Recovery of sulfur from phosphogypsum: Conversion of calcium sulfide to sulfur

Rice, D. A. ; Carter, O. C. ; May, A. ; Swanton, R. G.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
As part of a cooperative effort between the US Bureau of Mines and the Florida Institute of Phosphate Research (FIPR), with input from the phosphate industry, the conversion of phosphogypsum to sulfur is being investigated. The proposed process incorporates a thermal reduction of phosphogypsum to calcium sulfide (CaS) and a hydrometallurgical treatment to convert calcium sulfide to ammonium bisulfide (NH4SH), which is then oxidized using a catalyst to produce elemental sulfur. The paper summarizes the results of continuing laboratory studies using an activated carbon catalyst which was loaded with sulfur through oxidation of ammonium bisulfide solution. The extraction of the sulfur that forms in situ on the catalyst is a key area in the development of the sulfur recovery process. Two approaches for removing the sulfur are being investigated: (1) thermal treatment to volatilize sulfur. and (2) leaching the sulfur using liquid anhydrous ammonia. The research has shown that it is technically feasible to recover over 90% of the sulfur from the carbon by either volatilization or ammonia leaching. Locked cycle testing has demonstrated that the carbon has the potential to be recycled after ammonia leaching.
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