Supercritical Water Oxidation

General Atomics Advanced Chemical Processes has been developing Supercritical Water Oxidation (SCWO) technology since 1992 for treatment of a variety of military and industrial wastes – successfully utilized for both government and commercial customers worldwide.

Through thousands of hours of testing on a wide variety of hazardous materials, under the expertise of GA-Advanced Chemical Processes (APS), SCWO has been consistently proven to be extremely efficient at the complete destruction of organic compounds.

GA's SCWO advanced hazardous waste treatment technology that makes use of the unique properties of water at conditions above its thermodynamic critical point of 374°C (705°F) and 3,206 psi (pounds per square inch). At these supercritical conditions, organic materials, oxidation reactants, and oxidation products are miscible in water, thus allowing complete oxidation reactions to take place in relatively compact equipment and without significant mass transport limitations. The products of SCWO processing include CO2, H2O, and salts, with NOX, SOX, and particulate concentrations at or below detection limits, all without any post-treatment.

A major SCWO program was recently completed for the U.S. Army for destruction of the hydrolysis products resulting from the caustic neutralization of chemical agents GB, VX, and H contained in munitions stored at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) site in Richmond, Kentucky. GA's APS, part of the GA-Energy and Advanced Concepts Group, designed, fabricated, and tested three 1000-lb/hr SCWO units. These units were then delivered to the BGCAPP site for installation. These units will be instrumental in the final destruction of the chemical agent and energetics waste streams generated during munition destruction operations at the site.

Proven effective for commercial users

For commercial operations, GA has developed a modular SCWO design known as the industrial SCWO (iSCWO) system. The iSCWO system design was based on the same principles of operation as the larger-scale GA SCWO systems. With the modular concept, however, setup and operation of the iSCWO system is much simpler, and numerous components specific to chemical agent applications were removed, thus significantly reducing the overall system cost. GA was able to design the iSCWO system so that all equipment is mounted onto two equipment skids, a reactor skid and a high-pressure air compressor skid. The reactor skid fits inside a standard 25-ft shipping container and can be coupled to the compressor skid to begin waste processing within weeks of delivery to a site.

The iSCWO system can also be quickly and easily demobilized and moved from site to site to significantly expand the waste processing capabilities. Recently, two iSCWO units were delivered to a commercial customer for treatment of wastes generated during cleaning of heat exchangers at a nuclear power plant.

GA Advanced Chemical Processes Group – delivering waste destruction solutions to government and industry worldwide