Nitrolee History of failed electro-chemical Plant

1,584 views

Published on

Published in: Technology
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
1,584
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
6
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
4
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Nitrolee History of failed electro-chemical Plant

  1. 1. Nitolee - Catawba River near Great Falls, SCA failed plan to use excess hydroelectric power to make fertilizer.
  2. 2. One source for nitrogen where the Chile saltpeter (NaNO 3), depositsthat accounted for more than 60% of the worlds supply for most of the 19th century. Other sources of nitrogen such as guano were discovered periodically, but were usually depleted within a few years. Ammonia and nitrates were also produced from the destructive distillation of coal and as industrial by-products of other chemical processes. Fertilizer with high nitrogen content provided good crop yield. These inorganic fertilizer elements were all originally extracted from mineral deposits. Deposits of phosphate rocks and potash have been mined and used to provide sources of phosphorus and potassium. The only large mineral source of nitrogen, were Chilesaltpeter (NaNO3) deposits. Using a fertilizer with high nitrogen content provided good crop yield. The use of ammonia in fertilizer has made itthe second most important chemical in the United States. It is the most important source of nitrogen in fertilizers today
  3. 3. One source for nitrogen where the Chile saltpeter (NaNO 3), depositsthat accounted for more than 60% of the worlds supply for most of the 19th century. Other sources of nitrogen such as guano were discovered periodically, but were usually depleted within a few years. Ammonia and nitrates were also produced from the destructive distillation of coal and as industrial by-products of other chemical processes. Fertilizer with high nitrogen content provided good crop yield. These inorganic fertilizer elements were all originally extracted from mineral deposits. Deposits of phosphate rocks and potash have been mined and used to provide sources of phosphorus and potassium. The only large mineral source of nitrogen, were Chilesaltpeter (NaNO3) deposits. Using a fertilizer with high nitrogen content provided good crop yield. The use of ammonia in fertilizer has made itthe second most important chemical in the United States. It is the most important source of nitrogen in fertilizers today
  4. 4. In the early years of the 20th century, when the central Piedmont wasgrowing, some men had plans to become industrial giants, almost allwaterfalls and rapids along the larger rivers were thought of as dam sitesand how many horsepower could be installed at a particular location. AtNitrolee, where Fishing Creek flows into the Catawba River, was anundeveloped waterfall of 20,000 hp. Duke Power planned to build ahydroelectric power plant there and did in 1916.Also Duke Power’s Southern Electro-Chemical Company started in 1911, butnever finished, an electric arc plant to manufacture 4000 t/yr. of Ca 2NO3 toreplace Chilean sodium nitrate deposits a resource that was limited andsubject to monopoly pricing. The process designed to use an electric arc, thenitrogen in air, plus water, sulfuric acid and limestone (marble) to make thefertilizer calcium nitrate. The formula chemistry is as follows:NO2 + 2H2O + H2SO4 + CaCO3 + electricity = H2CO3 + CaNO3NO2 (in air) + 2H2O (water) + H2SO4 (sulpheric acid) + CaCO3 (marble orlimestone) + electricity = H2CO3 (sodium bicarbonate) + CaNO3 (calciumnitrate)
  5. 5. Nitrogen fixation occurs in nature by the actions of lightning and bacteria. A flash of lightning unites nitrogen with oxygen to form nitric oxide (NO), which changes to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) upon cooling. Nitrogen dioxide combines with water to form nitric acid (HNO3). The dilute acid falls to the earth and reacts with minerals in the soil to produce nitrates. The nitrateform compounds necessary for cell growth. A greater amount of nitrogen is fixed by the action of bacteria in the soil and plant roots.
  6. 6. Figure 1 is a picture of the buildings on the site in 1911 or 1912 during construction.Duke brought in laborers from Germany to construct 75-foot high porcelain coolingtowers. They imported brick from Germany.
  7. 7. Figure 2. Closer view of construction of the tower.
  8. 8. Figure 3. Completed or nearly compleded plant 1912/.
  9. 9. The plant at Nitrolee was never completed probably because Fritz Haber and Karl Bosch of Germany developed the Haber - Bosch process, which proved to be more economical replacing all other processes. In the Haber - Bosch process the reaction between nitrogen gas and hydrogen gas produces ammonia. The process requires high temperatures and very highpressures along with catalysts or the yields are very small and the reaction very slow.
  10. 10. Figures 4, Main arc building inside 1997.
  11. 11. Figure 5. Main arc building inside and outside.
  12. 12. Figure 6. Inside Transformer building
  13. 13. Figure 7.Main arc building outside.
  14. 14. Figure 8. The remains of alarge metal tank for storing?.Figure 9. A cement/concrete storage building?.
  15. 15. Figure 8 . Long building foundation remnants.
  16. 16. The electric arc process never hada chance, William Lee’s plans to capture part of the fertilizer business was history.
  17. 17. The site is now wooded, the buildings decaying, some with only foundations, some in amazingly good shape. In themain arc building, the transformercoils still hang ghostly in the two story red brick building.
  18. 18. Thank you Mr. Herbert Tibbs for your abiding friendship andintroduction to the area history.
  19. 19. The site, located on a peninsula between Fishing Creek and theCatawba River, was abandoned.Today, an interesting footnote to the area history. Donald R. Privett, Geologist

×