Taranaki towers for Egypt

A Taranaki business has done what its European counterparts said was impossible.

A $1 million air pollution control system for a new fertiliser plant in Egypt, designed and built in Taranaki by Armatec Environmental Ltd, began its two month journey by ship to Egypt on Friday.

Armatec managing director Ken Holyoake said the fibreglass pollution control system, which included three scrubbing towers measuring 11 metres tall, 3m in diameter and weighing about 3 tonnes each, was built and designed out of the company's Bell Block offices and workshop.

About 20 staff worked on the project over a three month period.

Holyoake said strict emission requirements in Egypt meant European suppliers had said such a system could not be made.

But Armatec, which has made a number of fertilizer plant emission control systems for factories around New Zealand, including in Mt Maunganui and Invercargill, was able to meet the standards at a competitive price, he said.

A portion of the system was tightly packed into a container for the journey which would begin at the Port of Tauranga.

The rest was packed inside the three scrubbing towers.

''We have made it all stackable to half the freight,'' Holyoake said.

This was the first time a Taranaki company had sent such a system, which reduced the emissions created during the fertiliser production process, to Europe he said.

''When single superphosphate fertiliser is made, phosphate rock excavated from deposits around the world is reacted with sulphuric acid to solubilise the phosphate.

''Toxic fluoride gases are given off during this reaction, and must be 'scrubbed' before the gases can be released to the atmosphere.''

The gases are extracted by the system, which was designed by Armatec chemical engineers, and irrigated in the scrubbing towers to remove toxins.

Taranaki Daily News