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A bigger future for SX

Summary

Outotec Edmeston SX™ steel is a well established material in sulphuric acid plants. For decades it has been used for piping, acid distributors, acid coolers and towers. K. Daum and R. Hagman of Outotec report on the history and performance of SX™ to date and describe the latest developments to extend its application in future to even larger sulphuric acid plants and for locations with severely limited or no water availability.

Abstract

The sulphuric acid production process is well established and has changed little since the double absorption process was introduced in the early 1960s. However, many substantial and important developments have taken place to improve efficiency, prolong lifetime and increase plant safety. These advancements have led to industry demand for more appropriate construction materials. To meet these needs, Sandvik first started to develop a silicon containing stainless steel for use in hot sulphuric acid in the early 1970s and SX™ was commercially introduced to the market by Edmeston in 1984. Edmeston SX® has played an important part in the efforts to reduce corrosion, prolong equipment life and increase safety in sulphuric acid plants. The experience gained through a long and close cooperation with plant operators has resulted in ongoing development and improvements in equipment design. In 2010 Edmeston was acquired by Outotec, a leading sulphuric acid plant designer with over 600 plants corresponding to more than 30% of the world production capacity. Keywords: Outotec Edmeston SX, sulphuric acid steel, Ma’aden, economy of scale, largest single train sulphuric acid plant, fin-fan coolers, radial flow converter

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Sour to power

Summary

A study has been carried out to investigate the feasibility of using sour gas from the processing of sour crudes and sour (associated gas) for power generation as an alternative to Claus-based gas processing. The study concluded that the 'Sour-to-Power' concept is technically feasible but economically challenging. For a Sour-to-Power based field development to be successful it would require the participation of an upstream or integrated company, a power company, the sulphuric acid consuming industry and governments to provide suitable commercial terms and conditions.

Abstract

In an increasing number of countries in the world, it may be increasingly challenging to meet gas production and (LNG) export commitments. Domestic power demand is ever increasing due to population growth, increasing living standards and industrial development. Countries may be forced to import fuels like oil or diesel while subsidising internal power generation and transport fuels. Or, oil-fired power generation may limit the amount of oil available for export. At the same time, easy gas resources have been developed already, forcing countries to develop more complex and, hence, more expensive, resources, like tight gas or (highly) sour gas. This article focuses on an alternative way to develop the latter type of gas fields. Conventionally, sour gas is processed to produce a sales gas quality fuel gas for power generation. The upstream gas processing is complex and expensive, leading to high unit development costs (UDC). As an alternative, one may consider using the sour gas as a sour fuel gas for power generation, i.e., Sour-to-Power (S2P). This would lead to a shift of UDC from upstream gas production to power generation since all sulphur would need to be captured from the power plant’s flue gas, the latter enabled by SO2 capture technologies like the commercially available and proven Shell Cansolv SO2 scrubbing system. Also, combusting sour gas may have consequences for power generation costs and efficiency. Keywords: Shell Cansolv SO2 scrubbing, power generation, sulphuric acid, flue gas desulphurisation, CCGT, gas turbines

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Sulphur recovery technology trends

Summary

Sulphur invited world leaders in the design, construction and licensing of sulphur recovery units and related sulphur management facilities to share information on the latest technological developments, current trends, challenges and concerns in the sulphur industry. Over the following pages they discuss, how to achieve world class performance, minimise operating costs, meet ultra-low SO2 emissions standards, handle increasing amounts of ammonia in refinery feedstocks and improve sulphur safety.

Abstract

Amec Foster Wheeler Two-stage sour water stripping – focus on H2S stripper control N Watts, Q Kotter, S Kafesjian Coinciding with the current trends toward higher nitrogen-containing crude feed stocks and increased nitrogen conversion in hydroprocessing units, there is a growing interest by refiners for two-stage sour water stripping (SWS) technology as a means of coping with the consequent increasing amount of ammonia generated in the refinery process units. This ammonia is absorbed in the refinery sour water and must be treated in a SWS unit. Process simulation study results described herein show that the two-stage SWS process comes with interesting control challenges for process designers and plant operators. Keywords: sour water stripping, SRU overpressure, liquid sulphur degassing, zero emissions, SO2 stack emissions, tail gas treating

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Sulphuric acid in Europe

Summary

Europe's acid industry is mature, based heavily upon smelter acid production, and with a legacy of many industrial uses on the consumption side. It also remains a major exporter of acid to other regions.

Abstract

Europe is one of the world’s major sulphuric acid producers and exporters, accouting for about 10% of global acid production, with a long legacy of industrial production dating back to the industrial revolution. Although acid plants in some countries, like the UK, have mainly closed down as traditional heavy industries found it hard to compete with imports from the rest of the world, other traditional producers still maintain large capacities. Keywords: SMELTER, SMELTING, REGENERATE, SUPPLY, DEMAND, EXPORT, GERMANY, ESA

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Airborne sulphur particulate in formed sulphur handling

Summary

Gerard d'Aquin, president of consultancy Con-Sul, Inc and publisher of the North American Quarterly Sulphur Review, discusses the causes of and mitigation of airborne sulphur particulate in formed sulphur handling.

Abstract

Vancouver was the perfect venue to host the IFA Global Safety Summit earlier this year, with its emphasis on Fertilizer Safety; volumes of potash, phosphate rock, sulphur, urea, ammonium sulphate and various finished fertilizers all transit through the port. In the 1970s and 1980s Vancouver was “sulphur supplier to the world” with shipments close to 7 million tonnes per year. Today, the volume of exports struggles to remain above 2.5 million t/a. Keywords: DUST, SUDIC, TYLER, MOISTURE, PRILL, GRANULE, PASTILLE

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Tightening regulations on sulphur in fuels

Summary

Some of the boom in sulphur production over the past three decades has come from tightening regulations on sulphur content in vehicle fuels, but maritime and aviation fuels are now also coming under increasing scrutiny.

Abstract

Global regulations on sulphur in fuel continue to tighten as a result of health concerns about sulphur dioxide and its link to respiratory illness, especially in urban areas in developing and industrialising countries. Lower levels of sulphur in fuels also allow for better clean-up of other pollutants. For example, sulphur fuel levels of 500 ppm and below (so-called ‘Euro II’) allows the use of diesel oxidation catalysts and retrofits of older vehicles. Sulphur fuel levels of 50ppm and below (‘Euro IV’) allow the use of diesel particulate filters – of great importance now that particulate matter in diesel is recognised as a major pollutant in its own right. For gasoline vehicles, reducing sulphur levels to 500 ppm and below improves the performance of catalytic converter systems. This focus on SO2 emission reduction and lower sulphur fuel levels is continuing to force continuing investment in sulphur recovery capacity at new and existing refineries worldwide, and generating millions of tonnes of additional sulphur to the market. Keywords: UNEP, PCFV, IMO, MGO, HSFO, EMISSION, AVIATION, MARITIME, DIESEL

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Sulphur in fertilizers

Summary

Growing awareness of the issue of sulphur deficiency in soils is leading to the launch of new sulphur-containing fertilizers.

Abstract

Sulphur’s importance as a plant nutrient in its own right is becoming increasingly recognised, especially as controls on sulphur in fuels and scrubbing of sulphur oxides from power plant tail gas leads to steady reductions in ‘free’ sulphur deposition to soils. There had also been a reduction in the use of more traditional fertilizers like ammonium sulphate (AS) and single superphosphate (SSP) which also carried a ‘free’ sulphate component in favour of higher analysis fertilizers like urea and diammonium phosphate. However, since sulphur has started to become valued as a fertilizer in its own right, there has been something of a turnaround in use for both of these, while an increasing variety of new sulphur-containing products are now becoming available. Keywords: SSP, SULPHATE, AMMONIUM, MAGNESIUM, THIOSULPHATE, BENTONITE, SOP

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