We are happy to share that we have concluded a successful proof-of-concept study with Boliden Smelters, IVL and Chalmers, co-funded with Boliden, EIT RawMaterials and Vinnova SIP.

Smelters often produce large amounts of sulphuric acid, the worlds most used chemical, as a by-product in their production. The acid is produced using the sulphur-rich flue gases that originate from the smelting process, and mercury is normally removed from the flue gases. When mercury inevitably leaks through to the fluid-state acid, the problem cannot be rectified with any technology available on the market. In this joint project Atium and Boliden, one of the foremost producers of high-quality sulphuric acid in the smelter industry, showcased the potential of Atium’s patent pending technology to solve this problem and to scale up to meet the industry needs.

Proof-of-concept was achieved by:

  1. Proving that Atium’s technology could remove mercury from contaminated acid, reaching the highest quality standard. (Hg <0,08 mg/kg)
  2. Upscaling the technology 400x from lab-scale with consistent results, proving that the technology can scale linearly without loss in performance.

“These results provide additional validation that we are building a solution that can help industries improve their operations and reduce contaminants and emissions in their processes. By providing a polishing-step to remove any trace mercury in the acid production we can help smelters ensure high, consistent and predictable quality in their production, as well as reduce mercury emissions and costs. Our next steps will include assuring the stability of all parts in the acid and to constructing an MVP to validate the product in small scale in an operational setting.”

– Emma Hanaeus, CEO, Atium.

“Promising laboratory trials have been made. Normally the mercury is removed from the gas before sulphuric acid production. This method would enable to do the final cleaning of the produced sulphuric acid solution. This option to clean sulphuric acid from mercury is very interesting and would be valuable if scale up is successful and a commercial level is reached.”

– Jens Nyberg, Manager Strategic R&D Projects, Boliden Smelters.


 Quick facts on sulphuric acid:

  • Global annual sulphuric acid production: ~250 million tonnes
  • Annual sulphuric acid production from non-ferrous smelters: ~50 million tonnes
  • Boliden annual sulhuric acid production: ~1,7 million tonnes
  • Applications include: Fertilizers, pulp & paper, titanium dioxide, metal production, chemical production and many others