5N Plus Lübeck GmbH

5N Plus Lübeck GmbH

5N Plus Lübeck GmbH is a subsidiary of the Canadian 5N Plus Inc., a leading manufacturer of metal and chemical special products used in a wide range of pharmaceutical, electronic and industrial applications. The core business of 5N Plus Lübeck GmbH is the production of and trade in various bismuth chemicals.

Due to the nature of 5N Plus Lübeck GmbH’s core business - the production of bismuth chemicals - the firm’s wastewater contains bismuth residuals. Bismuth has similar properties as lead however it is not as toxic. Still, the municipal sewerage utilities required the company to reduce bismuth concentrations in the wastewater discharged into the sewerage system. Our aim was to:

  • develop a suitable gravity sedimentation procedure
  • develop a flocculation concept; introduce a procedure to filtrate suspended solids
  • develop a solution to recover bismuth after separating it from the wastewater
  • install suitable plant technology and build a new hall

Due to its high density bismuth is usually easy to filtrate from water, so we chose the gravity sedimentation method. Due to the very varied morphology of 5N Plus’s products, we also put a well thought-through flocculation concept and suspended solids filtration system in place as waiting for the suspended solids to settle would have taken too long. On top, our aim was to recover the bismuth from the wastewater and recycle it for reuse.

P.C.S. came up with a turn-key solution; in other words, apart from planning and installing the plant, we also built a new hall to house the plant equipment.

To implement the project, P.C.S. first developed the procedures and processes mentioned above. After that we ran a roughly one-year-long large-scale pilot test that allowed us to optimally monitor the results. In spite of the confined space we were able to integrate the wastewater treatment plant into the production location.

Since the start of plant operations, the mean bismuth elimination rate has stayed at 97%, which is substantially above the target set and considerably lower than the requirements of the regulatory authority.

After the successful implementation of the project, P.C.S. has continued to advise 5N Plus on how to optimise wastewater treatment and a range of other wastewater issues.

The plant was built in:

  • 2011 / 2012

Wastewater treatment capacity:

  • 500 m³/d

 Bismuth separation rate:

  • down to a residual concentration of < 30 ppm

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