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Sulphur transport legislation

Summary

In a recent webinar organised by BCInsight and The Sulphur Institute, Harold Weber of TSI discussed some proposed changes to UN regulations covering the transport of solid sulphur.

Abstract

Transport of dangerous goods is a complex area with a number of overlapping regulations. The United Nations publishes its Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (TDG) – the so-called ‘Orange Book’, originally published in 1956 by the ECOSOC Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. The orange book sets out so-called Model Regulations which can serve as the basis for national or supra-national agreements on the transport of dangerous goods. Keywords: RID, ADR, ADN, IMO, dust, formed, prill, granule, pastille, flake, fire, health, safety

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Titanium dioxide – the rise of acid

Summary

Titanium dioxide production is one of sulphuric acid's major non-fertilizer uses, consuming over 7 million tonnes per year, and the sulphuric acid route has had a new lease of life recently due to new capacity being built in China.

Abstract

Titanium dioxide is one of the main whitening compounds used by a variety of industries. The whiteness derives from its high refractive index, since properties such as opacity and ‘hiding’ power (over an underlying coating, for example) are due to the difference in refractive index between the pigment and the surrounding binder. Because it tends to look whiter and more opaque than other comparable white pigments, titanium dioxide has historically been much in demand for paint and ink formulations, as well as in the paper industry, and it is also used as a whitening agent in toothpaste and many other household items. Its stability with respect to direct sunlight also leads to micro-fine grades being used in cosmetics and sunscreens. Overall the pigments sector is responsible for almost all of titanium dioxide demand, mostly in the paints and coatings industry, which represents around 60% of the titanium dioxide market, with plastics 25% and paper 10%. While the tonnages used are relatively small compared to bulk chemicals like sulphur and sulphuric acid, the high prices that can be achieved mean that the market is almost comparable in terms of value. Keywords: chloride, anatase, rutile, recycle

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Oil sands update

Summary

Oil sands represent a huge untapped hydrocarbon resource, but new projects have faced a number of difficulties. In Canada, environmental opposition, difficulties with pipeline routings and the huge boost to US oil production provided by fracking of tight oil deposits have faced producers with the possibility that they will have no market to export to, while Venezuela's eccentric president Chavez managed to derail development of the Orinoco heavy oil belt. Will a change of president in Venezuela lead to a new boost to production there?

Abstract

The oil sands of Venezuela and Canada represent two of the largest concentrations of hydrocarbons in the world, on a par with Saudi Arabian crude reserves. The heavy, bituminous oil is trapped in a sandy lay close to (or occasionally on) the surface. It is viscous (completely solid in northern Canada) and high in sulphur, and so requires extensive processing to make it usable. This raises the cost of production, but at a time of oil prices above $100/bbl for several years, the economic incentive is there to exploit them. For the sulphur industry, the sour nature of the crudes manufactured from oil sands (often referred to as ‘syncrude’ – synthetic crude oil – or ‘dilbit’ – dilute bitumen) means that when, where and if these oil sands are processed could be a significant factor in world sulphur supply. Keywords: Faja, Boyaca, Junin, Ayacucho, Carabobo, PDVSA, syncrude, Suncor, Clear Lake, Athabasca

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Secure transportation of liquid sulphur

Summary

While pipelines offer a safer way of transporting liquid sulphur, heat management in the pipe becomes a critical issue. Here, Valerie Dillen of Pentair Thermal Management considers the use of 'bundled technologies' within the sulphur pipeline system.

Abstract

The safe transportation of liquid sulphur is particularly challenging. In the past, plant owners have turned to hauling liquid sulphur by road, rail or sea, which have not only proved costly, but also posed a risk to safety and the environment. When it comes to finding a secure means for moving sulphur, many plant owners are looking to pipelines as a safer, more reliable solution. Sulphur challenges The issues involved in transporting liquid sulphur are directly linked to the delicate nature of the substance itself. Liquid sulphur is a labile material, so it requires very specific transport conditions, which can be challenging to achieve. It is vital that liquid sulphur is kept between 135–140ºC. On reaching a temperature above 160ºC, its chemical structure changes, becoming more viscous and rendering pumping, as well as transport, impossible. This, in turn, means the liquid sulphur is unusable and the product is lost. If it is allowed to cool to form a solid, it can also lose up to 10% of its original volume, therefore temperature control is paramount. Keywords: Qatargas, bundled, heat trace, skin effect

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Shell's value-added sulphur technologies

Summary

Shell's persistent and creative problem-solving has turned the challenges of managing increased sulphur volumes into a variety of solutions. The global demand for oil and gas necessitates the exploration of more sulphur-rich fields, and fuel desulphurisation regulations continue to get more stringent. Through its suite of value-added sulphur technologies, Shell is able to remove sulphur from where it is not desired, and add it to technologies and applications that bring a variety of economic and environmental benefits.

Abstract

While sulphur is one of nature’s most valuable natural resources, as with most raw materials, it takes considerable technical know-how to make the most of its potential. As a long-established major supplier of elemental sulphur for use in a wide range of industrial production processes, Royal Dutch Shell plc has had the opportunity to build specialist expertise in sulphur management over 50 years, with experience in the production, sales, safe handling and storage of elemental sulphur. Shell also has sulphur forming facilities and offers flexible transportation options, including vessel shipping for formed sulphur and truck and rail for molten. Through a dedicated global sulphur business, Shell offers a diversity of supply points for its own equity and third party sulphur. These characteristics help provide customers with assurance of a sustainable supply of elemental sulphur, while offering value through long-term sales contracts. Increasingly stringent environmental regulations and the appearance of a greater proportion of “sour”, sulphur-containing gas and oil supplies led Shell to explore different opportunities to make the most of this valuable resource. Shell has been researching new ways to exploit the properties of sulphur in different applications, in keeping with the “virtuous sulphur cycle” through which sulphur is removed from where it is not desired – motor fuels and natural gas – and added to where it can offer a variety of potential economic and environmental benefits. The result of this research is a trio of sulphur-enhanced technologies which offer a number of advantages over their conventional counterparts. Keywords: : Thiopave; road asphalt; Thiocrete; sulphur enhanced concrete; Thiogro; sulphur enhanced fertilizers

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Controlling emissions during SRU start–ups

Summary

Due to increasingly stringent regulatory pressures, refineries and gas plants must achieve very low SO2 emission levels. Achieving these levels during upset and start-up conditions of the sulphur recovery unit can be challenging. In this article, we look at the factors affecting SO2 emissions on start-ups and how proper planning, design and selection of technologies can meet these challenges.

Abstract

Hydrocarbon processing facilities must adhere to very strict environmental control and are monitored by local authorities and legislation. One of the main objectives for these facilities is to meet the requirements for SO2 stack emissions as this is directly linked to their license to operate the plant. The SO2 emission level can have a direct impact on the entire facility’s operations. If environmental regulations are exceeded, throughput will have to be downrated in order to comply. The sulphur recovery processing facilities have a direct impact on the SO2 emission levels, and may consist of multiple units. It should be noted that the basis for controlling SO2 emissions is defined at the early stage of a project. Once the construction of a sulphur recovery processing facility is completed, only minor impact on the SO2 emissions can be obtained through the approved operational procedures. Keywords: Cansolv; Thiopaq; caustic scrubbing; sulphur plant bypass; DynaWave; gasification; catalyst pre-sulphiding

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From Vail to Vienna

Summary

2013 is a milestone year for Brimstone STS Limited, marking the 20th anniversary of its annual Vail Sulfur Recovery Symposium and the launch of the first Brimstone European Sulfur Recovery Symposium in Vienna, Austria. The Vienna Sulfur Symposium will be a regular annual event held each year in May. Lisa Connock reports on the inaugural event which took place at the Hotel Bristol on 27-31 May.

Abstract

The Brimstone Sulfur Symposia series celebrates its 20th birthday this year. Over the last two decades, these annual conferences, held in Vail, Colorado in the USA, have become a well established and highly regarded event on the sulphur industry calendar, producing informative and highly interactive gatherings for the discussion of sulphur recovery, treating and processing. The Vienna Sulfur Symposium mirrors the successful format of the Vail meeting, combining a mixture of technical papers, workshops, panel discussions, and extensive open-floor question and answer sessions. Attendees are actively encouraged to ask, answer and comment on questions related to amine treating, sulphur recovery, and tail gas treating. Topics include issues and experiences related to improving the safety, reliability and efficiency of plants. The symposia participants are a mix of leading industry and academic experts, technology and service providers, SRU operations staff and plant managers. The overall number of attendees and the mix between operating companies and supply companies are carefully balanced to create an environment conducive to the promotion and exchange of practical ideas and information. Keywords: reaction furnace linings; sulphur seal; SRU expansion, amine systems; sulphur dioxide; catalyst management; performance monitoring; elastomers, corrosion; sulphur condensers

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Utility considerations for SRUs

Summary

Elmo Nasato of Goar Allison Ltd identifies the key design and operating considerations for the utility side of an SRU with the primary intention of raising the awareness of its importance.

Abstract

In comparison to the process side of the sulphur recovery unit (SRU), the utility side of the SRU is frequently neglected in both the fine details in the conceptual design and in the normal day-to-day operation. However, the utility side frequently provides harsh reminders of the importance of keen attention in order to insure reliable, safe and high on-line operation of the SRU. In all likelihood the problems associated with utility systems have always existed but it appears that in more recent years the frequency and severity of SRU problems associated with the utility systems have increased. It is suggested that the increase and severity of these problems are most likely related, but not limited, to the following items: l use of utilities may be intermittent; l utilities are not instrumented to the same degree as the primary process; l DCS system has reduced field checkout; l high turnover/inexperienced operating staff; l overworked/understaffed operating and technical support staff; l limited SRU design experience. Keywords: import steam; export steam; BFW; utility water; make-up water; fuel; natural gas; nitrogen; instrument air; electricity

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