Soda Ash Production 381 Introduction

Soda ash (sodium carbonate, Na2CO3) is a white crystalline solid that is used as a raw material in a large number of industries including glass manufacture, soap and detergents, pulp and paper production and water treatment. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted from the use of soda ash and these emissions are accounted for as a source under the relevant using industry as discussed in Volume 3, Chapter 2. CO2 is also emitted during production with the quantity emitted dependent on the industrial process used to manufacture soda ash.

Emissions of CO2 from the production of soda ash vary substantially with the manufacturing process. Four different processes may be used commercially to produce soda ash. Three of these processes, monohydrate, sodium sesquicarbonate (trona) and direct carbonation, are referred to as natural processes. The fourth, the Solvay process, is classified as a synthetic process. Calcium carbonate (limestone) is used as a source of CO2 in the Solvay process. Other uses of limestone and other carbonates are discussed in Volume 3, Chapter 2.

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