-- The Home Page of the Finishing Industry
A website for Serious Education, promoting Aloha,
& the most FUN smiley you can have in metal finishing

topic 30044

Scrubbing of NOx fumes

A discussion started in 2004 & continuing through 2017


Q. Dear Sir,

I'm working for a company refining 200 kg pure gold from 350 kg scrap per day. I have a problem with NOx abatement.Our scrubbing system is not sufficient. When I open the lid of the process bottle(has volume about 350 liter being heated and involving aqua regia and scrap) no NOx evolving occurs. Does it make any problem with dissolving gold or dissolving time. If yes how can NOx can be removed. I will appreciate any suggestion.

Thank u.

Ahmed Has
chemical engineer - Istanbul, Turkey


A. Hi Ahmed ! Oh dear ! You sure do have a problem, eh.

I've known a very competent chemical engineer with extensive mass transfer knowledge fail when dealing with nitric emissions (faucet Company) ... and yet, on very minor but mixed acid emissions, a brown so-called NOx cloud emerged which, to my utter surprise, was knocked out by using a simple 12 micron blade type mist eliminator.

Your application is the worst. Pure NOx, I believe.

One method is to SLOW the airflow down CONSIDERABLY to achieve a languid retention time. Then to add to it minor amounts of air (i.e., oxygen). In theory pure oxygen but that is not practical. Then and then only allow the fumes to enter the scrubber. As a rider I'd suggest you at least install a good eliminator after that scrubber ... but the pretreatment of a very slow air movement with the addition of small amounts of 'fresh' air is a prerequisite.

I believe that an Italian Company (A.J.M. Vieri ?) has this knowledge. From the hot glass retorts the low CFM airflow went into a 3" diameter header and THEN into a 12" dia x 10 feet long (or longer, I forget)vertical tube which had mini valves allowing fresh air to be sucked in ... THEN this 12" dia tube was joined to 8, yes, EIGHT other identical tubes to achieve a long but SLOW air movement in order for some of the NOx compounds to have time enough to reconvert from NO to N02 ... which is scrubbable.

I hope that this will help you! Let me know if it does.

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

(It is our sad duty to
advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).


A. Dear Ahmed,

You need to take a good look at your whole system, some modifications in the digestion of the gold scrap may help limit the amount NOx emissions as follows;

*Add the measured amount of HCl to your vessel with the scrap gold and let it heat up.
*Meter in the measured amount of HNO3 slowly over a 4 hour period as this will help control the reaction rate and minimize the peak emissions, avoid using excess HNO3.
*Use a condenser on the digestion vessel exhaust to capture acid vapors and return them to the vessel. You will often find metal values in the returned liquid.
*Use a minimum amount of speed on your scrubbing system to create the longest possible residence time in your fume scrubber. If you are venting your whole refinery with one high speed scrubber, consider getting a separate scrubber for the concentrated fume and run it at the slowest speed possible.
*Better control of reaction times will help reduce NOx emissions.

You may want to check the sponsors of this website for advice and help with your problem. It is often wise to hire a consultant rather than trying to reinvent the wheel,it can be cheaper in the long run.

Good luck & Best regards,

Jim Sivertsen
Refining & Alloys - Alden, New York


A. Dear Mr. Ahmed,

Ya, you have a problem of NOx emission. the brownish fumes can be controlled by the following method.

You calculate the NOx generation during your process.
You connect the duct to a scrubber, which diameter should have less than 2 mtr/sec velocity of your air flow.
Try to add atmospheric air thru openings.
Add filter media not less than 3/4th of scrubber height.
And finally use mist eliminator.
This will definitely solve your problem.

Ramesh Miyyapur
- Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, lndia

October 14, 2010

Q. Hi Rameshi Miyyapur,
Your response is quite interesting. I am working on a plant where we are purifying gold with NOx Acid. The fumes are posing a serious environmental and safety hazard. I am more than keen to implement your method. Can you recommend a mist eliminator which can do the gracd. What type of flux solution is to used in these mist eliminators?

Sylvester Mwape
- solwezi, Zambia

March 15, 2012 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I'm looking for a way to scrub fumes from brass dissolving in nitric acid. I have a small shop where we need to dissolve chunks of brass occasionally but will need to do it more frequently so just leaving it outside is not an option anymore. Our chemist advisor says the fumes are basically the same as what causes smog. Any suggestions how to deal with that?

Steve Van Damme
- Vlodrop, Limburg, Netherlands

June 20, 2017

Q. Hi All,
I want to buy a scrubber for nitric acid fumes generated in acid tank.
Whether NaOH (Caustic lye) would be a best neutralising agent for the same to recirculate in scrubber?

Abhijit Katake
- Pune,Maharashtra, India

This public forum has 60,000 threads. If your question seems off topic to this thread, you might prefer to Search the Site

ADD a Q or A to THIS thread START a NEW THREADView This Week's HOT TOPICS

Disclaimer: It's not possible to diagnose a finishing problem or the hazards of an operation via these pages. All information presented is for general reference and does not represent a professional opinion nor the policy of an author's employer. The internet is largely anonymous & unvetted; some names may be fictitious and some recommendations may be deliberately harmful.

  If you need a product/service, please check these Directories:

Jobshops  Capital Equip. & Install'nChemicals & ConsumablesConsult'g, Train'g, SoftwareEnvironmental ComplianceTesting Svcs. & Devices

©1995-2017     -    Privacy Policy
How Google uses data when you visit this site.