Only a few foreign companies at present hold the license to produce boehmite powder with chemical formula of AlOOH, which is one of the rare minerals. In the past, all the boehmite required in the country was provided through importing from other countries. However, the need of the country for the production of this chemical, instability in the global market, international sanctions and the approach of powerful governments to the international economy, the importance of creating job opportunities and investment in the country and having independency in production by using domestic resources were the reasons that Iranian researchers from the Western Branch of Iran Mineral Processing Research Center in association with researchers from Research Institute of Petroleum Industry obtain the knowledge to produce boehmite powder so Iran becomes a producer of this mineral too. Boehmite powder is one of the main needs of the country due to the international sanctions, and it is used in the production of catalyst for the purification of petrol and other oil derivatives in refinery and petrochemical plants.
Boehmite powder is the raw material for the production of catalysts and alumina based catalysts, and it has numerous applications in various industries. The production of this chemical creates high value added in the country, and its industrial production has a high rate of capital return.
The valuable mineral was firstly produced at a capacity of 250 kg per day in Azarshahr Research Center in 2012 and 2013 at semi-industrial scale. After the production of this material with chemical and physical properties of AlOOH.H2O last year, industrial production of boehmite was began in Iran by opening the first production line of this material.
Boehmite powder is the base material for the production of catalysts such as HDS. It also has applications in the production of RCD catalysts in isomerization, naphtha, reforming, methanol synthesis, dimethyl ether synthesis, oxychlorination, and as water sorbent in the drying process of oil products such as gasoil. HDS catalysts are usually used in oil, gas, and petrochemical processes.
The quality of this product is higher than that of the Chinese products, and it equals the European samples. According to studies, catalysts made of boehmite powder produced in China do not work for more than a year but catalysts made of the Iranian powder have a lifetime of more than 2 years.
Production of this product is cost-effective due to its higher quality in comparison with the Chinese similar samples.
Aluminum hydroxide produced in this center was worth of 3000 to 4000 tomans per kilo but after the production of boehmite powder, this product has a value of 20000 tomans per kilo.
It must be pointed out that this product acquired NanoScale Certificate from Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council in November 2017.