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Publication > Issue > Articles

Opportunities are there for the taking

Summary

The world methanol industry gathered in Tampa, Florida last December in a more upbeat mood than for some time, buoyed by the prospect of methanol use as an automotive fuel in the next decade. Nitrogen & Methanol was there to report on the new developments that could reshape the methanol industry as it currently stands.

Abstract

The 1997 World Methanol Conference returned to the USA in December, when 400 delegates gathered in the Hyatt Regency Westshore on the shores of Tampa Bay from December 8th to 10th, to discuss the current shape of the world methanol industry. This was the fifteenth annual world methanol conference organised by James Crocco, formerly of Crocco and Associates and now part of the CMAI consultancy group.

After welcoming delegates to the conference, Mr Crocco gave the floor to representatives of the major methanol industry organ- isations. Judith Speed of ICI Chemicals and Polymers spoke to the conference about the International Methanol Producers and Consumers Association (IMP-CA), now in its 10th year, and encouraged those who were not members to become so. She described IMPCA’s members’ newsletter Imprint, and described IMPCA’s activities, including the sponsoring of major studies on operational safety of agrimethanol (in 1993), a world product study (in 1995), and next year a study on Clean Air Issues. IMPCA also organises methanol conferences, in Asia and Latin America in alternate years, with next year’s to be in San Juan, Puerto Rico from May 4th-6th. There is also an annual European Methanol Conference, with next year’s to be in the Netherlands.

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New options for modernising your urea plant

Summary

Nitrogen & Methanol takes a look at some of today's popular choices for urea plant revamping, as well as different process technologies.

Abstract

Modern urea plants must comply with increasing demands worldwide for higher environmental standards, while maintaining or even improving performance and efficiency in an environment of economical uncertainty. Industry has responded by developing novel processes, equipment and optimisation systems, with the result that today’s urea plants are more economical and efficient, and cleaner than ever before. Furthermore, revamping and “debottlenecking” can provide a useful increase in capacity at a pleasingly small fraction of the cost of a completely new or replacement plant.

The introduction of modularised skid mounted urea plants offers substantial savings in construction costs and delivery time as well as an improvement in quality control of the constructed plant. Two complete urea synthesis units have been built in North America on the basis of a modular design and shipped to Africa.1

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Do the tigers face extinction?

Summary

Southeast Asia, once the powerhouse of the global economy, has seemingly staggered from crisis to crisis during 1997, and 1998 has seen no let-up in the region's economic problems. Will the currency crisis impact upon the fertilizer industries in what was one of the fastest growing areas of the nitrogen industry? Nitrogen & Methanol examines the recent developments in the region.

Abstract

Nineteen ninety-seven will be remembered as a black year in Southeast Asia. In Indonesia, to take an extreme example, the world’s largest gold mine turned out to be a fraud in March, destroying confidence in the mining industry. By July, unchecked logging combined with the effects of an El Niño drought to produce catastrophic fires that plunged the whole region into smoke-shrouded darkness and caused several disastrous air crashes. But within the smog-bound office blocks of Indonesia another crash was occurring, as stock markets collapsed and the currency followed. In recent weeks there have been riots on the streets, panic buying and hoarding, and calls for the resignation of President Suharto, the country’s leader for 30 years. While Indonesia has so far been one of the worst casualties of Asia’s economic crash, similar scenes have been repeated across the region. What has happened to the Asian tigers?

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Zero discharge is no problem

Summary

Faced with wastewater disposal problems, Apache Nitrogen opted to mechanically evaporate and thereby clean up its wastewater for reuse in the plant. Brine Concentration offers a novel and cost-effective alternative to other disposal technologies. *Charles McCaughey and **Bill Heins report.

Abstract

Since the mid-1970s, evaporators have been used in the U.S. and worldwide to recycle highly concentrated wastewater generated by power plants and other industrial sites. Evaporators have proven especially useful at “zero liquid discharge” sites where wastewater disposal is not permitted to a sewer, river, ocean, spray field, deep well, or solar pond. Wastewater evaporators, known as “Brine Concentrators”, recover about 98% of plant wastewater as high-purity distilled water suitable for boiler make-up, or other plant use. The advantage of evaporation over other forms of wastewater treatment is the high percentage and purity of the water recovered, and the ability to recycle even the most demanding and saturated wastewater.

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