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Safe enough?

Summary

How safe is the storage of liquid ammonia? Should companies be allowed to site storage tanks near built-up areas? A recent study conducted by Florida's Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, on behalf of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). may give a clue to legislators' current thinking on this subject.

Abstract

The Tampa Bay area is a major tenninal for the import of ammonia into the United States. The EPA calculates that 35% of the total volume of substances designated 'extremely hazardous' in the entire state of Florida is accounted for by anhydrous ammonia in the Tampa Bay area, over 90% of which is housed in just three storage facilities, belonging to CF Industries, IMC-Agrico, and Farmland Hydro LP, respectively. The three storage facilities have a combined maximum capacity of just over 100,000t, but a total of between 25 to 3.0 million tonnes of ammonia passes through Tampa every year, according to CF Industries.

Naturally, this concentration of ammonia facilities is a cause of concern to the half a million people living in and around the bay area, and presents a potentially significant risk to them. The EPA, having completed a safety audit of the US ammonia industry in 1993, decided to take a further in-depth look at the storage of ammonia, selecting the Tampa Bay area as the one most suitable for study. The EPA considered that the clustering of the facilities, as well as the expertise of the Local Emergency Planning Committee in hazardous materials planning, "provided a unique opportunity to establish suitable strategies for risk assessment and management".

The study group that prepared the report was drawn from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, the EPA, the Florida Department of Community Affairs, the three main local facility operators, and local government and community representatives (fire departments, emergency response planners etc).

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Advances in modelling improve designs

Summary

This article presents a chronology of the design development and commercial application of the Kellogg combustion chamber in secondary reformers.

Abstract

Combustion chambers pave been applied in ammonia lant secondary reformer designs at The M. W. Kellogg Company since the 1970s. They have been demonstrated to be a reliable, rugged design for providing mixing and combustion in the generation of synthesis gas.

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Should steam be in the driving seat?

Summary

Steam typically provides the power for the rotating machinery in methanol plants. A. M. Dark* and R. N Grundy** question whether this practice is cost effective for a new plant in a remote location.

Abstract

In most methanol plants waste heat energy is recofered from hot process streams to produce high pressure (HP) steam, which is then superheated and fed to a number of steam turbine drivers, in particular, the make-up gas compressor, natural gas compressor and recycle gas compressor. However, the cost of such a system of boilers, turbines and ancillaries represents a surprisingly large fraction of the total plant investment and so is worthy of investigation.

This article studies the steam system found in a conventional 2,000 tonnes/day methanol plant. Having analysed various costs, it raises a question about the value for money of steam as a means of providing power for the rotating machinery. The reliability and flexibility of large steam turbine drivers is renowned in the process industries, but are there perhaps equally reliable, but more cost effective ways of providing shaft power at a remote location?

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The purifier: a key to smooth operation

Summary

The cryogenic purifier in the Braun Purifier Process for ammonia production has clocked up well over 150 plant operating years of experience without mechanical failure. Bernard Grotz* describes the mechanical details of the cryogenic equipment and reports on the plant benefits gained through operation with a purifier unit.

Abstract

The Braun Purifier Processt for the manufacture of ammonia was introduced in 1964 and has been further developed and applied to specific customer requirements and different plant capacities ever since.

The heart of the Braun Purifier Process is the cryogenic purifier. This unit is fitted into the process downstream from the methanator and before the synthesis gas compressor. Its purpose is to remove surplus nitrogen, argon and methane impurities from the synthesis gas.

A dozen purifier units have been in successful commercial operation for up to 25 years with a total of well over 150 plant operating years of experience without mechanical failure. Mechanical details of the cryogenic equipment are give below.

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