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Title: Heavy water production - a review of processes.
Authors: Levins, DM
Issue Date: Sep-1970
Publisher: Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
Abstract: Methods of heavy water production are examined in detail. Processes based on chemical exchange have the greatest potential for further development but distillation, electrolytic and chromatographic methods are also discussed. In the immediate future most of the world output of heavy water will be produced by hydrogen sulphide/water exchange (the GS process) but there is limited scope for further reduction in GS production costs. Recent advances in process development make the ammonia/hydrogen route an attractive alternative since the enrichment obtainable in each stage is greater while the energy consumption is less. A variation of the ammonia/hydrogen scheme involving the use of amines as additives to, or substitutes for ammonia also appears promising. The greatest obstacle to the development of either the ammonia/hydrogen or amine/hydrogen schemes on a large scale is the limitation on the supply of hydrogen. Ammonia synthesis gas is currently the most plentiful supply available but 1500 tonnes/day of ammonia capacity is needed for each 100 tonnes of heavy water produced annually. Unlimited production could be achieved using an equilibration stage in which hydrogen depleted in deuterium is exchanged with water at high temperature. The economics of this scheme depend on the development of a satisfactory catalyst for water/hydrogen equilibration. Distillation of water, methane and hydrogen have been proposed as economic routes to heavy water production but design studies and experimental data would need to be clarified if optimistic forecasts are to be substantiated. Processes based on chromatography or selective adsorption have received scant attention in the past. Many problems would need to be overcome before such processes could be adapted to large scale production of heavy water, but in view of recent advances in plant scale chromatography, they should be re-examined.
ISBN: 0642993769
Appears in Collections:Scientific and Technical Reports

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