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Maximising potential

Summary

The reasons for revamping, retrofitting and debottlenecking sulphuric acid plants are manifold. The three main driving forces are to renew or modernise existing underperforming equipment, increase capacity and reduce environmental impact. Sulphur reports on a variety of case histories demonstrating some of the many benefits available in the revamp and/or retrofit of sulphuric acid plants.

Abstract

The reasons for revamping, retrofitting and debottlenecking sulphuric acid plants are manifold. The three main driving forces are to renew or modernise existing underperforming equipment, increase capacity and reduce environmental impact. Sulphur reports on a variety of case histories demonstrating some of the many benefits available in the revamp and/or retrofit of sulphuric acid plants.

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Cansolv SO2 scrubbing

Summary

Rick Birnbaum of Cansolv Technologies Inc. provides an update on the Cansolv SO2 scrubbing system and its application in Claus tail gas applications.

Abstract

The Cansolv SO2 scrubbing system has been commercially available for ten years. In this time, nine licenses have started up and four are under construction. The technology has found applications to remove SO2 from Claus tail gas streams, sulphuric acid plant tail gas streams, batch smelter off gas streams and boiler flue gas streams. These applications have conclusively proved that the amines used in the Cansolv system do not degrade in the presence of SO2, oxygen or flue gas particulates and that they do not exhibit significant vapour pressure, thereby avoiding issues related to amine contamination of the environment.

The Cansolv system has proved to be useful in Claus tail gas applications, where it has been in use in a 30 t/d unit since 2002 in Europe. A second Claus tail gas unit that is designed to treat gas from a 100 t/d SRU was put into operation in 2006 in the USA, but was shut down temporarily. This unit is expected to come back on line this year.

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Reinvention of the granulator

Summary

Enersul combines efficiency, low environmental impact and safety with it's new granulator GXm3 for smaller scale sulphur production. Brian Pyke, GXm3, product development manager, recounts its evolution.

Abstract

What determines the difference between redesign and reinvention? While redesign takes an existing product and makes modifications to improve its performance and operation, reinvention goes far beyond. Reinvention breaks the unit down into its requisite components and questions the design of each component. Reinvention involves completely changing a way of thinking and refusing to believe that some things cannot be changed. Reinvention is what drives engineering to build bigger and better things in industry. The reinvention of the granulator affects the entire industry.

The granulator has undergone many changes since its first design, and continuous refining of equipment and process philosophy has increased operation efficiency and product quality. As industry needs continued to evolve, so too did granulation technology. Greater numbers of smaller-scale sulphur production operations, combined with sulphur producers seeking forming equipment that is smaller in scale and more portable by design, have led to the development of Enersul’s newest granulator, the GXm3™.

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The bulls pull sulphur in their wake

Summary

The phosphate fertilizer industry represents one of the major demand sources for sulphur and sulphuric acid. Mark Evans, Editor of sister-title Fertilizer International, looks at the trends in the use of phosphates and the implications for the sulphur industry.

Abstract

As prices of phosphate fertilizers reach unheralded levels, by rights the pips should have long begun to squeak. What self-respecting buyer was willing to pay $600/t f.o.b. Tampa for diammonium phosphate (DAP) in late December 2007? Or at the same time a similarly unheard of $525/t P2O5 for phosphoric acid? Or $260/t for phosphate rock? For almost as long as any trader could remember, DAP would never break beyond $250/t f.o.b. for any sustained period. Nor could phosphoric acid ever seem to penetrate the $300/t barrier for long. As for phosphate rock, $40-45/t was what you would have expected to pay for many a long year.

And yet within a couple of weeks of New Year 2008 being ushered in, the December phosphate prices seemed like a fondly-remembered bargain: DAP forged ahead, to a breathtaking $715/t f.o.b. Tampa in mid-January, continuing onwards and upwards to $780/t in mid-February, before breaking through $1,000/t in March and ending April 2008 at $1,200/t. Phosphoric acid prices followed a similar track, hurtling without pause to $1,300/t P2O5 in January, $1,450/t in March and $1,970/t in April. If you could actually find any non-contract tonnage of phosphate rock, you would expect to pay $470/t by late April 2008. (Fig. 1)

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Sulphur in the power industry

Summary

Large amounts of sulphur locked in coal must be dealt with at power generation plants. At the moment this is mostly extracted in flue gases and converted to gypsum. However, does so-called 'clean coal' technology have the potential for yet more sulphur production as a by-product?

Abstract

The electrical power generation industry has become a significant processor of sulphur as it becomes subject to increasingly stringent emissions limitations. Electrical power is generated from a variety of feedstocks and sources, from coal through oil and natural gas to hydroelectric and nuclear, but sulphur dioxides are only emitted in significant quantities from the burning of sulphur-containing fossil fuels. While power production is the major use of all fossil fuels worldwide, in the case of oil or natural gas, the sulphur in the feedstock is generally removed prior to use, in refineries or gas processing stations, and so it is refiners or sour gas processors who are the source of sulphur. However, because coal is a solid it is impossible to remove the sulphur until the ppoint of use, either after it is burned, or via some form of pretreatment via pulverising and emuslsifying, which can be expensive. As a result, while coal fired power generates only about 56% of the US electricity supply, for example, it is responsible for 96% of sulphur emissions from power production in that country. This article therefore focuses on the coal-fired power industry, and how it is changing.

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Managing greenhouse gas emissions

Summary

WorleyParsons is currently implementing its in-house EcoNomics programme to address global climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the sulphur recovery and gas processing industries. Mahin Rameshni of WorleyParsons discusses the need to adapt to changing requirements and reports on new technologies that have been developed to support GHG reduction by reducing or replacing fuel/NG consumption.

Abstract

Warnings of global climate change probably surfaced in earnest over 30 years ago. The term is ironically innocuous, but the dire predictions are by now well known – floods, drought, storms, crop failure, melting polar ice, rising sea level, species extinction and so on. The lack of progress to date is testimony to the complexity of the issue and resistance to the implied sacrifices which may ultimately be necessary. Yet the increasingly overwhelming consensus of the scientific community, that human activity is most certainly responsible for these changes, can no longer be ignored. That consensus is clearly evident in the abundance of published data, research efforts and comprehensive reports by task forces such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

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TSI comes to the Middle East

Summary

The Sulphur Institute's annual World Sulphur Symposium was held from March 31st April 2nd at the InterContinental Hotel, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Abstract

The extraordinary movements in the sulphur markets in recent weeks provoked greater than usual interest in proceedings, and 235 participants made their way to Abu Dhabi for the conference. In his opening remarks, Kenneth Ellzey discussed some of the work of TSI, including sulphur advocacy, and promoting new uses for sulphur, in the construction industry, and in terms of sulphur fertilizers in China and India.

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Sulphur forming plant

Summary

Sulphur's regular update of recent and scheduled projects worldwide to supply equipment for the manufacture of formed product.

Abstract

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