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Cost effective ­emissions control

Summary

The cost of operating conventional technologies for SO2 emissions control can be very high. LABSORB™ regenerative wet scrubbing utilises a well-proven technology to provide a cost-­effective alternative for emissions reduction. This article* examines the LABSORB system with respect to the system design and discusses its application in a refinery environment.

Abstract

Generally, the largest single source of air emissions in a refinery is the fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) due to the large amount of flue gas generated from the FCCU regenerator. Other significant refinery sources include, for example, the tail gas from a Claus sulphur recovery unit, oil-fired crude distillation unit (CDU) heaters and oil-fired boilers. In addition to SO2 emissions, the FCCU regenerator, CDUs and boilers also produce particulate emissions.

Traditionally, when significant SO2 and particulate emissions reductions have been required from these sources, wet scrubbing systems have been employed. Proven wet scrubbing systems on these processes have been very effective in reducing SO2 and particulate emissions. However, control of SO2 emissions from all refinery sources can result in high operating costs when conventional scrubbing technologies, which do not reuse the scrubbing reagent, are employed. The LABSORB™ process by Belco Technologies Corporation combines the well proven EDV® wet scrubbing system for the removal of SO2 and particulate, along with a unique regenerable LABSORB™ buffer for SO2 absorption. The system operating costs are dramatically reduced since the regenerative LABSORB™ system buffer is regenerated and returned to the scrubber for reuse.

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From the Weser to the world

Summary

Chris Cunningham visited the NEAG terminal at Seaport Brake in Germany to see a leading European sulphur export operation in action.

Abstract

The story of development at the NEAG sulphur terminal at Brake, near the mouth of the Weser river in north Germany, is one of increasing flexibility to meet the market’s demands for both liquid and formed product. Through the 1990s the joint partners in NEAG, BEB Erdgas und Erdol and Mobil Erdgas-Erdol, introduced improvements to the handling, forming and storage of sulphur at the site, the better to meet the demands of customers worldwide. The latest development at the site is the installation of an automated unloading system for rail cars bringing liquid sulphur to the site, to provide even more flexibility of operation, and an improved turnaround in sulphur-bearing trains.

The journey for trains carrying BEB’s sulphur – which altogether accounts for about 70 per cent of the material that passes through Brake – starts to the south west at Grossenkneten, the sour gas processing site operated by BEB, or at the NEAG processing plant operated by Mobil.

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The sulphur market: developments and trends

Summary

Introducing Sulphur's latest statistical report on the global production, consumption and trade of sulphur-in-all-forms, Mike Kitto of the British Sulphur Consultants Division of CRU International Ltd highlights key developments and trends.

Abstract

World production of sulphur-in-all-forms (SAF) in 1999 totalled 63.5 million tonnes of sulphur/sulphur-equivalent, some 1.1 million tonnes above the 1998 level. Consumption of SAF rose by 0.6 million tonnes sulphur/sulphur-equivalent from 1998 to 1999, to 61.2 million tonnes. Production therefore exceeded consumption by 2.3 million tonnes in 1999, making this the eighth consecutive year of apparent supply surplus.

Insufficient data are as yet available to include the year 2000 in the statistical supplement, but broad trends can be assessed from the available information. In summary, the year can be described as one of strong growth in involuntary production, of further reductions in voluntary production, and of weakening demand.

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Sulphur fuels the clean air debate

Summary

This year's venue for WEFA's European Oil Refining Conference was Seville. The mid-June meeting heard about sulphur's central role in the next set of fuel quality targets, and about practical routes to meet those targets. Chris Cunningham reports.

Abstract

Sulphur in fuels is such a busy area for debate and legislation, it should be small wonder that WEFA’s 2001 European Oil Refining Conference almost coincided with the European Commission’s final proposals for Auto-Oil II. Outside the meeting’s venue, thoughts centred on personal energy conservation as temperatures climbed into the upper 30s°C; inside the conference, speakers were making final amendments to presentations prepared before the new limits were announced – albeit nobody had had to hedge their bets too strongly.

However, the agenda was now in place, at least until the arrival of Auto-Oil III: the sulphur limit in gasoline will be 30 parts per million (ppm) from 2005 and a ‘sulphur-free’ limit of 10 ppm will be introduced between 2005 and 2011. The conference was an opportunity for delegates from across Europe’s refining industry to discuss how they would approach the huge investment programme that would be needed to keep up to speed on Auto-Oil. And it was a chance to hear what plans might be afoot to test their ingenuity, perhaps eventually to see the petroleum refining industry receding into history.

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Fine tuning sulphuric acid plants

Summary

In this article we report on operator experiences to boost the capacity of a spent sulphuric acid recovery (SAR) plant, to reduce NOx and SOx stack emissions from a sulphuric acid plant, and to reduce mercury levels of concentrated sulphuric acid.

Abstract

Röhm GmbH in Germany is the largest producer of methyl methacrylate monomer (MMA) in Europe. At its main production site in Worms, MMA is produced by the acetone cyanohydrin (ACH) route. In this process, the production of one tonne of MMA is accompanied by the formation of about three tonnes of spent acid, which is an aqueous solution of ammonium sulphate, sulphuric acid and organic residues.

Röhm started operating its first spent acid regeneration plant in 1966. A second plant – a Lurgi plant with two vertical decomposition furnaces – was added in 1974. The first plant was replaced in 1994 by a second Lurgi plant which converts 750 t/d of spent acid into 500 t/d concentrated sulphuric acid and oleum. By the end of the nineties a further capacity increase was required.

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