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As good as new

Summary

Drum granulation has been successfully used for over 30 years to produce high quality urea and ammonium nitrate. Operating experience demonstrates that it is still competitive today compared with newer processes.

Abstract

Drum granulation, offered by C&I Engineering, continues to economically deliver high urea and ammonium nitrate product quality in a reliable and easy to operate plant. Improve-ments over the past 20 to 30 years have resulted in capacity increases of 50% or more compared to earlier ratings. Ratings up to 500 mt/d per train are possible, depending on specific plant conditions.

The drum granulation process was conceived in the 1950s in an effort to simplify the multi-step process then used for the granulation of complex fertilisers, and to improve product quality. This arose from a major innovation to combine granulation and drying into a single equipment unit. Since the early 1960s, the process has also been applied with equal effectiveness to the granulation of urea and ammonia nitrate, with 65 units being installed since then. New production plants incorporating the technology represented approximately 80% of the total new urea capacity in North America during the 1970s and 1980s. The vast majority of these plants continue to operate successfully today with no fundamental differences to the original design.

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Nitric Acid Producers' Meeting, Jasper

Summary

John Sinden, Consultant at JEATECH Estudes e Consultoria slc Ltda, Santos SP, Brazil, reports on this year's Nitric Acid Producer's Meeting in Jasper, Alberta, Canada. Photos by Tom Evans.

Abstract

This year’s Nitric Acid Producers’ Meeting, organised by Agrium Redwater, Alberta, took place on the 18-20 May in Jasper, Alberta, Canada. The vendor’s exhibition was co-ordinated by Wah Chang, Albany, Oregon.

As in previous years, the meeting consisted of closed round sessions for the producers’ presentations and semi-open sessions for vendors, as well as representatives from all around the globe, including USA, Canada, Israel, France, Germany, Holland, Austria, Australia, and Brazil.

This report covers the vendors’ sessions in greater detail, which this year were held on the first full day (Tuesday 19 May), and totalled six presentations. The first of these talks, entitled “An improved understanding of nitric acid compressor train operating fundamentals and performance”, was given by Harvey Greenberg, Process and Mechanical Technologies, Inc.

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Reliable operation of high pressure urea equipment

Summary

Stamicarbon's novel leak detection system gives urea producers a powerful and reliable tool in dealing with hazardous plant leakages. Nitrogen & Methanol investigates.

Abstract

Pure urea solutions are not very corrosive, but products containing carbamate such as urea synthesis solutions do have high corrosiveness. For this reason, a corrosion-resistant stainless steel layer is used to protect the carbon steel pressure vessel wall of HP equipment. To limit corrosion, it is important that the correct stainless steel be selected as construction material for the most hazardous regions, whilst taking into account its mechanical qualities and weldability.

If a leak develops in the loose liner, the corrosive solution comes into contact with the carbon steel vessel wall, causing damage to the equipment. For this reason, a possible leak should be detected as early as possible to maintain optimal safety conditions.

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Reducing methanol formation in ammonia and hydrogen plants

Summary

Following on from the success of its LK-821-2 LTS catalyst, Haldor Topsøe A/S introduces its new LK-823 catalyst, giving ammonia producers an increased reduction in methanol emission. Jack Carstensen of Topsøe's Catalyst Division reports.

Abstract

New regulations limiting the amount of methanol that ammonia and hydrogen plants can legally emit to the atmosphere are being implemented in many areas. Haldor Topsøe A/S has developed an LTS catalyst, which reduces methanol formation drastically, enabling ammonia and hydrogen plants to comply with the regulations without undertaking major investments in new equipment.

The new catalyst, LK-823, is a further development of Topsøe’s well known LTS catalyst LK-821-2. LK-823 is promoted by caesium, which reduces methanol by-product formation while maintaining a high shift activity and poisoning resistance. The lower methanol by-product formation over LK-823 has already been proven in industry and can be currently witnessed in nine ammonia and hydrogen plants worldwide.

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Australia: will N follow LNG?

Summary

Australia's Northwest Shelf has been the focus of intense petrochemical activity in the past two years. As more and more gas is discovered and the government pushes new developments, Nitrogen & Methanol considers whether the area could also become a focus of the fertilizer industry.

Abstract

The Australian Gas Associa-tion predicts that gas will be Australia’s fastest-growing energy source over the next couple of decades, predicting an annual growth rate of 3%, leading to a trebling of gas consumption by 2030. Gas is forecast to rise from its current 18% of Australian energy use to 28% by that time. Total proved reserves for the NW Shelf increased by 13% last year according to Woodside Petroleum’s figures, following a 60% boost in 1996. Proved raw gas is now 770 bcm, and probable reserves add another 80 bcm.

The spate of new gas discoveries have turned the NW Shelf into a boom area for petrochemicals. So far, it is LNG that has received the lion’s share of the investment, but the government of Western Australia is now beginning to look downstream towards other products. Could this be another boom area for the fertilizer industry?

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Lessons to be learned

Summary

The following feature examines some saftey-related incidents which have encouraged Indian and Romanian ammonia plant operators to improve the reliability and safety of their plant equipment.

Abstract

Krishak Bharati Co-operative Ltd, has two 1,350 t/d ammonia plants of Kellogg design, which have been in constant operation since 1985 at 115% design capacity, producing over 1.0 mt/a. The process air compressor in these plants consists of two casings, each housing six impellers grouped into two stages, making four stages in all. Intercoolers and separators are located at the discharge of the first three stages.

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