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Publication > Issue > Articles

Sweet and sour causing a stir

Summary

Tom Evans examines the development and application of amine-based gas treating processes, including the implementation of hybrid solvents as well as the effect of new environmental regulations on BTEX emissions. The latest sulphur dioxide scrubbing technology is also studied.

Abstract

In the global natural gas industry, growing demand, depleting sweet reserves, and rising sales gas prices are making the production of more sour gas reserves economical, leading to a growth in sweetening and sulphur recovery capacity. However, with this growth has come the tightening of emission regulations. There­fore, a robust sulphur recovery unit (SRU), which is good throughout the life of the gas field, is a must in order to maximise long term profitability. Re­duction of sulphur emissions from SRU’s is currently achieved by utilising various modified Claus SRU and tail gas clean-up (TGCU) technologies.

The most widely used method of treating gas streams to remove hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and/or carbon dioxide (CO2), is to treat them with aqueous alkanolamine solvents (amines) in an absorption/regeneration treating system.

Amine solvents can be used over a wide variety of process conditions, ranging from essentially atmospheric pressure for refinery off-gas and Claus tail gas treating, to high pressure for natural gas sweetening. The type of amine used for a particular application depends on the following factors:

  • Treated gas specifications.
  • Type and concentration of impurities in the acid gas.
  • Temperature and pressure of the feed gas stream and deliverable treated gas.
  • Volume of gas to be treated.
  • Hydrocarbon composition of the feed gas stream.
  • Required selectivity of acid gas removal.
  • Capital and operating costs.

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Process additives for the solid sulphur industry

Summary

Chris Burke of Raisio Chemicals Canada Inc, examines the development and action of today's sulphur dust suppressants and how increased emphasis on the environment and safety will play a key role in their future development.

Abstract

Solid elemental sulphur has been transported through the port of Vancouver for decades. Dense population surrounding the sulphur terminals, worker safety and environmental concerns precipitated a need for the handling facilities to control fugitive dust. Physical collection methods such as evacuation systems were (and still are) limited to small, isolated sections of the operation because of extreme capital costs. Although attempted by the handling facilities, water alone does not provide substantial control of dust owing to the hydrophobic nature of sulphur. The facilities turned to water based chemical dust suppressants about 20 years ago. These products provided effective, economical, immediate dust control – truly the best solution to the fugitive dust problem.

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Safety Health Environment

Summary

SHE An acronym for that very sensitive better half of our consciences, Safety, Health and the Environment, topics that are, more and more, becoming the engines that drive many of the sulphur and acid industries' business decisions. Report by Jason Stevens.

Abstract

With elevated human safety standards, ‘environmental safety’ is now a major factor in moulding industry operations, and is being watched with an eagle eye by inter­national NGO’s such as Greenpeace and individual governmental organisations such as the United State’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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