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Publication > Issue > Articles

Carbon dioxide capture and storage in the nitrogen and syngas industries

Summary

Rick Strait and Manoj Nagvekar of KBR Technology look at the options for large-scale syngas producers for carbon capture and storage

Abstract

Concern over carbon dioxide emissions and its effect on the environment is peaking worldwide. Ammonia and synthesis gas-based chemical plants are significant generators of carbon dioxide, although not at the same levels as carbon dioxide emitted from power plants. Although there is a great deal of interest in carbon capture and storage (CCS), few in the industry are implementing large-scale CCS projects. KBR Technology discusses some of the obstacles faced when considering a CCS project and what is on the horizon for new and existing synthesis gas-based chemical plants, including ammonia plants.

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The changing methanol industry

Summary

The methanol industry has seen momentous changes over the past five years thanks to China's embrace of coal-based methanol as a fuel substitute. But can this be repeated elsewhere? The answers were to be found in Miami…

Abstract

Miami Beach was the setting for this year’s CMAI World Methanol Conference. In spite of the warmth of the surroundings, there was a bit of a chill in the industry, with prices down and the industry in the throes of capacity rationalisation, which may have explained the relatively low turnout. However, with methanol prices back to more reasonable levels, the future for fuel/energy use demand for methanol looks bright, and not just in China, it seems.

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Safety in the global ammonia industry

Summary

Venkat Pattabathula of Incitec Pivot Ltd, Bhaskar Rani of CF Industries and Don H. Timbres of D. & E. Consulting review 20 years of ammonia production and storage-related safety issues from previous AIChE conferences, highlighting the key lessons learned from the past experiences of the ammonia industry across the globe.

Abstract

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) has played an important role in providing a platform for ammonia safety, which has no doubt improved the safety of ammonia plants and saved lives and expense. The information shared at their symposiums also prevented many similar incidents from ever happening due to people being aware of what has happened elsewhere.

The first AIChE Safety in Ammonia Plants and Related Facilities Symposium was held in 1956. At that time, the symposium was called Safety in Air and Ammonia Plants. Through the papers presented at these symposia, we have been able to make our industry safer and more efficient. Knowledge of bad experiences has helped others to avoid them. Knowledge of positive experiences and design improvements has contributed to a more efficient industry.

According to UN reports, over the last 20 years, the global ammonia industry has grown by about sixfold, from about 30 million t/a to 191 million t/a in 2009. This is projected to grow to 205 million t/a by the year 2011-12. For South Asia, the nitrogen fertilizer use is forecast to grow at 2.2% annually.

Over the past 20 years there have been more than 600 papers presented. The titles alone of many of the papers reflect the advances in the technology used in our industry. Others reflect lessons learned the hard way through accidents and near misses. In this paper, we will review what we consider to be some of the most important developments and lessons learned from the past.

We consider the most significant incidents from 163 reported over the last 20 years are as follows:

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The benefits and challenges of urea plant relocation

Summary

NIIK, the Research & Design Institute of Urea in Russia, describe their experiences with plant relocation and the opportunities this can afford for expansion and efficiency improvements in urea production.

Abstract

One of the possible ways to enhance the efficiency of an investment in new capacity can be the construction of a new urea plant based on relocated equipment. Of course, this is not a new development, but one which has seen growing relevance is growing at a time when the global economy is shrinking.

The main advantages of a urea plant relocation project compared to a completely new production plant are savings in investment cost and quicker launch of commercial urea production. It is estimated that a relocation project, even one involving a complete revamp of the plant, may lead to a 30% investment saving compared to the cost of a brand new urea plant.

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Pastilles prove popular

Summary

Sandvik Process Systems has entered the fertilizer urea solidification market via its Rotoform technology, which has proved popular with German farmers.

Abstract

In a major step forward in its drive to introduce its Rotoform pastillation technology to the fertilizer urea market, solidification system manufacturer Sandvik Process Systems has completed a full cycle of product field trials with farmers in north Germany. Rapid acceptance on the part of farmers, followed by excellent feedback in terms of initial field distribution and subsequent harvest, has left Sandvik confident that 2010 will see its technology start to make significant inroads into the urea and broader fertilizer solidification markets.

The company has been a major force in the design of specialist process solutions for nearly a century, developing and pioneering systems for applications including cooling, solidification, granulation, casting, freezing and dehydration. All are based on the use of the steel belt, a processing medium that Sandvik itself introduced to the world in 1901.

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From science to proven technology

Summary

Topsøe has developed a new methanol synthesis catalyst, MK-151 FENCE™. N. C. Schiødt, K. Svennerberg and S. L. Jørgensen of Haldor Topsøe highlight the developmental work, the unique catalyst features and discuss how methanol producers can benefit from this new development.

Abstract

Industrial plants using catalytic processes are dependent on outside sources to provide fundamental and applied research, technical know-how and to produce and supply catalysts. Internationally, many companies have competences in one or two of these areas, but Topsøe is active in all the above-mentioned fields.

Topsøe is not only a leading supplier of methanol synthesis catalyst, but also a methanol technology licensor with close to 30 complete methanol synthesis units around the world. The methanol plants range from small co-production units in ammonia plants to large capacity stand-alone methanol plants. Topsøe has recently obtained orders for two 5,000 t/d methanol units for which Topsøe will supply both the methanol technology as well as the front-end technology based on a combination of tubular and autothermal reforming.

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Ammonia production and climate change

Summary

The ammonia industry is a significant consumer of energy and emitter of CO2. The future regulatory requirements will demand further improvements in energy efficiency and novel technologies for carbon capture and storage. Emissions trading will become part of business also for the ammonia producers. Unless the climate change regulations are made global, unfair competitive distortion will take place. Tore Jenssen of Yara International discusses the position of the ammonia industry with respect to energy efficiency and CO2 emissions and assesses the impact of proposed climate change regulations.

Abstract

Following topics are looked at:

  • Climate change and regulations
  • CO2 from ammonia production
  • European regulations and benchmarking
  • Carbon leakage
  • Possible improvements
  • Future emission allowance for ammonia plants

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Fuels from cleaner coal technology

Summary

Alternative energy sources and technologies are hot topics. At a time when oil prices and demand are rising, future sources of coal are under the spotlight. Australian company Linc Energy is leading the way to recover energy from deep, stranded coal for the production of cleaner electricity and liquid fuels, and greater energy security.

Abstract

Australia is rich in coal resources yet reliant on imported oil products for most of its transportation energy needs. Australian company Linc Energy has successfully combined two technologies, Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) and Gas to Liquids (GTL), in a world-first achievement to provide Australia and other nations with an opportunity to produce energy solutions from their own resources. The most advanced UCG player in the western world, Linc Energy is at the forefront of this now growing global industry.

Linc Energy began UCG trials on farmland in Queensland’s coal-rich Surat Basin, 300 kilometres west of Brisbane, Australia. Ten years on, Linc Energy’s Chinchilla Demonstration Facility is the first in the world to demonstrate coal conversion underground for liquid fuels production.

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Japan's first GTL project

Summary

The first demonstration test of a novel GTL process, which uses CO2 instead of oxygen in the feedstock to produce synthesis gas, has been completed in Niigata City, Japan. The second test is due to take place in 2010. Once fully developed and proven on a commercial scale, the JAPAN-GTL process will be targeted at CO2-rich gas fields that would normally be uneconomic to operate.

Abstract

Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC), a Japanese state-run energy researcher, and Japanese private companies have been developing gas-to-liquids (GTL) technologies since 1998. The Japan-GTL process has been developed and successfully pilot tested from 2001 to 2004 at the 7-bpd Yufutsu GTL Pilot Plant in Hokkaido, Japan.

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World's largest GTL plant

Summary

The drive is on to make transport fuels and lubricants on a large scale from clean-burning natural gas. Construction of the world's largest GTL plant, Pearl GTL in Qatar, is a major step towards meeting the world's growing demand for cleaner energy.

Abstract

Road transport is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide emissions and a major cause of pollutants in cities. The rising number of vehicles on the road and tighter regulations increase the need for cleaner fuels with fewer harmful emissions. One answer is Shell’s pioneering gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology, which produces a clean liquid fuel derived from natural gas, thereby helping to unlock the vast potential of the world’s gas resources and increase energy security.

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