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Hydrogen for refineries

Summary

Integrating on-purpose hydrogen production into a refinery production scheme is increasingly important as demand for hydrogen upgrading within refineries continually increases.

Abstract

Hydrogen has a variety of applications within refineries. In hydrotreating or hydrofining, it is used to desulphurise crude oil fractions. It is also used in catalytic reforming, where light hydrocarbons are converted into middle fractions. In hydrocracking, hydrogen is taken up by long molecules which are broken up into the middle fractions needed for petrol production.

In refineries, hydrogen can be produced as a by-product of naphtha reforming, but any supplemental hydrogen is mainly produced from steam reforming of natural gas. Approximately 75% of hydrogen currently consumed worldwide by oil refineries is supplied by large, purpose-built hydrogen plants that generate hydrogen from natural gas or other hydrocarbon fuels, with the balance being recovered from hydrogen-containing streams generated in the refinery process. Pressure swing absorption (PSA) technology is used in both hydrogen generation plants and for hydrogen recovery.

Most hydrogen in the US (about 95%), and about half of the world’s hydrogen supply, is produced through the steam reforming of natural gas. Globally, about 53m t/a of hydrogen were consumed in 2006. The feedstock breakdown is; natural gas: 49%, liquid hydrocarbons: 29%, coal: 18% and electrolysis and other sources 4%. US demand for hydrogen currently is about 9m t/a. Of this, about 1.5 million t/a is merchant hydrogen production that is sold on to refineries and chemical plants.

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Another rollercoaster year for methanol

Summary

As the World Methanol Conference notched up its silver jubilee in Orlando, industry prices had conspired to make for a wilder ride than anything available at nearby Disney World.

Abstract

Nearly all markets have had an exceptional year, and methanol has been no exception. As the industry gathered in Orlando, Florida in late November, they could reflect on a year in which prices had reached unheard of levels of $700 per tonne. Dave McCaskill opened the conference, welcoming delegates to the 25th in a series begun by Jim Crocco back in 1982, and reflecting on the passing of another eventful year for the methanol industry.

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New plants for old

Summary

Many ammonia plant owners consider revamping as a means to increase production rate, improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions, improve reliability, and maximise profit derived from their plant. Nitrogen+Syngas examines some of the many options available from leading technology providers to meet these goals.

Abstract

Advanced technology for revamp projects is widely available, including new process concepts, improved or new equipment designs and more effective catalysts. In addition, there is increased knowledge of the acceptable operating limits of various units. The extent to which advanced technology can be applied to a specific project varies depending upon the situation. Therefore, revamp projects must be tailor made and a phased approach is recommended starting with a revamp study defining the relevant options to achieve the defined goal, and establishing the estimated modification costs.

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Western Europe's syngas industries

Summary

In spite of difficulties and closures due to high feedstock prices, western Europe still has a sizeable syngas-based chemical industry, and changing market conditions may finally be beginning to work in its favour.

Abstract

Rising natural gas prices and increased competition from overseas producers has meant that the past couple of decades have not been happy ones for the European ammonia and methanol industries. Recent ammonia plant closures in Spain and the UK have been only the most recent casualties of several bouts of restructuring which began with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

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