Nitric acid is produced as a basic component in nitrate fertilizers using a process called ammonia oxidation (Ostwald process). Ammonia and air are routed over platinum gauzes heated to 900°C, producing nitrogen oxide that bonds with water to create nitric acid. This chemical reaction requires up to six meters of round gauzes made from platinum alloys. Heraeus has been a leading producer of these precious metal catalysts worldwide for more than 100 years. During the ammonia oxidation process, nitrous oxide emerges in a secondary reaction. Heraeus’ patented FTC1 gauze systems are already reducing nitrous oxide emissions by up to 50%. However, a special catalyst system installed downstream can further reduce emissions by up to 95%.
Heraeus is installing this reduction technology in existing nitric acid plants around the world. Each retrofitted plant brings us one step closer to sustainable climate and environmental protection and will help us reach the climate targets! The system can be adapted to specific customer requirements and allows existing reactors to be retrofitted at a reasonable cost.