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Maximising resources

Summary

Advanced process control is a proven technology that has generated significant and sustained benefits in the fertilizer and syngas industries. Today's business environment requires that companies do more than just produce. They need to compete and grow with profitable and sustainable results. Essential technologies such as advanced control and plantwide optimisation help make the most of resources.

Abstract

Advanced process control (APC) offers plant owners and operators many benefits, ranging from plant optimisation, greater productivity, easier operation, improved safety, greater stability, reduced emissions, less maintenance and greater profitability. With short payback times, often less than a year, advanced process control systems have gained greater importance and are becoming more commonplace.

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50 Years of innovation

Summary

Gareth Williams, Tom Hicks and Terry Fitzpatrick of Johnson Matthey Catalysts provide insight into the many attributes that have make JM Catalysts a world leader in methanol technology for the past 50 years.

Abstract

Gareth Williams, Tom Hicks and Terry Fitzpatrick of Johnson Matthey Catalysts provide insight into the many attributes that have make JM Catalysts a world leader in methanol technology for the past 50 years.

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The global methanol market

Summary

Methanol prices have been extremely volatile in recent years, driven by rapidly growth in demand for fuel uses, especially in China. Now that demand is falling and new capacity is coming onstream, however, the outlook is for lower prices.

Abstract

Even for a notoriously volatile industry, methanol has seen some startling peaks and troughs over the past two years. There was a major price peak in late 2006, touching $600/t in some markets, and after prices had fallen back to more traditional levels, they rocketed again to over $900/t at the end of 2007 and start of 2008.

However, as Figure 1 shows, methanol prices actually started falling around the start of 2008, in marked contrast to most other commodity markets, which did not peak until August/September 2008. Although methanol prices did slide again from that time, they had already dropped significantly from their peak by then.

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Safety first

Summary

Over 200 delegates attended the International Fertilizer Association's (IFA) first Global Safety Summit in Bahrain between 14 and 18 of March. Hosted by the Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC), an industry leader in safety and environmental management, the summit provided a platform for showcasing safety management techniques, and discussed new ideas and technologies.

Abstract

Under the patronage of His Excellency Dr Abdul Hussain Bin Mirza, Minister of Oil and Gas Affairs for the Kingdom of Bahrain, the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) in partnership with the Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC) presented the world’s first global safety summit for the fertilizer industry in Manama, Bahrain.

In his welcome address to delegates, William Doyle, IFA vice president for sustainable development and CEO of Potash Corp, noted the importance of safety in fertilizer manufacturing. “Safety is the most valuable service we can provide,” he said. Doyle’s thoughts were echoed throughout the summit, as industry leaders and safety specialists addressed a number of safety themes, including:

  • Leadership and innovation;
  • Technology and initiatives;
  • The role of safety in sustainable
  • development;
  • Employee empowerment;
  • The challenges of maintaining good safety performance during difficult economic times.

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Greener urea production

Summary

Y. Watanabe, K. Tanaka and T. Takikawa of JGC Corporation introduce AATG, a simple, high thermal efficiency, low carbon dioxide emission process for producing synthesis gas from natural gas. When combined with HiPACT, a new acid gas removal process, these technologies can reduce both the energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions associated with urea production.

Abstract

In conventional processes, the main reaction is the reforming and the shift reaction, after which, the oxidation takes place, with the addition of air, which can be adjusted to yield a synthesis gas with an H2/N2 ratio of 3.0 and an H2/CO2 ratio of around 3.5. Therefore, conventional processes do not supply sufficient carbon dioxide for urea production. To adjust the H2/CO2 ratio, excess synthesis gas is used as reformer fuel or additional carbon dioxide is recovered from the reformer flue gas1 when all ammonia is sent to the urea plant, with no ammonia export as an intermediate product.

However, Advanced Auto-thermal Gasification (AATG) yields an H2/CO2 ratio of around 2.6 because the proportion of methane consumed in the oxidation is greater than that in the conventional process due to the fact that in AATG the oxidation takes place in an adiabatic reactor instead of fired heating in a reformer. Therefore, unlike conventional processes, AATG supplies sufficient carbon dioxide for urea production.

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