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Effects of foaming and antifoaming agents on the performance of a wet flue gas desulfurization pilot plant



Foaming is a common phenomenon in industrial processes, including wet flue gas desulfurization (FGD) plants. A systemic investigation of the influence of two foaming agents, sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) and egg white albumin (protein), and two commercial antifoams on a wet FGD pilot plant operation has been carried out. Foaming caused by 0.03 g SDS/(L slurry) reduced the desulfurization degree from 84 to 74% and the solids and limestone concentrations of the slurry from 58 to 48 g/(L slurry) and from 1.4 to 1.0 g/(L slurry), respectively. These effects were attributed to the foaming transferring small particles to the foam layer present on top of the slurry in the holding tank. The addition of 0.03 g antifoams/(L slurry) to SDS foam eliminated the foam, but the desulfurization degree remained low. Potential mechanisms for the observed behavior are analyzed. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 60: 2382–2388, 2014