Using technology that was jointly developed by the CSIRO and SRL Plasma (a division of Siddons Ramset), Lycopodium constructed and commissioned the plant to enable the client to carry out trials using halon. Lycopodium also designed and constructed the fixed pipework used to recover the halon from cylinders then convey it to a tank farm and the destruction skid.
The skid-mounted process plant built by Lycopodium was of a complex and compact design with special features and details to handle the high pressures, high temperatures, unusual chemical mixtures and the nuances of the halon destruction process.
The process uses a plasma arc, a steam boiler and a quench using caustic soda to destruct halons and chlorinated fluorocarbons (CFCs). An argon plasma arc is generated at 10,000℃ using a special 200 kW unit which was developed by Siddons Ramset. The plasma arc atomises the halons or CFCs which are then mixed with steam from an electric boiler. The gas mixture is rapidly cooled by an internal primary cooling circuit using a cooling tower-mounted off the skid. The cooled gas is then quenched using caustic soda, at a controlled pH, which creates a salt solution. The salt solution is circulated with the caustic quench solution and discharged to sewer in a controlled manner via an effluent tank. The quenched gas is then scrubbed and vented to atmosphere.
Lycopodium also designed and installed all electrical and control aspects of the halon destruction system. This included monitoring the quality of the liquid and gas discharges from the system.
This facility received the 1998 award for “Plant of the Year” from the Society of Chemical Industries.