The largest single environmental investment in Greater Sudbury is now complete. Vale celebrated the completion of its $1-billion Clean Atmospheric Emissions Reduction project on Friday, achieving an 85-per-cent reduction in previous sulphur dioxide emissions and a 40-per-cent reduction in metal particulate emissions.
Dave Stefanuto, director of projects for Vale’s North Atlantic Operations, said the completion of the has been 10 years in the making, and was no small undertaking. This size and scope of the project was massive, considering the company continued to operate with no interruptions.
“We began in earnest in 2008, and broke ground in 2012, but the project has evolved over the years,” Stefanuto said. “We decided to move to a single furnace operation in 2013, which resulted in a greater reduction in emissions we had originally estimated.”
There are three core elements to the project: new converters in the smelter facility; the new wet gas cleaning plant, and; a new secondary baghouse facility.
The new converters improve containment and capture the sulphur dioxide from the converting process in the smelter. They send the captured SO2 to the new wet gas cleaning plant, where cutting-edge technology has resulted in a reduction of SO2 emissions by 85 per cent.
The new baghouse facility acts like a giant vaccum cleaner and will reduce metals particulate emissions by 40 per cent, Vale said. Two new stacks — measuring 137 metres in height — have also been built on the property, and will be more efficient to operate than the Superstack. As well, natural gas consumption will drop by about half of what is currently used to power the Superstack once those stacks are commissioned.
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