Solar Impulse Foundation grants Solvay’s exhaust gas treatment system its Efficient Solution label

SOLVAir®, Solvay’s solution for cleaning industrial exhaust gases, has received the Solar Impulse Foundation’s World Alliance for Efficient Solutions label, making it the Group’s second product to be recognized as one that helps to sustainably create a healthier environment.

How can highly polluting facilities such as power plants, waste incinerators and even ships safely and reliably reduce their emissions of noxious acid gases? SOLVAir® provides an innovative solution with significant results: Dry Sorbent Injection (DSI).

SOLVAir® answers the pressing issue of atmospheric pollution by preventing the dissemination of harmful gases in the air. It is therefore an extremely positive solution from an environmental perspective.

Guy-Noël Sauvion, Fellow Scientist, Research & Innovation, Solvay

Harnessing the power of sodium bicarbonate

The principle is quite straightforward: A sodium-based sorbent is injected straight into the exhaust, where it reacts with the noxious molecules generated by combustion (in what’s called flue gases) such as Hydrochloric Acid (HCl), Sulfur Trioxide (SO3), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), but also dioxins, particulates and heavy metals. The resulting sodium chemicals can then be easily captured by a filter and removed from the facility’s emissions with rates that can reach up to 99% for SOX, for example.

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SOLVAir®’s DSI comes with a series of added benefits: sodium bicarbonate is completely safe product, environmentally and health-wise (so safe it’s edible!); the resulting sodium-based salts can be recycled at Solvay’s specialized facilities (to re-enter the soda ash manufacturing process); and customers can enjoy significant energy recovery and cost reductions.


Noxious gas reduction: environmental & business sustainability combined

Because of all this, the Solar Impulse Foundation, created by Bertrand Piccard, the Swiss pilot who in 2016 flew around the world powered only by solar energy, added SOLVAir® to its list of Efficient Solutions, a selection of 1,000 products, services and technologies “that protect the environment in a profitable way.”

This is the second time a Solvay solution has been awarded the World Alliance’s label, following the bio-based and non-toxic biostimulant Agrho GSB® earlier this year. “The selected solutions have to be technologically viable, scientifically proven and liable to be economically successful, on top of having an undeniable environmental benefit,” explains Guy-Noël Sauvion, Fellow Scientist at Solvay’s Research & Innovation department, and as such, one of the experts who take part in the assessment of candidate solutions for the Foundation’s labeling. “Thanks to our Sustainable Portfolio Management system (SPM), Solvay is well positioned to submit technologies and services likely to be labeled as Efficient Solutions, and conversely, the Foundation provides us with an external and objective point of view on our solutions, which is always beneficial.”

SOLVAir®’s Dry Sorbent Injection system is currently implemented in a wide range of facilities around the world, from cement factories to coal power plants and waste-to-energy facilities (waste incineration plants that produce electricity). It enables operators to meet and even surpass increasingly stringent emissions regulations while increasing their energy efficiency. “As it answers the pressing issue of atmospheric pollution by preventing the dissemination of harmful gases in the air, SOLVAir® is an extremely positive solution from an environmental perspective, so it fully deserves its place as an Efficient Solution,” adds Guy-Noël.

This year, it’s also being tested for the first time on water: the Piana, a ship of the ferry company La Méridionale, which connects the French island of Corsica to the mainland, was equipped in the Spring of 2019 with the world’s first seaborne dry scrubber in order to see how the system behaves at sea. This is an experiment closely monitored by the marine industry, which is going to have to deal with radically more stringent regulations in terms of its sulfur dioxide emissions as soon as 2020. SOLVAir®’s objective is to remove no less than 99% of SOX and particle emissions from the Piana’s exhaust gases.