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Phosphate demand for sulphuric acid

Summary

The processing of rock phosphates, especially for fertilizer use, continues to represent the largest slice of sulphuric acid demand, and major expansion programmes in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, China and Brazil will boost acid demand over the coming years.

Abstract

The segment of sulphuric acid demand represented by phosphates is around 55%, most of that – around 90% – for fertilizer use, the remainder for various industrial phosphate uses, mostly in the food and animal feed industries as well as detergents, cleaners, metal finishing, toothpaste and many others. As the largest segment of demand, sulphuric acid and by extension sulphur demand continue to be driven mainly by the phosphate fertilizer market. Keywords: JORF LASFAR, SSP, DAP, MAP

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Prospects for new smelter acid production

Summary

Base metal smelting and the sulphuric acid that comes with it continues to be a major slice of acid production. Although copper markets have been subdued of late, changing Asian markets and a push to remedy environmental emissions has continued to drive new smelter investment.

Abstract

Out of total global sulphuric acid production of around 240 million t/a, the amount represented by metallurgical acid was 72 million t/a in 2014, or just over 30%. This acid is generally the product of smelting to recover ores of ‘base metals’ – a catch-all term for all non-precious metals, including iron, nickel, copper, zinc, lead and aluminium. Smelting of oxide ores like iron typically uses carbon as a reducing agent and generates carbon dioxide. Smelting of sulphide ores, however, is an oxidative process which generates sulphur dioxide. The most common metal processed as a sulphide ore is copper, and most (ca. 70%) metallurgical acid is the product of copper smelting, but zinc and lead are also most commonly found as sulphide ores and their processing also generates significant volumes of acid. Nickel is more commonly found as lower grade oxide-type ores (laterites) but its recovery has traditionally relied instead upon higher grade sulphide ores, which are again generally smelted. Keywords: MATTE, BLISTER, JAPAN, KOREA, CHINA, CHILE, PERU, NAMIBIA, ZAMBIA, FREEPORT, GLENCORE, XSTRATA

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America's refining renaissance

Summary

The US tight oil boom has put a spring in the step of the country's refiners, and expanded processing of higher sulphur feeds is also generating additional sulphur production.

Abstract

US oil production at the end of June 2016 was reported to be running at levels close to a 40-year high. Figure 1 shows US oil production since 1985, and you need to go back to before the oil crisis of the 1970s to reach the kind of figures now being seen. Daily production has topped 9.7 million barrels/day (bbl/d) at times this year and is expected to average 9.5 million bbl/d. At this rate, the US is set to surpass Saudi Arabia and become the world’s largest oil producer once again some time in the next couple of years. Some argue that it has already happened – if you take into account natural gas liquids, US ‘oil’ production was put at 11.6 million bbl/d in 2014 by BP – just ahead of Saudi Arabia’s 11.5 million bbl/d. Keywords: WTI, BAKKEN, KEYSTONE, SYNCRUDE, PADD

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Brimstone Symposium report: Interactive discussions in Vienna

Summary

Now in its third year, the European Brimstone Sulfur Recovery Symposium reconvened in Vienna from May 18-12 2015.

Abstract

The 2015 Vienna Brimstone Sulfur Recovery Symposium will be remembered by many for the full participation and detailed open floor discussions and round table sessions when attendees, including many sulphur industry experts, shared information and industry experiences in the quest to improve the efficiency and safety of sulphur industry operations and to find solutions to various operating problems and anomalies. The programme for this year’s symposium followed the usual format combining a selection of presentations on a wide variety of topics interspersed with open Q&A, workshop and round table sessions. Keywords: catalyst bed design, reaction furnace temperature, SO2 emissions reduction, sulphur fire, MMEA, sulphur degassing, utilities

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Benefits of heat stable salts in tail gas treaters

Summary

Adding phosphoric acid to MDEA solutions in tail gas treating units (TGTUs) enables significantly deeper stripping of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) in the regenerator and permits tail gas to be treated to as low as 10 ppmv H2S. Most heat stable salts are the organic acid equivalents to phosphoric acid, and they function in exactly the same way. C.E. Jones, R. Scott Alvis and R.H. Weiland of Optimized Gas Treating, Inc. explain the mechanism through which stripping promoters act, showing that removing HSSs to very low levels can be detrimental to the operation of TGTUs, and provide guidelines on determining when and how much HSSs should be left in the treating solvent.

Abstract

In commercial gas plants, amine treating solvents are invariably contaminated to some degree with a variety of materials, including: l surface active agents l products formed by the oxidation and thermal degradation of the amines themselves l solids including products of reaction of the acid gases with vessel walls and piping l contaminants present in or generated by the gas being treated. Keywords: Claus tail gas treating, heat stable salts, simulation, regenerator modelling, stripping promoters, phosphoric acid, MDEA

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Sulphuric acid process simulation and modelling

Summary

Numerical simulation and modelling are strong tools for analysis, design, development, and optimisation of equipment and processes, as well as operator training. While fast computers allow for more realistic models, dynamics simulations and CFD calculations in complex geometries, the key to accurate model predictions remains the incorporation of experience from lab, pilot and industrial data analysis into the models.

Abstract

Modelling is an invaluable tool for plant design (Fig. 1). It would not be possible to build todays large scale facilities without the confidence that modelling provides in the ability to design a plant that will work acceptably and safely from the very first start-up. Typically, physical properties of the components, reaction data, material and energy inputs/output, equipment models and economic information are input into the model and a set of predictions about the temperatures, pressures, compositions, costs, etc. are the results. The plant designer can then modify elements of the design to optimise the plant to achieve the client’s objectives. Keywords: CFD, gas mixing, troubleshooting, debottlenecking, optimisation, steady state simulation, dynamic modelling, advanced process control, acid cooler monitoring, operator training simulator, mass and energy balance, equipment design, SO2 converter, transient operation

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Limiting factors on reaction furnace linings

Summary

SRU operators are experiencing increasing demands for improved reliability due to significant changes in emission regulations and penalties, more severe operating conditions, high cost of repairs and the consequential impact a reaction furnace failure can have on other operating units in refineries. Management is finally paying more attention to these issues; however, before the SRU problems can be properly addressed they first must be fully understood.

Abstract

Many companies have suffered from refractory issues in reaction furnaces. The same issues regarding premature refractory failure are repeated time and again all over the world. The impact to the plant may include the following: l premature and/or frequent maintenance repairs or lining replacements required between or during planned outages l longer downtimes due to extra refractory work requirements l extended start-up times or even failures due to dryout issues l shell breeches and the safety and environmental issues associated with this extreme failure l loss of production capability of related units during unexpected or extended reaction furnace outages. Keywords: refractory lining, refractory failure, engineered system, thermal balance, lining thickness, hot load strength, brick keying action, brick movement, material selection, installation, Thorpe, Jacobs, Suncor

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