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Publication > Issue > Articles

The road ahead

Summary

Sulphur reports on recent developments in the use of sulphur as a binder or extender for high performance concrete and asphalt mixtures.

Abstract

Sulphur asphalt and concrete are seeing a resurgence of interest, particularly in the Middle East, where there are large volumes of available sulphur and where the high ambient temperatures can cause problems with conventional road surfaces. Two such projects were reported on during the Sulphur Institute World Sulphur Symposium in Doha earlier this year.

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It's not easy being green

Summary

At the 10th European Fuels Conference in Paris, the impact of new environmental legislation and attempting to integrate biofuels into the fuel mix as ever dominated proceedings.

Abstract

European refiners met in Paris in March this year, faced by not only their perennial concerns of legislation and environmental matters, but now a global slow-down in fuel demand and the prospect of massive new capacity in the Middle East which may lead to a rationalisation of EU refining capacity.

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Sulphur forming and handling: observations and recommendations

Summary

Gerard d'Aquin, of Con-Sul, Inc looks at how handling of sulphur during shipping affects dust levels for a variety of different formed products, and offers some .

Abstract

Bulk sulphur can be transported as both a liquid and solid. Solid sulphur includes several types of products that provide environmentally superior alternatives to dusty ‘crushed bulk’ sulphur. Such materials are collectively known as ‘formed’ sulphur. Their appearance depends on the processing method used to solidify sulphur in preparation for shipping. Based on appearance, formed sulphur shipped in bulk (without being bagged, loose in trucks, rail cars or ships) is generally divided into slate, pastille, prill and granule. Each offers slightly different handling characteristics during loading, transport, discharge, storage, reclamation and use. Sulphur forming facilities in the Arabian Gulf produce pastilles, prills and granules that are sent to consumers from China to Brazil. Crushed bulk sulphur is also exported from Iran and Iraq.

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Treatment for molten sulphur storage and transfer vents

Summary

Increasing regulations on the emissions of H2S and its combustion product SO2 are forcing facilities that produce and handle molten sulphur to treat emissions from their sulphur storage and transfer facilities in a way that does not produce SO2 emissions. Tony Barnette of Merichem Chemicals & Refinery Services LLC, Gas Technology Products Division discusses the options for the treatment of these vents streams.

Abstract

Molten sulphur has an ever widening presence in many industries. Besides the traditional sources of sulphur, such as refineries and natural gas plants, and the well known users of sulphur, such as sulphuric acid plants and fertilizer production, sulphur has become a common feedstock in more conventional chemical production such as tyre and rubber additives, polymer production, and even food products. The high likelihood of the presence of hydrogen sulphide (H2S), because of the source of most molten sulphur (desulphurisation of natural gas and crude oil) further complicates the handling, storage, and transfer of molten sulphur, which presents its own challenges due to its unique physical and chemical characteristics in its many forms. Because the transfer and storage of molten sulphur involves emptying and filling tanks, railcars, and pits, air is displaced, carrying with it H2S evolved from the molten sulphur. Hydrogen sulphide, in addition to being a combustible gas, is also a significant safety hazard, because of its toxic nature, and presents dangers to workers in the area. Molten sulphur is produced in ever increasing amounts, because of increased energy demands, higher energy costs making the processing of sour crudes and natural gas more feasible, more stringent emissions regulations, and the requirements of lower sulphur fuels. As a result, safe handling of the product has become even more important. Controlling the emissions from a sulphur storage system can be carried out by two primary approaches:

  • sweeping the vapour space;
  • sparging gas in the molten sulphur.M

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SOGAT 2010

Summary

The 6th Sour Oil and Gas Advanced Technology (SOGAT) Conference was held in Abu Dhabi from March 30th-31st this year. Sulphur presents a round-up of papers from the meeting

Abstract

Opening the conference, Saif Ahmed al Ghafli, CEO of Abu Dhabi Gas Development Co (Gasco), congratulated the SOGAT Advisory Committee for delivering such a comprehensive list of technical programmes and workshops concentrating on sour hydrocarbon development. He noted that a record number of papers had been offered this year, and remarked that the forum had grown from its inception six years ago to become a major international forum for technologies for handling sour gas.

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All above ground

Summary

WorleyParsons has developed a new liquid sulphur collection and degassing process, which eliminates gravity flow constraints, simplifies piping/equipment layout, reduces plugging problems and permits location of the collection vessel above ground and remote from the Claus train. In addition, gas entrainment and inline agitation promote the mechanical breakdown of hydrogen polysulphides for partial degassing in the collection header, augmenting subsequent final H2S removal by conventional means.

Abstract

For 60 years, the standard approach to collection of sulphur rundown streams from Claus condensers has been gravity drainage to an underground concrete pit. Pit excavation is often expensive due to factors such as high water tables, frost or contaminated soil.

In some cases, the soil has to be evaluated before any construction takes place, in other cases like in Canada, rocks under ground have caused a lot of trouble when digging and constructing underground pits. Rocks push against the concrete walls and cause cracking and regular maintenance may be required. Another common problem is sulphur pit fires as a result of corrosion over time of carbon steel coils. In some cases SS coils are recommended to reduce corrosion and the possibility of the sulphur pit fire.

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Safer handling of molten sulphur

Summary

Although not compulsory in many countries, many sulphur recovery facilities employ sulphur degassing techniques to reduce the levels of H2S/H2SX in the sulphur down to 10 ppmw, allowing safe subsequent handling and transportation of the degassed sulphur product. Most degassing processes employ a combination of agitation and contact with an oxidising sweep gas. Some also utilise a liquid or solid-bed catalyst, and/or cooling.

Abstract

Molten sulphur produced in a Claus sulphur recovery unit (SRU) typically contains 200-350 ppmw dissolved hydrogen sulphide in the form of H2S and polysulphide (H2Sx). Subsequent handling of the sulphur will cause the dissolved H2S to evolve, which can create several undesirable situations. The major concerns associated with the H2S in Claus-derived sulphur are:

  • toxic levels of H2S may be reached during sulphur loading/unloading;
  • the H2S lower explosive limit in air may be exceeded in unvented pit/tank vapour spaces;
  • government regulations and product sulphur purchaser requirements often limit H2S content;
  • nuisance odours and environmental concerns;
  • corrosiveness or poor solid-forming characteristics.

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Sulphur in various forms

Summary

Product quality, high capacity, low emissions, improved process control, lower capital and operating costs and footprint limitations are some of the many factors influencing the latest sulphur forming technologies. Enersul, Sandvik Process Systems, Kinder Morgan Devco and Martin Integrated Sulfur Systems report on their latest developments.

Abstract

Enersul high capacity premium granulator

In response to the need for a new generation of formed sulphur to meet the increasingly stringent standards imposed by both environmental considerations and custo­mer preference, Enersul developed and successfully commercialised a sulphur forming process known as the Enersul GXm1™ granulation process. The GXm1™ has a design forming capacity of 1,250 t/d, ideally suited to producers who want to form large quantities of premium sulphur granules to supply the international market.

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A golden anniversary in Qatar

Summary

The Sulphur Institute celebrated its 50th anniversary in Qatar with a record attendance at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Doha, from April 11th-14th 2010.

Abstract

The symposium was inaugurated by His Excellency Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah, deputy premier and minister of energy and industry for Qatar, who spoke to additional commissioning of various projects in Qatar. “Sulphur production will increase significantly from this year’s 1.2 to 2.5 million tons per annum by 2015,” stated the deputy premier and minister in his opening remarks.

Catherine Randazzo, TSI president and CEO, added: “despite continued increases in sulphur demand for China, ore leaching, and coming expansion with newer applications, such as sulphur fertilizers, sulphur asphalt and sulphur concrete, challenges in various aspects of the industry will continue. TSI is committed to working with the industry through these future challenges, remaining the industry’s single voice on a host of matters, including advocacy, environmental, health and safety, transportation regulations and logistics.”

Hermann H. Wittje, TSI chair and director for raw materials at Mosaic called on all aspects of the industry to make sure they are active in TSI. Wittje affirmed, “TSI has expanded its membership to include producers, consumers, and traders, as well as those in service applications, and on a global basis, to address items impacting the entire industry.”

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The Sulphur Doctor

Summary

Problem No. 1 Poor or inefficient SRU reaction furnace main burner. This is the first in a series of short articles on the subject of "common problems" with Claus sulphur recovery units (SRUs). Based on his wide and varied experience in the design, operations, trouble-shooting, and remedial problem-solving of Claus SRUs, B. Gene Goar of Goar Sulfur Services & Assistance will describe a given problem or deficiency, and offer suggestions (one or more) to lessen, eliminate, or solve the problem. The first subject to be discussed is the main burner on the reaction furnace.

Abstract

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Sulphur forming plant

Summary

Abstract

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