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Acold wind from the east

Summary

After a few years of painful restructuring, the European ammonium nitrate industry has emerged leaner and fitter. However, it now faces a fresh challenge in the form of a flood of imports from eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union as their own domestic markets collapse.

Abstract

Ammonium nitrate (AN) is by and large a European phenomenon, particularly a northern European phenomenon. Whereas AN and calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) have around 6.5% of the nitrogen fertilizer market in the USA, this figure is 31% in Italy, and 79% in the UK. Urea has made some inroads into the European market over the past decade, steadily gaining in popularity from around 11% of total nitrogen consumption in 1983, 14% in 1987, to 22% in 1993. However, AN remains the dominant nitrogen-based fertilizer in western Europe, and western Europe represents around 34% of the world market for ANI CAN, as opposed to 12.5% of the overall market for nitrogen-based fertilizers.

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Burning issues

Summary

The European gas industry is on the verge of some of the most important changes that it has seen for decades. With market liberalisation looming, Europe is peering anxiously at the UK, Europe's largest gas producer and the country furthest down the deregulation path, to see if there are any lessons that can be learned from Britain's occasionally painful experience.

Abstract

According to an analysis recently conducted by the Russian Oil and Gas Academy, wood burning was the major fuel for production of world energy until the 1890s. Coal, which then rose to pre-eminence as the Industrial Revolution permeated worldwide, had a heyday which lasted until the late 1960s, when oil took over, and petroleum remains the dominant global fuel today. However, natural gas consumption is now rising so rapidly in both the developed and developing world alike that it looks set to displace oil as the fuel of choice in the early years of the next century. What we are seeing now is the birth of the gas age.

Tables 1 and 2 illustrate the prevalent trends in the European gas industry. Overall European gas consumption has grown 14% in the past four years. Part of this has been due to a rebound in demand in Eastern Europe as economies recover from the pain of post-communist restructuring. Consumption is also growing at a startling rate in Spain and Turkey, albeit from a low base level. However, the largest absolute gains in gas usage have come from Germany, where consumption has risen 18% in four years, and, to an even greater extent, the UK, which has seen a 28% rise in gas use. Meanwhile, European gas production remains fairly stagnant. The only exception is in the UK, which has seen output rise nearly 40% in the past four years in the so-called 'dash for gas'. Norway is about to follow this trend, with several new fields, including the massive Troll field, either just coming on-stream or due to do so in the next few years.

Several factors have driven the so-called 'dash for gas', but one of the primary ones is a need to reduce pollution and carbon dioxide emissions as part of the targets agreed at the Rio summit in 1990. Since 1990 the UK has installed 10.8 GW of combined cycle gas 22 Photo: BP turbine power plants, with as much again to be in place in the next five years. In 1990, natural gas produced just 1% of Britain's electricity. Today this is 26% and rising.

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Pinch and exergy analysis ofa fertilizer complex - Part 2

Summary

In Part 1 of this article Peter Radgen of Fraunhofer_Institute for Systems and Innovations Research presented the results ofpinch analysis of a fertilizer complex. In Part 2 he presents the results of the exergy analysis of the same complex. Optimization potentials in the individual plants are presented and discussed.

Abstract

The energetic analysis of a process in the form of an energy balance based on the first law of thermodynamics takes into account the quantitative energy transformation only and not its degradation during conversion. Statements about the quality of the energy concerned, and thus energy degradation during conversion, can only be made when the second law of thermodynamics is taken into account. With the help of exergy analysis, energy degradation is located in the process. Szargut1 has given the following definition of the term exergy: "Exergy is the amount of work obtainable when some matter is brought to a state of thermodynamic equilibrium with the common components of its surrounding nature by means of reversible processes,· involving interaction only with the common components of nature".

The surrounding environment is assigned the characteristics of a reservorr, i.e. the parameters of state - temperature, pressure and chemical composition - do not alter due to interactions with a process. The exergy of material flows Btotal (see equation 1) is the most important part of exergy flows for steady state processes and consists of four parts: kinetic exergy B kin , potential exergy Bpot' thermo-mechanical exergy Eph (exergy shares of the thermal and mechanical energy) and the chemical exergy Bch (exergy share dependent on concentration and chemical composition).

The kinetic and potential exergies were ignored in this analysis because their values are relatively low and thus their influence on the total exergy balance is small. The thermo-mechanical exergy is the work obtainable when a stream of matter is altered from its state with temperature T and pressure p to the surrounding state with Tu and Pu by a reversible physical process. The chemical exergy is the work obtainable when a'stream of matter with a state Tu and Pu is brought into chemical equilibrium with the reference components of the environment.

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Multinif(R), a novel catalyst gauze

Summary

With the continued development of knitted catalyst gauzes for the production of nitric acid comes a new generation of novel three-dimensional gauzes from Degussa, offering improved conversion efficiency, reduced ammonia slip and longer operating times. E. Drost and H. Diibler report on this latest development.

Abstract

The introduction of knitting catalyst gauzes as an alternative to the weaving technique has created completely new conditions for R&D activities in this field. Advantages of knitting technology include shorter production times, higher productivity and high flexibility in varying the alloy, gauze structure and specific weight of the gauze. However, the main advantage of the knitted product is its three-dimensional structure. This was the key to the immediate and unexpectedly convincing success of knitted catalyst products when first introduced to the industry and has since become the main criterion for distinguishing between products manufactured according to different techniques by different manufacturers.

The initial general success in the market place can only be consolidated by those who succeed in establishing the optimum spatial arrangement and density of the gauze wires. Therefore, the knitted structure of the catalyst gauze represents the focal point of development work currently taking place everywhere. The arguments in favour of this observation, with its great significance for the future, arise from scientific study and experimental work and more recently on work with plain knitted catalyst gauzes.

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On-line NOx/NH3 measurement in DeNOx units

Summary

The Shell DeNOx System is a low temperature SCR system for deep NOx removal from flue-gas. Ofprime importance for process control and performance monitoring ofSCR installations is the on-line measurement ofNOx and NH3 For this purpose ThIS Proven Technology has developed a dedicated NOx/NH3 measurement system based on a chemiluminescence analyser. Mark Crocker* and Piet BroertJes** report on these developments.

Abstract

Since its introduction in Japan in the 1970s, Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) has widely gained acceptance as the most effective and technologically proven method for deep NOx removal from flue-gas. The principle behind SCR is outlined in Figure 1. Ammonia, as the anhydrous liquid or as a concentrated aqueous solution, is vaporised and injected into the gas stream via a distribution grid. After mixing, the gas passes into the deNOx reactor where the NOx is reduced to nitrogen and water over a solid catalyst according to equations (1)-(3) in Fig. 1.

to equations (1)-(3) in Fig. 1. The SCR catalyst is often employed in the form of a monolith (or "honeycomb"), although catalysts with plate-like geometries are also available. 1 A particular advantage of monolith- and plate-type geometries over packed bed reactors is their high tolerance for dust with respect to plugging. Weighed against this is the relatively low intrinsic activity of monolithic SCR catalysts,2 necessitating the use of operating temperatures which are generally in excess of 280°C.

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