LIFESO2ZEROEF - Reduction of SO2 emissions by a zero-effluent wet desulfuration process using MgO by-products (LIFESO2ZEROEF)

LIFE13 ENV/ES/000605

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Contact details:

Contact person: José Antonio APARICIO
Tel: 34948421633
Fax: 34948304253
Email: j.aparicio@magnesitasnavarras.es

Project description:


Emissions of sulphur oxides can cause acid rain as well as human health problems. To combat this threat, the EU has introduced a several directives: Directives 2001/81/EC, covering national emissions ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants; Directive 2010/75/EU on industrial emissions; and Directive 93/12/EC relating to the sulphur content of certain liquid fuels. One of the industries that generates SO2 emissions is the magnesite industry.

Energy generation using fossil fuels results in the emission of sulphur oxides (SO2 and SO3). Such oxides in the atmosphere can also come from natural sources, such as volcanic activity, forest fires and the anaerobic oxidation of hydrogen sulphide – but these only account for 25% of the total SOx emissions.

SO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion reach the atmosphere and react with water vapour to form sulphuric acid (H2SO4), which dissolves and returns to the Earth’s surface as rain. Such acid rain has a particularly negative impact on the environment. In soils, for instance, acid rain causes lixiviation and mobilisation of heavy metals, which are then incorporated into the trophic chain.

As a gas, SO2 causes many health problems when inhaled, particularly to those who suffer from asthma. Extended exposure to SO2 and small particles of sulphates (SO4) is directly related to lung cancer, asthma and cardiopulmonary obstruction.


The main objective of the LIFESO2ZEROEF project is to demonstrate the viability of innovative and environmentally friendly wet desulphurisation technology for the treatment of gases produced by calcination furnaces in the magnesium oxide (MgO) industry. This technology uses an alkaline MgO-based solution to absorb the SO2, producing solid MgSO4 as residue.

To meet this aim, the project will build a wet desulphurisation demonstrative industrial pilot plant in one of the beneficiary’s magnesite calcination rotary furnaces with a capacity of 60 000 Nm3/h. The project will also assess the valorisation of the residual MgSO4 as raw material for the fertiliser industry.

Expected results:

  • New methodology for reducing SO2 emissions by wet desulphurisation that is able to treat 60 000 Nm3 of combusting gases per hour;
  • Reduction of SO2 emissions in the manufacturing process of the magnesite below a threshold of 400 mg/Nm3 (reduction of 75% over currently used dry procedures);
  • Evaluation of the potential value of MgSO4 as a fertiliser; and
  • Development of a sustainability model for SO2 emissions for magnesite industry and related sectors.



Environmental issues addressed:


Environmental management - Cleaner technologies
Industry-Production - Metal industry
Risk management - Pollutants reduction
Waste - Waste use
Air & Noise - Air pollutants


acid rain‚  waste use‚  emission reduction‚  air pollution‚  pollution prevention‚  metal products industry‚  alternative technology

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Type of organisation Large enterprise
Description MAGNESITAS NAVARRAS, S.A is one of Spain’s principal producers of calcined magnesite for use in fertilisers and animal nutrition.
Partners None


Project reference LIFE13 ENV/ES/000605
Duration 02-JUN-2014 to 30-JUN -2016
Total budget 2,535,288.00 €
EU contribution 855,144.00 €
Project location Navarra(España)


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Project web site Project's website


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version