Hydrofluoric Acid in anhydrous form is used as catalyst in motor alkylation. Now recent catalyst have been commercialized on using euteric salts as replacement of HF by Philips. Another solid catalyst is commercialized by UOP IN LAB alkylation. Anhydrous HF is dangerous as he boiling is low at 19.5 C and on leakage spreads as vapour. All HF used plants have the necessary safeguards and if followed correctly it is safe. Also the plants have dump vessel to divert in case of emergency as the inventory is also low
Correct me if I am wrong but aren’t they dumping this chemical into our water at the water treatment plants. You know under the guise of tooth decay prevention. It has a nice bleaching effect to the water to disguise its actual brown 💩 appearance. Im sure most of you got a glass of tap water with a cloudy white appearance before. Put a chicken leg in this acid and it will turn into a white sludge dissolving right down to the bone. Chemical was used in a breaking bad episode. They had one of these chemical spills at a water treatment plant and it started dissolving and breaking up the concrete. Google it if your so inclined.
Ok I’ll correct you. That would be sodium fluoride. Gigantic difference.
There is overwhelming evidence on the TRAA Science Advisory Panel Blog that the very low levels of sulfolane additive used in today’s MHF is inadequate to provide any meaningful protection to the community. See:
I would much rather be in the vicinity of a nuclear plant meltdown than a hydrofluoric acid aerosol.
In reply to Wazzoo: The statement, “no scientific studies have ever been conducted on the efficacy of using an additive at such a low concentration,” is a paraphrase, not a direct quote from “community action groups.” TRAA has, in fact, conducted a rigorous study, using data in the open literature, including a vapor pressure curve for MHF with Sulfolane concentrations ranging 0%- 100%.
In short, with 6% additive, MHF’s boiling point is 70.8ºF (HF’s is 67ºF) and vapor pressure 828 torr at 24ºC (HF’s is 891 torr at 24ºC). Even if we include the contribution of water (a contaminant) and ASO (a by-product) inside the alky unit, MHF’s FLASH POINT would be no higher than 90-95ºF. The operating temperature is 105ºF for the settler tank’s 50,000 lb. MHF, nearly released in 2015. Any MHF accidentally released from that tank would “flash” into a dense, ground-hugging aerosol fog—just like HF does. MHF is no “safer.”
Mr. Buhl meant to reference a simple statement of fact: No MHF release tests to determine rainout were ever done for additive levels as low or temperatures as high as those in the operational unit. (ToRC claims otherwise). In fact, multiple MHF patents apply only to MHF mixtures with 20-50% additive. No new tests are needed to understand the “safety” advantage of 6-7% additive, however. TRAA’s MHF characterization and abundant published MHF release test data for higher additive concentrations show 6-7% additive could not achieve 40% “rainout,” as claimed now. There would be NO rainout.
REF, Dr. George Harpole: http://bit.ly/2qoAfP0 and http://bit.ly/2pEt9FE
Hope all is well.
I was recently going through the TRAA website, and came across the incident in 1987 when 10 workers were exposed to MHF. I was interested by the accident and I have tried to find out more, but I can’t find any mention of it out there (at least not where I am looking). I was wondering if you had information about it.
I work at an financial company, and I was looking at PBF Energy when I came across MHF. It is one of the scariest things I have heard of, and I it has really engaged my curiosity.
Thanks for any help you might have!
Mobil hoodwinked us in 1994 with claims “modified” HF (MHF) would be no more dangerous than sulfuric acid. The new MHF unit failed miserably upon start up in 1997 and Mobil hastily slashed the pesky MHF “additive” to the bone. The public was kept in the DARK. After the 2015 near miss on 50k lb. MHF, an investigation uncovered the truth: MHF is 99% HF and barely different. Two expert witnesses recently testified to this at the 9/22 AQMD hearing. https://youtu.be/qwo08BtEQuM
Any of the ~6 MHF trucks driven to Torrance monthly could cause a catastrophic accidental MHF release with thousands of casualties. There are no water or acid dump “mitigation” systems on the road. That is a risk too great.
Ionic liquid alkylation (ILA), known to be toxic to humans and the environment, has been “under development” for 30 years. It’s viable now. Chevron is revamping its HF unit in Salt Lake to use it. Neither MHF refiner is “doing research” on alternatives to replace MHF. Neither promises to replace MHF with ILA, or any other alternative, ever. Meanwhile, Valero isn’t waiting for ionic liquids anywhere else. It’s building 2 new alky units at other refineries, chosing sulfuric acid.
It’s the COST of MHF REPLACEMENT the refineries object to, not sulfuric acid. But replacement cost is affordable for all 3 alternatives; $300 – 400M (not $1B). The refineries won’t shut down; more jobs will be created during construction; impact on the economy will be minimal.
The ~10M residents within the huge HF hazard zones must refuse to accept either “mitigation only” or a long transition time to “wait for ILA.” We refuse to death from MHF for 12-15 extra years, solely to eliminate a small risk of early adoption for 2 refineries unlikely to even chose ILA, ever. Fight for a Rule 1410 mandating MHF replacement in 4 years. To take action: TRAASouthBay.com. For how Mobil fooled us on MHF: http://bit.ly/2ke0aBZ Economics of a MHF ban: https://bit.ly/2w6eVC4
Community action groups can become largely discounted when they present poorly researched or articulated claims. TRAA claims the levels of MHF are inadequate, and then state “no scientific studies have ever been conducted on the efficacy of using an additive at such a low concentration.” So they themselves assert that there is no basis for their claim that 9% or 10% is inadequate.
There is a great tendency for some people to fear what they don’t fully understand. Having worked in the Nuclear industry, I saw that on a daily basis.
The Steelworkers’ Union is a good advocate for both sides: None want to be injured nor put their families at risk, nor do they wish to needlessly torpedo their workplace.
Listen to them. They are the daily experts. They have “The Skill of the Craft.”
Larry Buhl has produced an excellent and well-researched piece. I was among those quoted in the article, and while the quotes were accurate, they were a small part of a long conversation. Unfortunately, taken alone, they might convey the impression that the United Steelworkers Union, which represents workers in the Torrance and other refineries, believes that the MHF unit should be converted to a sulfuric acid unit or shut down. We do not. Sulfuric acid has its own dangers, including the need to frequently transport large quantities in and out of the plant through the streets of Torrance. That is not the case for MHF. Other, inherently safer technologies are under development, and we are pushing the industry to speed up their research and adopt such technologies as soon as they are proven. In the meantime, we have urged refineries using HF to convert to MHF, and to ensure they have the safest possible systems for handling it. Those are steps that ToRC has already taken, and the refinery is much safer than when ExxonMobil owned it. Our members know the operation best. They would be the first to be injured in an accident. Many of them live in the area. They strongly believe that through their efforts, and those of ToRC management, the refinery is safe for them, their families, and all residents of the surrounding community.
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