Caustic Soda is also known as Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH). It is an important industrial chemical product produced in both liquid & solid form. It is deliquescent, absorbing water vapour and carbon dioxide from the air.
Caustic soda or sodium hydroxide, is a white crystalline solid substance which usage cuts across virtually all the sectors of the economy chemical, textile, pharmaceutical, oil and gas.
Since it is a strong alkaline which can easily dissolve with water, it is used as a cleaning agent for many household and industrial purposes. It can easily absorb gases like carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide; hence it can be used in the treatment of heavy metals, extraction of ores, in refining oil and in many other processes and uses.
The physical form of sodium hydroxide can be in the form of pellets, wafers, solids or even liquid solutions. Purity ranges from 60% Na2O to 76% Na2O. It is highly corrosive to skin.
Caustic soda is used in the aluminum industry, pulp & paper. They are used as water treatment and water purification, as cleaning agent, or a wide range of uses in chemical industry like the starch production and for dyeing clothes, and what have you.
Raw Materials Research and Development Council, has disclosed that in the last five years, the country (Nigeria) imported caustic soda valued at more than N 13 billion for use by manufacturing firms, Oil and Gas sectors of the economy.
Caustic soda is produced together with chlorine and hydrogen from the electrolysis of salt brine. Nigeria has an estimated reserve of about 1.5 billion tons of salt brine. The Benue trough is also an attractive area for exploration for sedimentary salt deposit.
This report highlights the financial viability or otherwise of establishing a twelve (12) tons per day caustic soda (Sodium Hydroxide) plant in Nigeria and producing 98- 99 % grade of caustic soda (Sodium Hydroxide) with chlorine as bye-product.
Global caustic soda consumption as at last year hit an all-time record of 70,000,000 tons per annum from about 53,000,000 tons the previous year and this is one of the largest markets in the chemical sectors that its international prices are monitored exactly as seen in the oil and gas sector where global trends can influence prices.
Due to the importance of this chemical, the production and supply is not able to meet up with the demand with many producing nations generating good foreign exchange from its sales.
Nigeria consumes about 300,000 tons of caustic soda sourced mainly through importation for various industrial applications and usages with about only twenty suppliers handling the entire importation process and this figure has been estimated to increase again by another 30% which will now amount to 390,000 tons in this current year.
USES OF CAUSTIC SODA
1. In the production of organics
2. In the paper industry; pulp, paper and cellulose
3. In the extraction of metals for example aluminum and others
4. Food industries
5. Used in water treatment plants
6. In the manufacture of soaps
7. Production of bleach
8. Production of mineral oils
9. Rayon production
10. Synthesis of phosphates
The proposed plant would comprise of caustic soda plant, forklift, transformer, generator, project vehicles, weigh bridge, chlorine and diesel tanks.
The plant would operate at 80% of the installed capacity working three (3) shifts of 8 hours each in 300 days per annum producing 960 and 960 tons of caustic soda and chlorine respectively and requiring 5,000 tons of salt brine bi-monthly.
The required startup capital estimate of the business is N 4,326,293,384.00.