Industrial waste disposal alternatives in the process of aromatic compounds in petrochemical industry (case study: Nouri petrochemical complex, Asaluyeh, Iran

Document Type : Original Research Paper


Department of Environmental Technologies, Environmental Sciences Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, P.O.Box. 1983963113, Iran.


Application of aromatic compounds has dramatically increased as raw materials in various industries and different factories have been established to produce aromatic compounds. The current research aims at characterizing industrial waste generation in aromatics production process in petrochemical industries and determining the best feasible alternative for waste disposal. For this purpose, the world’s biggest aromatic producer, i.e. Nouri Petrochemical Complex (NPC), located in Asaluyeh, Iran, has been selected as case study. Firstly, different waste streams, generated during aromatics production, have been determined through a specific checklist. Spent industrial soil, catalyst, spent sieve, and Normal­-Formyl­-Morpholine (NFM) solvent are the most important identified wastes in NPC, with the former being the most generated waste in NPC with a rate of 600 tons per year. Afterwards, the mentioned waste has been sampled and important physicochemical specification such as heavy metals and organic compounds has been measured. Ni, Cu, and As are remarkable trace heavy metals, observed in all kinds of generated waste. In the next step, industrial waste classification and coding has been done, based on different guidelines. Finally different feasible alternatives like material recovery, sanitary landfill, and incineration have been compared, based on conventional economic, technical, and environmental indices. The best feasible waste disposal methods are the extraction of heavy metals from spent catalysts, recycling of spent molecular sieves and spent industrial soil as additives to building materials, and recovery of thermal energy by incineration of spent NFM solvent.


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