Case Study Process Development at GSAEs Metal Recovery Plant Harwich UK

GSA Staff  |  09 - 03 - 2023

Process Development at GSAe ’s Metal Recovery Plant - Harwich, UK

Project development carried out at the GSAe processing facility to prove process to recover vanadium, molybdenum and nickel from different refinery residues. The development work was to support funding activities by providing process information and a reference operation.

Reduced Crude Desulphurization (RCD) Unit

Two trains each of approximately 800 tonnes catalyst which is reloaded annually. The design feed contains 40.6 ppm nickel and 126.4 ppm vanadium and as such, the catalyst (both trains combined) will acquire 420 tonnes of vanadium per year (equivalent to 740 tonnes per year of vanadium pentoxide) and 120 tonnes of nickel. The spent catalyst contains approximately 10% carbon and is pyrophoric. The fresh catalyst contains approximately 80 tonnes of molybdenum and an additional 50 tonnes of nickel.

Fluid Catalytic Cracker (FCC) Unit

Nickel and vanadium must be controlled at less than 10,000 ppm so there will typically be 20 tonnes per day make up. The feed will contain 8.7 ppm vanadium and 5.9 ppm nickel. The catalyst will acquire 40 tonnes per year vanadium (equivalent to 71 tonnes per year of vanadium pentoxide) and 108 tonnes nickel.


Total Metals AvailableSales Revenue
V2O5 821 tonnes ($7/lb*)$12.4 million
Ni 278 tonnes ($20,000 / tonne*)$5.5 million
Mo 80 tonnes ($17/lb*)$3.0 million
Total:$20.4 million

*current London Metal Exchange and London Metal Bulletin prices.

Capital Cost Esimate$20 million
Operating Cost Esimate$3 - $5 million
Payback<2 years of operation

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