BC Insight - Nitrogen+Syngas, Sulphur, Fertilizer International
Login
BCInsight Ltd
China Works
Black Prince Road
London, SE1 7SJ
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

Publication > Issue > Articles

Applications for methanol

Summary

Demand for methanol is conditioned by demand for its many and varied downstream applications, from traditional chemical uses such as formaldehyde and acetic acid to new fuel and energy uses in gasoline blending, biodiesel, dimethyl ether and synthetic gasoline production, and petrochemical replacement via ethylene and propylene production.

Abstract

Methanol is one of the most versatile molecules in the chemical industry, with a wide range of downstream uses. It finds its way into plastics, polymers, resins and wood produc ts, paints, fuels, adhesives and pharmaceuticals. As a liquid it is relatively easy to store and transport, and although it is poisonous if directly ingested, its high solubility in water means that it disperses very quickly in the environment. Traditionally methanol was a key intermediate in chemical production, especially for formaldehyde but also a raft of other chemical uses. As Figure 1 shows, around 60% of methanol demand in 2011 was based on these traditional chemical uses. Keywords: acetic acid, methanol, DME, formaldehyde, MTO, MTG, biodiesel, MMA, markets

Add to basket


The changing market for natural gas

Summary

While the US shale gas boom has grabbed headlines in gas markets over the past years, developments in Russia, LNG markets and continuing liberalisation in e.g. Europe are also continuing to change the way that the global gas market works.

Abstract

Although non-gas sources, predominantly coal, account for about one quarter of ammonia and methanol production around the world, natural gas remains the dominant feedstock for syngas production, a position it has enjoyed since the 1960s. Gas is much easier to convert to syngas than coal, requiring far less upstream handling, and this brings down the capital cost of a plant, while the global push for new oil supplies led to the discovery of many new gas fields in remote areas, or gas that was associated with oil production, which was often a long way from end use markets and often had no obvious use beyond flaring. The use of this stranded gas to develop chemical capacity formed the basis of the modern nitrogen and syngas industries. However, as use of gas for power generation has grown around the world, more and more infrastructure has grown up to transport and use gas from these remote locations in the form of pipelines and liquefaction plants. Very little of the world’s gas is now “stranded”, and instead it has become plugged into an increasingly larger and more sophisticated global gas industry. The spread of gas-fired power generation has also come to dominate end user markets which once were predicated almost entirely on chemical production, such as Indonesia, and the spread of LNG exporting in other major gas producing states has likewise led to higher prices being demanded by gas suppliers, as chemicals producers must compete with the high prices that can be achieved in energy markets. These changes have a major impact on the production costs of ammonia and methanol producers. Meanwhile, liberalisation of gas markets in other parts of the world, leading to increased competition, have also begun to change the once solid link that existed between oil prices and gas prices, allowing producers to take advantage of cheaper gas in a time of high global oil prices. Keywords: shale, LNG, unconventional, pipeline, coalbed, pricing

Add to basket


Australia's ammonium nitrate industry

Summary

The continuing expansion of Australia's mining industry, especially in Western Australia, has led to steadily increasing demand for ammonium nitrate-based explosives. However, there are warnings that falling global commodity prices may mean that the boom times are over.

Abstract

Most ammonium nitrate in Australia is consumed as explosive; Australia is actually the world’s third largest market for commercial explosives, and consumption is growing rapidly due to expansions in coal, iron ore, gold and other mining operations. In 2010, Australia produced almost at its capacity of 1.7 million t/a of ammonium nitrate, while consumption was just under this figure, split into roughly 15% fertilizer (mostly as UAN solutions) and 85% explosives. Projections by the Ammonium Nitrate/Nitric Acid Producers Group are that by 2015 Australia’s AN consumption will have risen to 1.9 million t/a, although capacity could have reached 2.8 million t/a by then. However, some in the industry are much more optimistic than that. In its 1H 2012 results discussion, Orica projects that the Western Australian AN market alone will see a 10% compound annual growth rate to 2020, rising from about 600,000 t/a at the moment to over 1.2 million t/a in 2020. This is not only due to the increased volumes of raw material to be moved, but also mining companies moving to increasingly challenging geographic formations and using new blasting techniques like ‘through seam blasting’ which reduce mining costs per tonne and allow greater productivity, but which also require higher volumes of explosives. Incitec Pivot puts overall Australian explosives consumption growth at 8% year on year, and indicates that there is also strong regional demand in east and southeast Asia for explosives. Orica has recently responded to this by developing its own joint venture IGAN plant in Indonesia. Keywords: Australia, Ammonium nitrate, explosives, IGAN, EGAN, TGAN, technical, Orica, Incitec pivot, CSBP, Burrup

Add to basket


Developments in safety instrumented systems in the nitrogen and syngas industries

Summary

Raghava Nayak, Functional Safety Expert, Sydney, Australia and Venkat Pattbathula, Global Ammonia Technology Manager, Incitec Pivot, Australia

Abstract

The nitrogen industry is a mature industry with over 600 ammonia-urea plants of varied vintage in operation today. A majority of these plants were built in the last century, and although the old plants were technologically advanced and compliant to the standards of the day when built, some now barely satisfy present day standards. Increased public perception and awareness of safety and environmental risk, regulatory requirements and media focus, and economic pressures are all continuously changing expectations of the industry. This makes it imperative that plant management should continuously monitor new developments and try to retrofit improvements into the plants for their long term survival. In this article, one of the key improvements, namely developments in safety instrumented systems, is discussed. Keywords: life cycle, risk, analysis, sensor

Add to basket


Meeting demands for today and beyond

Summary

Revamping projects abound in the fertilizer industry. Different approaches and technologies can be used to increase plant capacity and/or improve the energy efficiency and reliability of plants. In this article Saipem describes its approach to revamps and discusses two recent innovations, Yara Belle Plaine provides a detailed account of its urea plant revamp based on Stamicarbon technology, and Casale rep orts on some case studies of recent ammonia plant revamps.

Abstract

Saipem approach to revamps Over the past 30 years, Saipem (formerly Snamprogetti) has revamped around 60 urea units and has performed numerous studies and dedicated activities for the improvement of single plant sections or equipment. The main objectives of a revamp drive the technology provider to define the best solution for each specific case. Saipem has introduced new proprietary design solutions which can bring immediate benefits to the revamping of existing plants. Two recent innovations are: l the development of a new proprietary tray design for the urea reactor and l the application of OmegaBond™ technology to the urea stripper. Keywords: Omegabond; SuperCups; MEGA process

Add to basket


Better product quality

Summary

A greater insight into the science of how fertilizer granules are formed and what happens to them when they are cooled has led to advanced technologies in nitrogen fertilizer finishing processes. Stamicarbon and Urea Casale report on their latest developments and experiences in urea granulation and Solex Thermal Science and Coperion discuss the advantages of advanced fertilizer cooling systems.

Abstract

In recent years there have been some significant improvements in finishing technologies for solid nitrogen fertilizers based on a greater understanding of the best methods to produce fertilizer granules for high product quality and lower dust emissions and the importance of cooling technology to prevent caking during storage. Stamicarbon finishing technologies Stamicarbon,a global market leader in the development and licensing of urea technology, offers three finishing technologies for urea: l fluid bed granulation; l prilling; l urea pastillation. Today the most commonly used finishing technology is fluid bed granulation. Since its introduction in 2002, Stamicarbon’s fluid bed granulation technology has been licensed over 15 times for commercial scale plants, including capacities exceeding 3,500 t/d. The plants using this technology are operating at or above their original design capacity, producing superior products complying with all required product quality standards. The key to the success of the Stamicarbon urea granulation technology is the film spraying characteristic of the nozzles. This way of spraying not only requires a minimum amount of formaldehyde, but also reduces the amount of dust formed compared to other fluid bed granulation technologies. Keywords: nitrogen fertilizer finishing; fluid bed granulation, dust formation, Vortex® granulator, Bulk-X-Change®

Add to basket


Emissions reduction from nitric acid plants

Summary

BASF supplies environmental catalysts and technologies which reduce or destroy nitrous and nitric oxides emissions from nitric acid plants. Andreas Spiegel and Peter Odematt of BASF SE describe BASF's tailor-made solutions that combine catalytic technology and project management services for emission reduction projects.

Abstract

The nitric acid (HNO3) industry is a major source of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, including nitrous oxide (N2O) or laughing gas. Nitrous oxide is 310 times more effective than carbon dioxide (CO2) in trapping heat in the atmosphere. BASF offers state-of-the-art N2O decomposition and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) DeNOx technologies (Fig. 1) which reduce N2O and nitric oxides (NO and NO2). Both catalyst families, which were originally developed to reduce harmful impurities in nitric acid and adipic acid plants, have been utilised for emission removal in numerous industrial applications. Keywords: BASF, SCR, DeNox, N2O decomposition, NOx emissions, JI, CDM

Add to basket