Baking soda is a white crystalline powder when added to dough it reacts with the acidic ingredients to form bubbles giving cakes and cookies. A light and fluffy structure it’s also used in livestock feed fire extinguishers and detergents. Baking soda is also known as sodium bicarbonate it can be produced through a chemical process or it can be mined from the ground large mineral deposits exist in northwest Colorado left behind as lakes evaporated millions of years ago mine operators dissolved the sodium bicarbonate.
Baking soda processing
Underground using hot brine the brine is a mix of the minerals and water left over from prior processing they pipe the higher concentration brine to a processing facility about a mile away the brine collects in a holding tank outside and flows through pipes into the facility as needed .Inside a technician tests the liquid and confirms that the level of sodium bicarbonate is adequate then the brine flows through several tanks where heat exchangers gradually cool.
It this causes the sodium bicarbonate brine to crystallize making the granules larger and heavier the crystals sink to the bottom of the last tank this forms a mixture of brine and crystals they pump this mixture into a device called a hydroclone . The hydroclone spins out the brine through the center the crystals gravitate to the sides and sink to the bottom this creates a sodium bicarbonate slurry. It has a meringue like consistency the slurry is about 40 sodium bicarbonate at this point lot of water has been removed but there’s still work to be done as the dewatering continues the system recaptures spent liquid and pipes. It back into the mine to dissolve more minerals the slurry goes for another spin this time in a centrifuge.
What is wet cake
It rings out more water transforming the slurry into something called wet cake .wet cake is 95 sodium bicarbonate next the wet cake travels to a mixer that blends dry sodium bicarbonate powder into tithe dry powder brings the moisture content down to three percent .
Next the wet cake makes a quick trip through this dryer to remove the remaining moisture leaving pure baking soda the baking soda now shakes through three tiers of vibrating screens. The crystals are sorted by size producing several different grades from brine to powder.
It’s time to determine how this naturally mined baking soda measures up a technician dissolves some of the baking soda in water he adds an acid to neutralize the sodium bicarbonate this allows him to measure its purity.
Packaging of Baking soda
which also places the different grades of baking soda in a screening device it vibrates to shake the granules through perforations verifying that the crystals have been correctly graded by size with the lab’s approval this baking soda is ready for the market place .A robotic arm picks up the bag and transfers it to a fill station with a scale below the scale signals. When there’s 55 pounds of baking soda in a bag prompting the fill nozzle to shut off these 55 pound bags will be sold to commercial bakeries and companies that use large amounts of baking soda daily it will no doubt rise to the occasion.