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First operating experiences

Summary

When new concepts are first introduced for novel equipment designs, innovative catalysts or improved monitoring, it is often several years before first industrial operating experiences and results are available. This article reports on the successful performances of several new technologies serving the syngas, ammonia, methanol and urea industries.

Abstract

OmegaBond® tubing at GPIC Gulf Petrochemical Industries (GPIC) owns and operates a single stream 1,700 t/d urea plant in Sitra, Bahrain. This plant was licensed in 1995 by Snamprogetti SpA, based in Milan, Italy. When the plant first began operation in 1998, bimetallic tubes (25Cr/22Ni/2Mo stainless steel/zirconium liner) were utilised in the urea stripper. During the turnaround of 2009, GPIC decided to replace the existing bimetallic stripper with an OmegaBond® tubed stripper, in order to sustain the reliability and excellent operability of the urea plant. The new HP stripper design uses titanium and zirconium metallurgically bonded bimetallic tubes manufactured with a special process of extrusion bonding, which creates a high strength and corrosion resistant metallurgical bond between the titanium tube and zirconium inner liner. Keywords: OmegaBond™, HP stripper, Sirius@Max®, radioactive level measurement, syngas, feedstock purification, KATALCOJM catalysts, ammonia converters, hot and cold wall converters, Casale IMC converter, Topsøe LK-853 FENCE™ LTS catalyst, HTER

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CO2 recovery for enhanced production of urea and methanol

Summary

Anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are excessive and no realistic remedy for reducing them is in sight. Carbon, however, is a value product abundantly available from these anthropogenic emissions. A holistic carbon management approach allows identification of the best potentials for an economic correlation between carbon dioxide sources and carbon utilisation sinks. Urea production is one of the most lucrative applications of carbon dioxide recovery from flue gases. In this article we report on the status and operating experience of two carbon dioxide recovery processes: MHI's KM CDR Process™ and Alstom's Chilled Ammonia Process.

Abstract

The atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide (CO2), has increased by 40% in the past 150 years, from an average of 280 ppmv prior to industrialisation in the 19th century to 390 ppmv in 2011. In fact worldwide emissions of CO2 hit an all-time high in 2011 with 31.6 billion t/a and unless counter measures are taken, are expected to grow by more than 3% per year. Approximately 40% of worldwide CO2 emissions originate from fossil fuelled power plants. The scientific community considers the increase of CO2 content in the atmosphere as the unequivocal cause for the climate change phenomenon with transformations happening faster than anyone expected: l Six of the hottest years on record, going back to 1880, have occurred since 2004. l In 2007 the polar pack ice melted to a minimum of 4.3 million km2, which is close to half of the average for the 1960s and 24% below the previous minimum, set in 2005. l Greenland’s ice sheet’s recent rate of loss accounts for around 200 gigatons a year, which represents a fourfold increase compared to a decade ago. Keywords: greenhouse gases, CO2 emissions, CO2 capture, KS-1™ solvent

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Impact on ammonia plant when NG composition changes

Summary

K R R Kumar and R Raghavan of Nagarjuna Fertilizers Chemicals Limited (NFCL) provide an analysis of the effect of frequent changes in natural gas composition at a 1,325 t/d ammonia plant operated by NFCL. Critical points are highlighted in each section of the ammonia plant, when the natural gas composition changes. Ammonia plant data were collected and analysed for full day operation with carbon-lean natural gas (CH4 around 98%) and carbon-rich natural gas (CH4 around 90% along with higher hydrocarbons). The available efficiencies of the catalysts were almost the same in both rich gas and lean gas operation, as the plant was running without any upsets or shutdowns in between. No modifications were done during the operating period of the study. The interval between rich gas plant operation and lean gas operation was well within a week.

Abstract

Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited (NFCL) operates two streams of ammonia and urea plants with all required off-sites and power plant facilities at Kakinada, East Coast of Andhra Pradesh. The ammonia plants were designed and supplied by Haldor Topsøe. The process comprises conventional steam reforming, based on primary and secondary reforming, followed by two step CO shift conversion, carbon dioxide removal and methanation. A process block diagram of Ammonia Plant-1 is shown in Fig. 1 Keywords: rich gas, lean gas, impact on energy and production, desulphurisation, reforming, shift conversion, CO2 removal, methanation, ammonia synthesis

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Russia's methanol industry

Summary

For many years a major player in the global methanol industry, Russia has seen its methanol exports crimped in recent years by rising domestic gas prices and poor logistics. However, this is spurring the development of downstream industries.

Abstract

Russia’s methanol industry operates over 4.5 million t/a of capacity. While this is only a fraction of that available in China, it nevertheless puts Russia a close fifth after Saudi Arabia, Trinidad and Iran in terms of global methanol production. However, the remote nature of much of the country’s capacity makes it logistically constrained, while the development of a domestic downstream methanol capacity has lagged behind attempts to sell methanol overseas. Gas production As always with methanol, gas economics tend to hold the key, and Russia has historically been a cheap gas location in which to build capacity. Russia is the world’s largest holder of natural gas reserves, estimated at 44.6 trillion cubic metres in 2011, according to BP, or just over 21% of the world’s gas. Russia’s methanol and ammonia industries have long been predicated on this cheap and abundant natural gas, most of it produced via state monopoly Gazprom. However, several major developments over the past few years have served to change the face of the Russian gas industry; the development of independent, private gas owning and producing companies, and with it increasing competition within the Russian gas market; a gradual increase in both wholesale and domestic prices within Russia; and a decline in European demand for Russian gas. Keywords: GAZPROM, NOVATEK, ROSNEFT, LUKOIL, METAFRAX, VOSTOKGAZPROM, EUROCHEM, TOGLIATTIAZOT, ACRON, SHCHEKINOAZOT

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India and the Gulf

Summary

India is the largest importer of ammonia and urea, mainly supplied from the Arabian Gulf. But Indian domestic politics and changing gas markets continue to provide uncertainty on both the supply and demand sides of the equation.

Abstract

The gas-rich nations of the Arabian Gulf have gradually become one of the major world centres for the production of ammonia-based fertilizers, particularly urea. Meanwhile, next-door India, with a large and hungry population but poor reserves of gas, has become an increasingly important importer of these chemicals, so much so that the two markets have existed for the past decade or so in a symbiotic relationship. India imported 83% of its ammonia and 34% of its urea from Arabian Gulf countries in 2012. However, that urea figure is down from 68% in 2009. In just a few years there has been a considerable change in the source of India’s imports, as China’s exports replace urea from the Gulf, and changing gas markets in the Gulf may see this change further in the years ahead. Keywords: OMIFCO, OMAN, IRAN, CHINA

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