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Radici eliminates nitrous oxide from operations

Emissions generated in manufacture of essential intermediate for synthesizing polyamide 6.6 successfully dealt with.

13th June 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Bergamo, Italy

Industrial, Sustainable

With four key business activities – chemical intermediates, polyamide polymers, high performance engineering polymers and advanced textile solutions – RadiciGroup has successively cut its greenhouse gas by 70%, from around 700,000 tons per year of CO2 equivalent to 200,000 tons.

This has been largely achieved through the actions implemented by the group’s speciality chemicals business at its plants in Italy and Germany which produce adipic acid – an essential intermediate for synthesizing polyamide 6.6.

The production process for it releases nitrous oxide as a by-product which in itself is not particularly problematic – in fact, it is used in the medical sector as an anaesthetic and in the food industry as a spray propellant, in cans of whipped cream, for instance – but when released into the atmosphere, it has a much higher greenhouse gas effect than carbon dioxide.

At the Radici Chimica site in Novara, Italy, a multi-year investment budget of over €10 million has been dedicated to lowering these emissions through three important initiatives.

In 2004, a three-catalyst bed reactor, designed and patented by the company, was put into operation to decompose nitrous oxide into nitrogen and oxygen, the two elements it is composed of making it innocuous for the atmosphere.

An EnviNOx plant was then installed in 2013 to decrease the release of nitrous oxide formed in the production of nitric acid.

A further improvement in the emissions abatement system associated with nitric acid production was made in 2021, and since its activation just nine months ago, more than 35,000 tons of CO2 equivalent have been further cut.

All the above-mentioned actions have enabled Radici Chimica Novara to record a nitrous oxide emissions level of less than 10 ppm, – a value close to zero.

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