VPSA-O2 Plant (6,000Nm3/h,85%) for Oxygen-Enriched Side Blowing Furnace——Another Cooperation with HUADING COPPER


1. Fifth Collaboration for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development

In January 2020, a project agreement of the VPSA oxygen plant (6,000Nm3/h,85%) with Baotou Huading Copper Development Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Huading Copper) was successfully signed. Pioneer will equip the oxygen system for oxygen-enriched side-blowing furnace for the recycling project of precious metal residues and beneficiation tailings. This is the 5th set of VPSA oxygen plant undertaken by Pioneer for Huading Copper, and the cumulative VPSA oxygen production capacity will be reaching 22,900Nm3/hr (85%) with the addition of the four oxygen units previously built for oxygen-enriched combustion supporting in copper smelting.

Huading Copper currently has a crude copper smelting production line of annual output of 100,000 tons, which was planned to be expanded to 120,000 tons per year through technological improvement. To this end, Huading Copper plans to construct a new side-blown furnace smelting system to process rare and precious metal slag, and part of the mineral processing tailings and copper-containing miscellaneous materials to utilize mining slags and improve industrial chains.

In recent years, the oxygen-enriched side-blowing furnace smelting process has been widely used in secondary metals with enormous application cases, especially for the treatment of polymetallic wastes such as copper and lead-containing scrap metals. In 2019, Pioneer set up 3 oxygen plants (also for oxygen-rich side-blowing furnace) for a solid waste treatment project in Lanxi of Zhejiang Province whose total oxygen volume hits 11,000Nm3/hr. In view of practical application cases, VPSA oxygen production technology can fully meet the application needs for industrial hazardous waste recycling and resource reuse with low investment, which is proved to be an economically feasible and preferred choice. Pioneer has a wealth of engineering experience with over 30 oxygen production projects in industrial hazardous waste management, secondary lead smelting and other industries. We can optimize the production process and promote cost reduction and efficiency improvement according to the specific oxygen requirements of the clients.

Once completed, Huading Copper will be capable of treating 50,000 tons of beneficiation tailings and 100,000 tons of copper-containing materials annually, thus helping to improve the comprehensive utilization of copper-containing hazardous waste slags, which is of great significance to the company's management.

2. Technological Innovation Helps to Achieve Win-Win Cooperation

The in-depth cooperation between Huading Copper and Pioneer began in 2004. Through the united development in the past 16 years, the two have established a long-term stable relationship based on mutual trust and benefit, and have witnessed each other's technological progress and diversified business development.

On December 15, 2004, Huading Copper's 1st phase of  30,000-ton crude copper and 115,000-ton sulfuric acid project was completed and put into operation. Pioneer's first VPSA oxygen plant (3,500Nm3/hr/80%) for the project adopts an axial-bed adsorber loaded with our first-generation lithium-based oxygen adsorbent. The power consumption for pure oxygen generation is 0.37kWh/m3, standing in the leading position of domestic VPSA oxygen production technology at that time.

At the end of 2011, Huading Copper eliminated all the above production lines (30,000 tons of crude copper and 115,000 tons of sulfuric acid) and newly launched 100,000 tons copper smelting project using oxygen-enriched bottom-blowing furnace with the technology promoted by China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and Ministry of Science and Technology. In 2010 and 2013 respectively, Pioneer provided another 2 sets of VPSA oxygen units with the total oxygen capacity goes up to approx. 7,500 Nm3/hr for the technical transformation. In the phase II and  III of the project, the oxygen output per ton increased by 15% with the pure oxygen power consumption of 0.34kWh/m3 in that the system adopted the third-generation upgraded lithium-based adsorbent after years away from the 1st phrase, as a result of which the oxygen plant was also provided with higher reliability.

In October 2015, Huading Copper upgraded the "double bottom blowing" continuous copper smelting technology, after which the annual production achieved 100,000 tons of crude copper and 450,000 tons of sulfuric acid while the comprehensive energy consumption of the crude copper smelting process reduced to <150kg of standard coal per ton of copper with increased SO2 concentration and lessened flue gas amount. After washing & purification of dilute acid, double conversion and absorption process effectively reduce the SO2 concentration in the tail gas, thus achieving energy saving and emission reduction evidently.

In 2017, with more equipment for production line coming in succession, Pioneer continued to offer the 4th set of oxygen plant (5,900Nm3/h, 85%). Different from the previous plants, radial-flow adsorption vessels were equipped and the pure oxygen power consumption decreased to 0.32kWh/m3. Less valves made the maintenance simpler and more convenient. Owing to the stricter national requirements for intelligence and efficiency of industrial equipment manufacturing technology, the optimization and upgrading of equipment and processes was also accelerated, which is fully reflected by various comprehensive running indicators.

3. Creating Demonstration Projects to Promote Economic Development

In February 2019, Huading Copper started the technological ungrading project of full bottom-blowing furnace continuous copper smelting, which is characterized by advancement, maturity, high automation, safety and environmental friendliness. On July 1, 2019, the technical transformation wound up and was smoothly put into production. At the end of 2019 soon afterwards, Huading Copper started a technological reformation project for polymetallic recovery where oxygen was in short, Pioneer ushered in the fifth cooperation with Huading Copper.

Once reaching the designed capacity, Huading Copper could achieve an annual income of about over $71.6 million with taxes of over $4.29 million, thus driving the advancement of related industries such as waste circuit board disassembly, copper processing, transportation and storage, commercial & trade materials recovery, etc, and effectively demonstrating for the promotion of local economic development and the utilization of rare and precious metal residues. Positive contributions to environmental protection and regional economic development could be made subsequently.

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