Report - - Octel Bromine Works - Almwich - Feb 2017 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Octel Bromine Works - Almwich - Feb 2017

Mr Beady

28DL Full Member
Been mega slack these few years with reports so I thought I'd start with this. Splored with badbatz and bumped in to abandoned Yorkshire and @Cloth Head whilst there. Was quite a good site with plenty to see.

History borrowed:
History and Information

Bromine is extracted for use in photography, pharmaceuticals, medical research, helping to maintain healthy crops of fruit/veg/cereals, dyes and flame retardants, disinfectants (bleaches), water treatment, production of car tyres, even used as an additive to leaded petrol!
The site on Anglesey was the largest bromine plant of its kind in the world. The warm water of the Gulf Stream is ideal for bromine extraction. Built in 1953, (production beginning 11th November 1953) it was a key part of the Octel programme. Octel was one of the largest producers of transport fuel additives. These were its core business, in lead alkali antiknock compounds for gasoline industry. It produced 10,000 tonnes per annum (increased to 15,000tpa by 1964).
In 1958 a severe storm forced seaweed up the main pumps and blocked sea water distribution for 3 days.
In 1959 they achieved 1,000,000 man hours without a lost time accident, and in 1962 they achieved 5 years without one. Which is impressive considering packaging bromine is in glass bottles, 4 per wood case, containing 33lbs of the stuff!
In 1970 it was believed 2 youths were the cause of a fire on the railway bridge meaning it could no longer be used and alternative methods of transportation had to be used for the bromine works to obtain the needed chemicals for the process.
1995 (15th July) there was a fire which heavily damaged two 30m steel towers and BOT2 (used for producing bromine from seawater). It is said to have cost £6,000,000 in damage and £4,000,000 in lost business.
1997 there was a release of bromine injuring 5 staff and forcing all local residents inside.
In 1999 there was fear of the "Millennium bug" where the change from midnight 1999 to 2000 would cause chaos on all instruments! Therefore the plant was shut down before midnight, 31.12.1999.
On the 1st October 2003 the Great Lakes Chemical Corporation decided to close the Amlwch plant, and it stopped producing in 2004 (March), but the decommission and decontamination takes another 9 months.
In 2007 Canatxx purchase the site and have plans to produce a liquid natural gas storage plant at the site. However in 2007 the BBC posted an article stating terror attack fears over these plans.
From here I'm not really sure of anything else, however there must be more information on the last 12 years or so somewhere?

The Process

Sea water is sucked in and then lifted 50ft into sea water ponds by huge pumps where any debris is removed. It is then passed to the seawater main where chlorine and dilute sulfuric acid are added which releases the bromine. It is literally "blown" out of the water. This water is passed into the top of a tower where it drops over 20ft through the packed section of the tower. There it is met by currents of air travelling upwards. Where it meets these air currents the bromine gets stripped out the water, which is returned to the sea. Whilst the wet bromine laden air passes from the top of the tower to be treated with sulphur dioxide and water. This produces mists of hydrobromic and sulfuric acids. This mist passes into an absorber, and the acid coalesces. From here, it blows to a collecting tank. The bromine free air returns to the blowing out tower and the cycle begins again. The acidic product is referred to as primary acid licker (I think that's what they said?!). This primary acid licker is now pumped to the steaming out tower. It enters the top and is treated with chlorine and steam, which releases the bromine as vapour. It is then condensed to a liquid. The bulk of bromine goes to dibromoethane, whilst the remainder is sold or used to make other intermediates.
It takes about 22,000 tonnes of seawater to produce 1 tonne of bromine. Every minute 300,000 gallons of seawater are drawn in.

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"You BOY!
Regular User
Great reportage.
Those acid hoods and suits reminds me of the scene from back to the future when Mcfly visits his old man at night in bed pretending to be an alien from the planet Vulcan.