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Lurec®: key to smelter acid economics

Summary

The Lurec® process can directly handle off-gas with significantly higher gas concentrations than conventional smelter acid plants. The first industrial application, a grass roots plant operating with 16-18 vol-% SO2, has been in operation since the summer of 2007. A second installation for a smelter expansion project is due to start up soon. K.-H. Daum and J. Albrecht of Outotec GmbH discuss the challenge of converting high-grade SO2 gas and how the Lurec® process can provide an economic solution.

Abstract

The production of sulphuric acid remains the most viable option of sulphur recovery from smelter off-gas and abatement of SO2 emissions to the atmosphere, especially as smaller but more concentrated off-gas flows are to be treated from smelters, and enhanced sulphuric acid processes become available.

Off-gas handling systems represent a significant capital and operating cost in metallurgical operations. Modern pyrometallurgical smelter processes for sulphide ores based on the use of O2-enriched air, produce relatively small off-gas flows with high SO2 concentrations in the smelter gas of 30-60 vol-%. This is a prerequisite for substantial cost reductions in the smelter off-gas handling and treatment system.

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Things turn sour

Summary

The Middle East is set to hugely increase its sulphur output over the next decade or so as a number of sour oil and gas projects come on-stream.

Abstract

The Middle East remains the repository of most of the world’s oil and natural gas reserves, and as such the gas-based chemical industry has undergone a gradual but inexorable drift towards the region over the past three decades. As more gas is discovered, and with reservoirs running dry in other parts of the world, so the project announcements keep on coming. However, each country has its own unique set of circumstances which have driven different approaches to monetisation of oil and gas resources.

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Developing the Atlantis gas plant

Summary

Michael W. Conder, Kindra Snow-McGregor, P.E., April Schroer and Jason Pingenot of the Pearl Development Company describe the development, design, construction and operation of a new sour natural gas processing plant located in Ras al Khaimah, UAE

Abstract

The Ras al Khaimah Gas Commission’s new gas processing plant, north of Sharjah in the UAE is a state-of-the-art facility, complete with gas treating and liquids recovery. It is capable of processing up to 92 MMscfd (2.46 million Nm3) of sour off-shore gas, more than tripling the existing processing plant capacity. The plant will provide much-needed pipeline quality gas to meet the growing demands in the northern Emirates.

The RAKGas plant is located about 20 km northeast of the city of Ras al Khaimah, near the Port of Khor Khwer, United Arab Emirates. The plant is operated as a joint venture between the Ras Al Khaimah Gas Commission (RAKGas), a wholly owned RAK Government Company, and RAK Petroleum PCL. RAKGas is the operating partner. RAK Petroleum is the operator of the field while RAKGas is the operator of the plant.

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Better control of SCOT TGT units

Summary

By combining detection techniques, electronics and the sample system, Ametek has developed a single, integrated, continuous H2/H2S/COS analyser for SCOT tail gas treating units. Randy Hauer of Ametek P&AI describes the initial installation of the gas analyser at a Texas refinery and the subsequent improvements that were made to the instrument following field testing.

Abstract

The tail gas treater (TGT) is the basic unit operation of removing sulphur compounds from Claus SRU tail gas. There are several types of TGTs, including production of byproduct sulphates, but by far “closed loop” amine-based TGTs where the H2S-rich stream is recycled back to the front of the SRU are the most prevalent. The analyser experience described here is based on the experience for a SCOT tail gas treater but the analyser and sample system has been applied to many variants of the amine-based TGT.

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Shifting parameters

Summary

Until the 1970s, the processing of copper, lead, zinc and other base metal ores was one of the major sources of SO2 emissions to the air. As tightening regulations have led to increasing sulphur capture, so metal smelting has assumed an important place in the sulphur industry – but the parameters are by no means fixed.

Abstract

The production of sulphuric acid accounts for around 90% of world sulphur-in-all-forms use, most of which is produced on-site for captive use. However, in recent years, sulphuric acid produced from sulphur has increasingly had to compete with sulphuric acid produced on an involuntary basis as a by-product of base metals smelting. (The Global Outlook for Sulphuric Acid 2006-16), Joanne Peacock, British Sulphur Consultants. Paper presented at Sulphur 2007, Montreal [October 2007].)

In 2007, world new sulphuric acid production was estimated at 199 million tonnes H2SO4, equating to an increase of more than 4% over 2006. The 8 million tonnes’ increase came mainly from higher output from sulphur burning units and smelters. World production of sulphuric acid from smelters rose 7% to 56 million tonnes H2SO4, representing 28% of total new acid production and a rising proportion of the total, reflecting smelters’ high operating rates. These operating rates have in turn been supported by strong demand for copper and nickel, in combination with new smelter capacity and rising SO2 capture. (Sulphur Outlook, International Fertilizer Industry Association [IFA], November 2007.)

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