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Bayer Industry Services showcases the efficient removal of mercury from flue gases


Leverkusen – Bayer Industry Services (BIS) is presenting efficient and cost-effective technology for the removal of mercury from flue gases during the “Woche der Umwelt”, which will take place at the Schloss Bellevue park in Berlin on June 5 and 6, 2007. “The new BIS method allows mercury to be removed from flue gases to a level of up to 99.99 percent,” explains Dr. Walter Leidinger, Head of BIS Environmental Services. “This represents an important contribution to efforts to reduce global pollution of the food chain by this substance.” Bayer, along with other companies, has already applied for a patent for this method. “We are naturally very proud to now also be able to present this method at this exclusive event in Berlin,” says Leidinger.

In total, around 180 pre-selected companies will be taking part in the exhibition of innovative environmental technologies at the official residence of the Federal President. The “Woche der Umwelt” is an initiative set up by the Federal President Horst Köhler and is jointly organized by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) [German Federal Foundation for the Environment]. This is the third time the initiative has taken place, following its success in 2002 and 2004. According to the organizers of the event, the project presentations are intended to provide an overview of the scope and diversity of work in the fields of environmental technology, research and education and illustrate the relevance for the future of these themes. Around 10,000 guests are expected from the areas of business, politics, science and society.
The new flue gas purification method from Bayer Industry Services works as follows: the water-insoluble metallic mercury in the flue gas of incinerators is converted into mercury bromide through the precisely metered addition of a surprisingly small amount of a bromine-containing compound into the incineration process. Leidinger: “This gaseous compound not only has a good degree of solubility in water, it can also be easily separated onto activated carbon. Following flue gas scrubbing the dissolved mercury bromide is converted during the subsequent wastewater treatment into a more environmentally friendly mercury compound that is insoluble in water. This is then deposited securely at a hazardous waste landfill, thus ensuring the mercury does not enter the the global atmosphere.”

Previously, activated carbon filters were generally used in incinerators to prevent mercury from being released into the environment. Although this solution corresponds to the current state of the art, it is expensive. In contrast, the new approach being adopted by Bayer Industry Services only requires a small amount of investment and has low operating costs. “This investment is redeemed after just a short period of time due to the considerably lower operating costs,” says Leidinger.

Bayer Industry Services already purifies flue gases from mercury in this manner. Moreover, in Germany the method will be implemented in a large slurry incinerator which will generate annual savings there of EUR 300,000. In addition, licensing agreements have been concluded in the USA with the plant developer ALSTOM-ECS and the energy provider Southern Company Services. Vosteen Consulting is exclusively responsible for the worldwide distribution of licenses. During his time as an employee at Bayer, Professor Bernhard Vosteen was the principal inventor of this method.

As recently discovered, it would have been possible to see this very method being used in Nature: When the ice melts in the Arctic in the spring, radical halogens in the upper atmosphere such as chlorine or bromine are released and react with the metallic mercury that has ascended to this height. The compounds resulting from this are washed out by the rain. However, in the natural world, the food chain unfortunately lies at the end of this process, and not a hazardous waste landfill, as in the case of BIS.

As a joint venture between Bayer AG and LANXESS AG, Bayer Industry Services (BIS) is the operator of the Bayer Chemical Park network with sites in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen. In addition to Bayer AG’s three operational subgroups and LANXESS AG, more than 60 manufacturing and service companies enjoy the benefits of being located in Germany’s largest chemical park network. With around 5,700 employees, BIS provides ideal conditions for business with a variety of integrated product networks and a comprehensive service portfolio. These include environmental services, logistics and technical services, environmental protection and safety, utilities, waste management, analytics and vocational training. BIS also offers some of these services to customers outside of the Chemical Parks.


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