Tianjin Dagu Chemical Co.

Tianjin, China

Tianjin Dagu Chemical Co.

Tianjin, China
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News Article | May 23, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

It was almost midnight on a summer Wednesday in 2015 when Hu Xiumin was jolted awake by a loud noise. Her apartment building in the affluent Harbour City development was shaking violently. She ran from the bedroom to find her husband standing in the study, looking out of the window. From here they could see out over the port of Tianjin; one of the warehouses was on fire. They backed away from the window just moments before the warehouse exploded in one of the worst manmade disasters in China’s history. Although Hu and her husband were unscathed, 173 people died at Ruihai International Logistics, a warehouse that was storing thousands of tonnes of hazardous chemicals. Hundreds more people were injured and thousands displaced on 12 August. Videos of the explosion went viral on social media. To the world, the tragedy became known as the Tianjin explosion. To locals, it’s 8/12. But the explosion also underscored a dilemma at the heart of China’s unprecedented economic boom: the chemical industry is critical for the country’s growth, but that growth is also fuelling rapid urbanisation. This is pushing residential areas closer to active chemical sites – like in Tianjin. This port city of 15 million people, a short train ride from Beijing, attracts hundreds of thousands of new residents each year. Most move to the city’s outer edges, where industrial plants were built decades ago. Some of the chemical sites, now surrounded by new suburbs, have dangerously lax regulations. One Chinese law mandates that chemical storage facilities, such as Ruihai, be located at least 1,000 metres from public spaces. But the rule is routinely violated, and the country’s complex regulatory regime – sprawling across national laws, local regulations and a myriad of often contradictory industry-specific guidelines – is at best patchily enforced. The 1,000m rule, for example, was first introduced in 2001, but was amended only three years later by the administration of work safety, which made it optional under certain circumstances. Then, in 2008, a report co-produced by the government’s hazchem and firefighting departments declared that “the 1,000m requirement is unrealistic, which made it hard to implement”. The breach of this rule is one of the reasons the Tianjin explosion was able to cause such damage. Thousands of people were living within the mandated buffer zone without knowing the risk. In the wake of the explosion, citizens, activists and officials began to raise questions about other chemical sites near residential areas. “I think the Tianjin explosion is a reckoning call for the public,” says Ada Kong, the director of Greenpeace East Asia’s toxins campaign. Tianjin’s dilemma is encapsulated by a neighbourhood along the Hai river in the Tanggu district. The main street is lined with a canal of toxic green runoff from the Tianjin Dagu Chemical works, the foul stench of which hangs in the air. But in the small streets alongside it, vendors are selling fruit as mopeds zip by. At a nearby school, two girls with pink hair bands are crouched collecting dirt with their bare hands. The plant was once more or less in the countryside. Over time, however, the city has grown around it. Now residential neighbourhoods are a stone’s throw from the factory’s fetid tailing ponds and smokestacks. Dagu Chemical uses vinyl chloride in the production of PVC, a common plastic. A leak in the vinyl chloride storage area lasting only 10 minutes could poison residents up to two miles away, according to one risk simulation provided by a former engineer who worked at the plant. The effects of being exposed to vinyl chloride range from mild (such as headaches and dizziness) to liver damage and cancer, depending on the duration and intensity of the exposure. According to Neal Langerman, an industrial chemical safety consultant who verified the assessment, it is possible to have chemical sites in relative proximity to residential areas without danger. However, he says, “their process management really has to focus on prevention. You literally have to assume something is going to go wrong.” Langerman has not personally been to Tianjin Dagu Chemical, so he could not comment on the safety of the site. But this is not a theoretical concern. Recent PVC plants exploding in Louisiana, US, Ulsan, South Korea and Coatzacoalcos, Mexico have caused dozens of deaths and millions of dollars worth of damage. Safety prescriptions vary wildly among regions and countries. Unlike China’s 1,000m rule, the Netherlands, for example, uses risk assessments to figure out the probability of different scenarios and help decide how far chemical sites should be from public areas. Genserik Reniers, a professor of safety of hazardous materials at TU Delft, says that he “would prefer calculated risk-driven distances and stringent/correct inspection [with] no violations, than just a distance … The risk is always higher with violations.” Chinese workplace safety laws encourage a culture of damage control over prevention, says Mimi Zou, an expert in Chinese employment law. “The regulatory approach has been to just respond when there’s been an accident, but obviously that doesn’t address all the risks involved … prioritising damage control over preventive [measures] just means that you’re not really addressing the root of the problem. “It’s only when these big accidents like Tianjin happen that regulators step in,” she says. “But where were they when the employer was actually cutting corners?” In the case of Tianjin Dagu Chemical, regulators have stepped in to announce that the threat posed by the plant to the nearby residential areas is too high, and a multi-billion dollar effort has been launched to relocate it (with another factory called the Tianjin Chemical Plant) to an industrial zone in the south of the city by 2020. Even after the move, the health and safety problems will be far from over. The contaminated land will require thorough soil remediation, which, until recently, has largely been shirked in China. Last year Beijing formally introduced a clean soil policy that Greenpeace’s Kong describes as the country’s “first ever … at a very high level”. It came into effect after a tragedy at a school in Jiangsu province last April. In an incident that has been compared to the infamous Love Canal disaster in Niagara Falls, New York State, nearly 500 students from the Changzhou Foreign Languages School fell ill. Children reported experiencing nose bleeds, flaking skin, rashes, coughs, and in the worst cases leukaemia and lymphoma. Their school campus was found to have been built on the site of three chemical factories: Jiangsu Huada Chemical Group, Jiangsu Changyu Chemical and Jiangsu Changlong Chemicals. These companies had been on the outskirts of Changzhou until the city expanded. In 2010 the city began a massive relocation effort, but the land left behind was deeply contaminated, reportedly containing chloroform, tetrachloride and worst of all chlorobenzene, a chemical linked to kidney, liver and brain damage. Chlorobenzene was present at 10,000 times the national standard, despite reportedly passing environmental assessments. After this incident, two Beijing NGOs, the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation, along with Friends for Nature, sued the three chemical companies. However, in January 2017 a court ruled that the companies would not have to pay compensation or apologise. The defendants argued that although the land was contaminated, the pollution had not “harmed the public interest”, and that “the goal of the lawsuit – to prevent pollution and further damage – is gradually being achieved”. The NGOs are planning to appeal. Despite a growing environmental movement in China, chemical pollutants are “not something that people can see like air pollution”, says Kong. It is likely that the issue gained exposure and was able to be linked to brownfield pollution because the poisoned students were attending a relatively affluent school with parents who could complain to the government and the media. “The newly rising middle class can be a new dynamic to improve the hazardous chemical safety issue problem in China,” says Kong. “They’re more aware of their rights. They’re more empowered basically because of their economic situation.” After witnessing the Tianjin explosion from her window, Hu decided that continuing to live in Harbour City was no longer appealing. “Personally speaking, I don’t want to live there. I want another environment,” she says. Although the Ruihai warehouse was destroyed and the Dagu plant may be moving, a number of chemical and industrial plants remain dangerously close to residential areas in Tianjin. What’s more, she and her husband are concerned about contamination. “Pollution is a tricky problem, because you will not be diagnosed with a disease resulting from it until 10 or 20 years later.” This urban planning project, jointly funded by the Chinese and Singaporean governments, has been built on formerly polluted marshlands and features solar panels and windmills peeking through the skyline. The community is designed to be walkable, the public transportation is free and, best of all, there is no chemical facility in sight. So far about 50,000 people call it home, although it will eventually have the capacity for another 300,000 residents. “The facilities here haven’t been perfected yet, but we can see that every community will have their own community centre,” Hu says. “For the time being we don’t have any big malls here.” Nevertheless, she and her husband are expecting their first child, and the Eco-city community is safe and has good schools nearby. “If our kids can grow up in an environment like this, it will be like one of our wishes coming true,” she says. “I felt that moving into a new house marked a new beginning. My husband felt like a lovely home was ruined, but I was comforting him [saying] that where there are people, there is a home.” Experiments like Eco-city can only ease Tianjin’s growing pains so much. Not all residents who live dangerously close to chemical sites can afford to move, let alone to affluent communities, which means that other virtual powder kegs remain scattered across the country. Hu often drives past her old neighbourhood, which is mostly abandoned – but not entirely. “There are probably only one or two lights in a single building. If I had to live there now I would probably be very afraid.” This article was reported by the degree students of the University of British Columbia’s International Reporting Program in collaboration with Chinese journalists. Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebook to join the discussion, and explore our archive here


Zhao J.,East China University of Science and Technology | Cheng X.,East China University of Science and Technology | Wang L.,East China University of Science and Technology | Wang L.,Tianjin Dagu Chemical Co. | And 4 more authors.
Catalysis Letters | Year: 2014

Gold and gold-based bimetallic catalysts for acetylene hydrochlorination were prepared with HAuCl4•4H2O and BiCl3 as precursors and γ-Al2O3 as the support. Their catalytic performances for acetylene hydrochlorination were tested in a fixed-bed reactor under the fixed reaction conditions of temperature 150 °C, C2H2 hourly space velocity 120 h-1, feed volume ratio V (HCl)/V (C2H2) = 1.05. Then they were analyzed by the characterization methods of BET, XRD, SEM, TG, TPR and XPS. The results showed that the Au/γ-Al2O3 catalyst exhibited a high activity with only 0.1 wt% Au loading but it deactivated easily for both coke deposition and valance change. With the addition of Bi, it inhibited the reduction of Au3+ to Au0 in both the preparation and the reaction process. Besides, the coke deposition was apparently weakened. The best catalytic performance was obtained over 0.1Au5Bi/γ-Al2O3 catalyst with an acetylene conversion of 96 % and a selectivity to VCM of more than 99 % (Au loading, only 0.1 wt%) for running more than 10 h. Graphical Abstract: The Au-Bi/γ-Al2O3 catalyst can decrease significantly the Au loading from more than 1 to 0.1 wt% with the satisfied acetylene conversion compared with the activity carbon support. The addition of Bi can inhibited the reduction of Au3+ and coke deposition.[Figure not available: see fulltext.] © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York.


Li Y.C.,East China University of Science and Technology | Shen B.X.,East China University of Science and Technology | Wang L.,Tianjin Dagu Chemical Co. | Xiao W.G.,Tianjin Dagu Chemical Co.
Environment, Energy and Sustainable Development - Proceedings of the 2013 International Conference on Frontier of Energy and Environment Engineering, ICFEEE 2013 | Year: 2014

Choosing 5A molecular sieve as the adsorbent to adsorb acetaldehyde microimpurity from PO product solution of 1500 t/a propylene epoxidation pilot-plant. Obtained the optimized process conditions of adsorbing the acetaldehyde impurities from PO product solution: the adsorption temperature was 15∼20°C and the liquid mass space velocity was 1 h-1. © 2014 Taylor & Francis Group, London.


Zhao J.,East China University of Science and Technology | Zeng J.,East China University of Science and Technology | Cheng X.,East China University of Science and Technology | Wang L.,East China University of Science and Technology | And 3 more authors.
RSC Advances | Year: 2015

The bimetal catalyst gold(iii) chloride-copper(ii) chloride (AuCl3-CuCl2) was prepared with several different gamma-aluminium oxide (γ-Al2O3) supports and its catalytic properties towards acetylene hydrochlorination were assessed in a fixed-bed reactor. The comparison indicated that one of the catalysts attained the highest activity with an acetylene conversion of 97%, which was far higher than the others. Catalysts were characterized using detailed X-ray diffraction, nitrogen-Brunauer, Emmett and Teller surface area analysis (N2-BET), ammonia temperature-programmed desorption, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and carbon dioxide temperature-programmed desorption analysis. It is proposed that the base site contributed to its high catalyst activity compared with the other catalysts, instead of the acid site or the textural properties on the support, therefore, the activity and the life of the catalysts can be improved significantly by treating the supports with potassium hydroxide. In addition, the results of N2-BET, thermogravimetric analysis and scanning electron microscopy indicated that the catalysts deactivated rapidly because of carbon deposition, and the actual amount of coke deposition was 18.0% after the reaction. AuCl3-CuCl2/γ-Al2O3 was easily regenerated for reuse as a catalyst by burning off in an air atmosphere for 10 min. The activity of the regenerated catalyst nearly reached the level of the fresh catalyst. This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2015.


Wang L.,East China University of Science and Technology | Wang L.,Tianjin Dagu Chemical Co. | Shen B.,East China University of Science and Technology | Ren R.,East China University of Science and Technology | And 2 more authors.
Petroleum Processing and Petrochemicals | Year: 2014

The UDH mercury-free catalyst was prepared in a 10 L synthesis tank and was characterized by ICP-AES, BET, SEM and TEM. The comparison test for acetylene hydrochlorination with an industrial HgCl2 catalyst was conducted in a single pipe reactor under the same experimental conditions. The characterization results show that the UDH mercury-free catalyst has a micropore structure, the pore diameter is 2 nm, and the particle size of active component is 4 nm. The catalytic tests indicate that the VCM selectivity of UDH mercury-free catalyst is more than 99% which equals to that of the industrial HgCl2 catalyst. The C2H2 conversion of industrial HgCl2 catalyst is more than 98% in the first 900 hours, but declines in the following 700 hours; while the C2 H2 conversion of UDH mercury-free catalyst reduced slowly from 98% to 89% in the whole 1 600 hours runing, thus the mercury-free catalyst has better stability.


Li Y.,East China University of Science and Technology | Shen B.,East China University of Science and Technology | Xiao W.,Tianjin Dagu Chemical Co. | Zhao J.,East China University of Science and Technology
Petroleum Processing and Petrochemicals | Year: 2013

A direct propylene epoxidation demonstration unit with 1 500 t/a capacity with catalyst TS-1 has been stably running for 4 000 h. The results indicated that the hydrogen peroxide conversion and the propylene oxide (PO) selectivity is maintained at 90%-96% and 90%-92%, respectively, meeting the unit design requirement. The quality of the product PO purified by distillation is in line with the national superior grade standard. By the direct propylene epoxidation technology, the pollutions of waste materials can be solved and the energy consumption can be reduced. And the existing problems and applying prospects are also discussed.


Wang S.-J.,East China University of Science and Technology | Shen B.-X.,East China University of Science and Technology | Xiao W.-G.,Tianjin Dagu Chemical Co. | Song Q.-L.,East China University of Science and Technology | Zhao J.-G.,East China University of Science and Technology
Huadong Ligong Daxue Xuebao /Journal of East China University of Science and Technology | Year: 2010

Au-K/C catalysts for hydrochlorination of acetylene were prepared by wet impregnation and characterized by XRD, SEM and BET. The results indicate that the active ingredients are highly dispersed on the surface of carrier. Optimized reaction conditions, reaction temperature 170°C, space velocity 120 h-1, feed volume ratio (VHCl/VC2H2) 1.10, are obtained based on the detailed study of effects of temperature, space velocity, feed ratio and reactants on the performances of Au-K/C catalysts in atmospheric fixed bed reactor. In the optimized reaction conditions, Au-K/C catalyst is tested for 120 h in which the acetylene conversion and vinyl chloride (VC) selectivity are over 96.0% and 99.5%, respectively, without significant drop of catalytic activity.


Wang S.,East China University of Science and Technology | Shen B.,East China University of Science and Technology | Xiao W.,Tianjin Dagu Chemical Co. | Song Q.,East China University of Science and Technology
Shiyou Xuebao, Shiyou Jiagong/Acta Petrolei Sinica (Petroleum Processing Section) | Year: 2010

Gold-supported catalysts for acetylene hydrochlorination were prepared with Au(en)2Cl3 as precursor and analyzed by the characterization methods of N2-adsorption, XRD and TEM. Effects of gold valence, support, Au loading and alkali metals on the catalytic performances of gold-supported catalysts were studied in detail at an atmospheric fixed bed reactor. The results indicated that the active constituents of gold-supported catalysts for hydrochlorination of acetylene were ionic Aun+. With activated carbon derived from coconut shell(ACS) as the support, KCl as the promoter and Au loading of 1%, gold-supported catalyst Au-K/ACS was of high dispersity and high catalytic activity for acetylene hydrochlorination. Under the reaction conditions of temperature 180°C, total gas hourly space velocity (GHSV) 240 h-1, feed volume ratio V(HCl)/V(C2H2)=1.1, the conversion of acetylene was up to 98% and the selectivity to vinyl chloride was more than 99.5%. In addition, the stability of Au-K/ACS catalyst was still favorable, even the GHSV was up to 2000 h-1.


Trademark
Tianjin Dagu Chemical Co. | Date: 2011-06-14

PVC Resin; Caustic Soda; Propylene Oxide; Polyether Polyols; Polymer Polyol; Styrene; industrial chemicals, namely, Acrylonitrile-Butadiene Styrene; Vinyl Chloride; Ethylene Dichloride; Polystyrene resin; Expandable Polystyrene resin; General-Purpose Polystyrene resin; High Impact Polystyrene resin; Oxygen; Nitrogen; Chlorine Liquid; Hydrochloric Acid; Sodium Hypochlorite; Hydrogen; Propylene Dichloride; ; Barium Sulphate; Barium Chloride; industrial chemicals, namely, Sodium Peroxide; unprocessed Polycarbonate; Phenol; Acetone; Cumene; Acrylic Acid; industrial chemicals, namely, Methyl acrylate, Ethyl Acrylate, Propyl Acrylate, Butyl Acrylate, and Ethyl-Hexyl Acrylate; Butadiene.


Trademark
Tianjin Dagu Chemical Co. | Date: 2011-05-31

PVC Resin; Caustic Soda; Propylene Oxide; Polyether Polyols; Polymer Polyol; Styrene; industrial chemicals, namely, Acrylonitrile-Butadiene Styrene; Vinyl Chloride; Ethylene Dichloride; Polystyrene resin; Expandable Polystyrene resin; General-Purpose Polystyrene resin; High Impact Polystyrene resin; Oxygen; Nitrogen; Chlorine Liquid; Hydrochloric Acid; Sodium Hypochlorite; Hydrogen; Propylene Dichloride; Barium Sulphate; Barium Chloride; industrial chemicals, namely, Sodium Peroxide; unprocessed Polycarbonate; Phenol; Acetone; Cumene; Acrylic Acid; industrial chemicals, namely, Methyl acrylate, Ethyl Acrylate, Propyl Acrylate, Butyl Acrylate, and Ethyl-Hexyl Acrylate; Butadiene.

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