NHU Amino Acid's industry chain extension project of 250,000 t/a methionine approved 12-03-2021

Summary: On 17 Nov., NHU Amino Acid's 100,000 t/a sodium cyanide (30%) project was approved.

On 17 Nov., the Ecological Environment Bureau of Binhai District, Weifang City approved the "industry chain extension project of 250,000 t/a methionine", which was submitted by Shandong NHU Amino Acid Co., Ltd. (NHU Amino Acid). The approval has been publicised.

On 16 Sept., 2020, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report of this project was approved and publicised by the Ecological Environment Bureau of Binhai District, Weifang City.


The main production equipment of the "100,000 t/a solid methionine project (Phase I)" include methionine synthesis equipment, 2# hydrogen cyanide (HCN) synthesis equipment and its supporting equipment for raw materials. The operation of those two sets of equipment is independent and features a differentiated production routine, which leads to a surplus of hydrogen cyanide in a certain period of time. However, hydrogen cyanide is an inflammable and highly toxic substance. For safety concerns, the company should not build a storage bank for hydrogen cyanide in the production plant. But if the reduction of surplus products is wanted, hydrogen cyanide synthesis equipment could also bring risks when turned on and off frequently; plus, NHU Amino Acid's goal of continuous production discourages the company from doing so. Considering the aforementioned factors, NHU Amino Acid has decided to build a new 100,000 t/a production equipment for sodium cyanide (NaCN), in order to consume the surplus hydrogen cyanide that is produced in that certain period of time.


Additionally, the company plans to increase the usage of catalysts in the synthesis reactor of hydrogen cyanide synthesis equipment, so as to lift the synthetic rate. In that way, the production capacity can go up by 20%, which can better meet the need of methionine synthesis equipment. The hydrogen cyanide, which is produced by 2# hydrogen cyanide synthesis equipment, is not sufficient enough to meet the need of sodium cyanide production equipment. So the expansion move, the on-going construction of the 3# hydrogen cyanide synthesis equipment, is put on the list. Once the project is completed, the need of 100,000 t/a sodium cyanide production equipment can be fulfilled.


Overview of the "industry chain extension project of 250,000 t/a methionine"

  • Type of project: Retrofitting, expansion construction
  • Construction site location: Within the production plant of Shandong NHU Amino Acid Co., Ltd., Weifang Binhai Economic and Technological Development Zone, Weifang City, Shandong Province
  • Area: 2,185 square metres
  • Total investment amount: USD1.79 million (RMB11.5 million)
  • Investment for environmental protection purposes accounts for 4.35% of the total investment.
  • Construction specifications: The 2# hydrogen cyanide synthesis equipment will be retrofitted. A new 100,000 t/a production equipment for sodium cyanide will be built. 25 (sets of) equipment will be purchased, including grade I absorption tower, grade II absorption tower, gas/liquid separators, etc.
  • Retrofitting of 2# hydrogen cyanide synthesis equipment: The usage of catalysts in the synthesis reactor of hydrogen cyanide synthesis equipment will be increased. It is estimated that synthetic rate will be lifted and the production capacity will go up by 20%. No new equipment will be built.
  • Product scheme: 100,000 t/a for sodium cyanide (all for sale)
  • Working scheme: 24 budgeted posts, 300 working days in a year, three 8-hour shifts in a working day
  • Scheduled date for production initiation: Aug., 2022

Figure The utilisation of 2#, 3# hydrogen cyanide synthesis equipment (after project completion)

Source: NHU Amino Acid

The 250,000 t/a methionine project is scheduled to be carried out in two phases.


The project scheme of phase II includes 150,000 t/a solid methionine, 17,000 t/a sulfuric acid, 150,000 t/a ammonium sulfate, 20,000 t/a acrylic acid, and 20,000 t/a dimethyl disulfide. On 17 Nov., Zhejiang NHU Co., Ltd. announced that, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the production initiation of the 150,000 t/a production equipment, which is currently under construction, will be postponed to 2023. According to the semi-annual report of Zhejiang NHU Co., Ltd., as of 30 June, the construction progress of the 250,000 t/a methionine project reached 40%.


The product scheme of phase I includes 100,000 t/a feed-grade DL-Methionine (solid), 30,000 t/a carbon disulfide, 20,000 t/a sulfuric acid (by-product), 40,000 t/a sodium methanethiolate (20%), etc. The phase I was completed in June, 2019 and passed post-completion environmental acceptance inspection in Nov. 2020.


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