There are a number of these facilities in the United States and some generators even choose to export the hazardous waste as is. Amlon Resources Group covered many of the shipping issues in its August article for BIC Magazine (pg. 109).
If the catalyst is not hazardous waste, the choices can be even trickier as many recyclers do not have specific permits. Also, there are some facilities that only pre-process materials, making them suitable for their final consuming destination. The task of examining and understanding these many varying options can be daunting.
Factors in choosing an appropriate spent catalyst recycle path include reclaim and recovery economics, metals com-position and valuation, tramp elements and contaminants, volume, moisture and many other criteria. Understanding these variables and knowing the capabilities of the facilities is a major undertaking and is the mission and focus of Amlon Resources Group.
Spent catalyst treatment and consuming facilities ought to be audited and visited to ensure there are no major environmental issues. There are organizations that provide such audit services and sell complete audit results for many facilities. Most reputable facilities provide their own audit packages. Audits can be done on site as well for most plants, but this is time consuming and costly for all parties, especially for overseas sites. Regulations vary from country to country and worldwide standards are not in place.
In many cases, a catalyst changeout will include a variety of different catalyst types with a range of metals and metal concentrations. If the metal(s) of interest are not the same for each catalyst, it is unlikely to be suited for the same end user. In these situations, it can be very time consuming to determine the best recycle path and consuming works for each of the catalyst involved.
End users can change their habits as well. For instance, a buyer of one type of metal grade catalyst may change their specifications or perhaps even stop taking materials for certain periods. Metal prices can bring new players into the market or remove them from the market. It can be quite complicated and it takes significant time and effort to keep up on all the issues surrounding metals reclamation from spent catalyst.
Choose carefully and work with your vendor so you are comfortable with how your catalyst is being managed. Provide appropriate backup paperwork to eliminate dangers in handling all your materials. Ask questions so you understand the process.
Amlon Resources Group has been managing spent catalyst for more than 30 years. The company has a reliable network of transporters, treatment facilities and sub-contracted end users. Amlon Resources Group can help you get through the maze of regulations and paperwork to provide you with a cost-effective reclaim solution for all your metal-containing spent catalyst.
For more information, visit www.amlonresources.com or call (212) 685-4456.