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Sulphur burning optimisation

Summary

Optimum equipment for sulphur burning in sulphuric acid plants is not a trivial matter. However, owners and operators can benefit from technology providers with deep knowledge of the process, command of cutting edge analysis tools, and the ability to integrate analytical results with robust equipment designs. Thus, when analysed by the right industry experts, facility owners can realise improvements that meet and even exceed their goals.

Abstract

The sulphur furnace in a sulphur burning sulphuric acid plant is generally a large horizontal cylindrical vessel of carbon steel, lined internally with refractory brick. Air and liquid sulphur are fed into the furnace via a sulphur gun equipped with an atomising spray nozzle or a rotary cup burner. The internals of a sulphur furnace are important to ensure complete combustion of sulphur to sulphur dioxide. The reaction is highly exothermic resulting in a large temperature increase. A waste heat boiler downstream of the furnace is used to remove much of the heat of combustion. The design of the sulphur furnace must achieve good gas mixing and full combustion of sulphur prior to leaving the furnace and entry to the boiler section. Sulphur droplets impinging on the baffle or checker walls will vaporise immediately and burn to sulphur dioxide. Any unburned sulphur that impinges on the carbon steel surfaces of downstream boilers, ducting and heat exchangers will corrode the steel. Keywords: lifecycle costs, project execution, equipment, instrumentation, HSE, piping, utilities

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Designing for ease of future operation

Summary

A. Slavens, L. Dreitzler, and S. Khan of UniverSUL Consulting and J. Sames of Sulphur Experts address the design and execution shortcomings which can ultimately lead to poor sour gas treating and sulphur plant performance. Design-stage fallacies can harken back to initial assumptions used in determining the design basis for the facility when complete information is simply not available. They can also arise from poor decision-making, forced by project cost and schedule pressures. In many cases, it is purely a matter of lack of experience which can lead to design flaws that negatively impact the final delivered product, which operators must then live with for the 30+ year lifetime of the facility.

Abstract

The continuous, smooth operation of a sulphur recovery facility affords minimal operator intervention, results in lowest operating and maintenance (O&M) costs and reduces the number of shutdowns required for replacement or repair of equipment, instrumentation and piping. Start-ups and shutdowns generate the most wear and tear on a sulphur plant, so minimising unnecessary trips is essential. All too often, the design, execution and construction of these plants do not take into account critical elements that will ensure the ease of future operation, opting instead for a quick and cheap delivery. Almost inevitably, this type of approach leads to designing in problems, some of which may not become apparent to the operator for many years after commissioning and are then very difficult to correct. Keywords: spray technology, nozzle, furnace, burner, VectorWall, MECS, NORAM, Outotec, LURO2

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Changing sulphur shipping trends

Summary

Janos Gal, principal sulphur analyst with Fertecon, provides an overview of the changing global sulphur market, in the wake of new supply sources.

Abstract

Canada’s top spot on the world sulphur stage will soon be overtaken by the Middle East, as sour gas fields across the region will add several million tonnes of sulphur to the world’s annual supply. It is estimated that the current global output of 53 million tonnes per year could increase to more than 70 million t/a by 2018, and most of the additional supply will emerge from the Middle East and Central Asia. The dominance of Canada as the world’s primary supply source largely stemmed from its role as the main supplier to the US and also its importance as a solid sulphur supplier from Vancouver to various markets, including China and Australia. Most of the sulphur in the country is derived from oil and gas production (as in almost every other country in the world), but unfortunately for the sulphur producers, they are located far from both Vancouver and the largest consumers in the US. Keywords: Keywords: BRAZIL, CHINA, KAZAKHSTAN, LEACHING, MIDDLE EAST, OCP, CANADA

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The Shah project

Summary

An overview of the huge Shah sour gas project, which came on-stream last year, producing up to 3 million tonnes per year of additional sulphur.

Abstract

The largest development in the sulphur industry last year was the start-up of the massive Shah sour gas project. Shah and other similar projects in and around the Arabian Gulf region have the potential to radically change the global market for sulphur. Abu Dhabi The rationale from Abu Dhabi’s side is a fairly simple one – the Emirate is short of gas. The UAE as a whole produced 57.8 bcm of natural gas in 2014, virtually all of it from Abu Dhabi. However, consumption, led mainly by the rapidly growing cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, was 69.3 bcm. Ten years ago the UAE was a net gas exporter, and it still exports 8 bcm per year from the Das Island LNG terminal (see Figure 1). However, in return it has to import 18 bcm per year of natural gas along the Dolphin pipeline from Qatar. Keywords: HABSHAN, RUWAIS, TRANSPORT, STORAGE, SAFETY, BAB

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Controlling refinery emissions of SO2

Summary

Environmental legislation is continually tightening, and nowhere more so than for emissions of sulphur dioxide. Refineries are now being targeted as one of the major sources of this pollutant.

Abstract

Sulphur dioxide has gradually emerged as a major focus for governments in attempting to control ambient air quality. It has been shown to be responsible for an array of adverse respiratory effects, including airway inflammation in healthy people and increased respiratory symptoms in vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly and especially people with asthma. Initial attempts to control SO2 emissions focused mainly on the power industry as the largest emitter, especially from coal-burning power plants, in order to deal with the phenomenon of ‘acid rain’, but as the power industry has cleaned up its act with the installation of scrubbing systems and a switch in some countries to other feeds like natural gas, so the regulatory focus next shifted to ambient air quality in cities as a result of vehicular emissions of sulphur oxides, leading in turn to the progressively lower sulphur content standards for fuels that we are all familiar with. Keywords: REMEDIATION, REGENERATIVE, SCRUBBING, CANSOLV, DESONOX, WSA, ELECTROSTATIC, ESP, FGD, WELLMAN LORD

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