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Publication > Issue > Articles

Low carbon syngas

Summary

In the wake of the Paris Agreement on climate change, Nitrogen+Syngas looks at potential ways of reducing the greenhouse impact of syngas and downstream product production.

Abstract

The United Nations’ Paris Agreement on Climate Change (COP21), finally signed in December last year after years of on-off wrangling, has focused global attention on the need to cut emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in order to keep climate change to a 2% rise in global temperatures (compared to pre-industrial levels). A binding treaty signed by 195 countries, and the successor to the Kyoto Protocol that has dominated thinking on the subject since 1992, it will require stringent cuts in carbon emissions in order to meet 2050 targets. Signatory countries have all submitted binding climate change action plans, and it seems certain that carbon-intensive industries like ammonia and methanol production will start to see increasing pressure to lower emissions. Keywords: GREENHOUSE, GHG, REFORMER, SMR, AUTOTHERMAL, ATR, RENEWABLE, BIOMASS

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New nitrogen in the east

Summary

A look at plans for new nitrogen capacity in Russia and the other countries of central Asia.

Abstract

While there has been a slowdown in nitrogen capacity building in the Middle East, and India has found it hard to get new plants started, there are still some bright spots for new construction. North America has grabbed many of the headlines, with a plethora of new projects on the back of cheap shale gas availability, alongside ready-made domestic demand, but Central Asia and Russia are also seeing major new investment. Integer Research calculates that nearly 3 million t/a of ammonia capacity expansion projects are expected to come on stream in Russia in the period 2016-2019, including EuroChem’s new nitrogen plants at Kingisepp and Nevinnomysk, and a new ammonia plant for PhosAgro at Cherepovets. JSC Acron is also building ammonia capacity due to start up in 2016. The continued depreciation of the rouble continues to make capacity expansion plans look globally competitive even at a time of overcapacity and low product prices. Keywords: RUSSIA, TURKMENISTAN, UZBEKISTAN, KAZAKHSTAN, UKRAINE, EUROCHEM, URALCHEM,

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Getting the merger bug

Summary

Last year saw the largest number of corporate mergers and acquisitions since 2007. While on the nitrogen side the news has been dominated by the CF Industries-OCI merger, a number of other key deals were also done or are in the offing.

Abstract

According to Deloitte’s mergers and acquisitions (M&A) index, 2015 saw the largest number of company takeovers since 2007, with a total value of $4 trillion. And more than $1 trillion worth of these were cross-border deals,, of which a third were transatlantic partnerships between North American and European companies, while there have also increasingly been deals between Asian and European companies, led by China and Japan. The chemical, petrochemical and fertilizer industries were no exception to this. Years of high commodity prices have left many organisations with large bank balances. The oil industry perhaps has some of the largest chequebooks – according to Bloomburg, ExxonMobil tops a list of the six largest publicly traded oil firms in terms of available stock and cash for acquisitions, with $320 billion available, while. Chevron and BP follow with $65 billion and $53 billion in stock and cash available, respectively. Keywords: OCI, YARA, CF INDUSTRIES, RENTECH, CVR, KBR, CASALE, CHEMOPROJEKT, BOREALIS

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Reformer performance and tube life management

Summary

The steam reformer is widely accepted as being the most complex and energy intensive part of any ammonia, methanol or hydrogen plant, and as such, it is important to ensure that it is operating and maintained under the best possible conditions. This will enable the operators to produce the maximum achievable levels of product, extend reformer tube lives and increase energy efficiency.

Abstract

Catalytic steam reforming of hydrocarbons in tubular reformers is the most common process for production of synthesis gas. The reforming reactions are highly endothermic, and the heat provided by combustion of fuel gas in a furnace box is transferred to the catalyst tubes mainly by radiation. Tubular steam reformers are divided into four categories depending on the location of the burners (Fig. 1). Keywords: reformer management, optical infrared pyrometry, gold cup pyrometry, Topsoe Furnace Manager, CATACELJMSSR, turnaround, tube life, overheating, Tube Growth Monitor, TGM, Chiyoda, Yara, H Scan, Topsoe, Johnson Matthey, Quest Integrity.

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Ammonia synthesis catalyst replacement

Summary

Conventional loading of ammonia synthesis catalyst by vibration is a very safe method to reach the required bulk density, but is time consuming. Alternative loading methods e.g. the Dense Loading method by thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions and Showerhead™ loading by Haldor Topsoe provide higher density and faster loading times.

Abstract

Catalyst replacement in an ammonia converter is a difficult and non-routine task during a plant shutdown. Due to the complex nature of the reactor design, the importance of the ammonia converter for the plant performance and that the catalyst replacement is generally on the critical path during an ammonia plant shutdown, there is a high resultant cost risk and a safety risk for the plant owner. A further difficulty is posed by the fact that the catalyst only needs to be replaced every 10-12 years, and therefore plant operators often lack the relevant experience. Keywords: Dense Loading, Showerhead, vibration, safety, technical services, tkIS, Topsoe

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Inspection of HP urea equipment at KPIC

Summary

Plant corrosion inspections are a valuable tool to assess the condition of a urea plant. Remaining lifetimes of tubes, lining and equipment can be determined if a history of measurements and operation are available. In this article, Hasan Akbari of KPIC reports on the inspection results of the main high pressure equipment items in the synthesis section of the urea plant at KPIC which have been in service for eight years and were opened for the first time during a recent downtime.

Abstract

Urea plants operate at high temperature (170-200°C) and pressure (140-150 bar) and produce an intermediate product (ammonium carbamate solution), which is extremely corrosive to materials. The high pressure equipment items in the urea plant are typically multilayer vessels. The inner core (liner) is a protective layer that is usually fairly thick (8-12 mm) to provide sufficient lifetime against process fluid corrosion. Other layers are carbon steel that are fitted around the inner core. Because of the highly corrosive fluid in the synthesis section of the urea plant, inspection of the internal lining is very important. Some reports about inspection and repair of high pressure equipment of urea plants are listed here. Juneja et al1 introduces various corrosion mechanisms present during urea manufacturing and materials of construction used worldwide for equipment and piping of urea plants. Nitrogen+Syngas magazine2 reviews the key considerations when relining a urea reactor that has been subject to corrosion over time. Keywords: KPIC, corrosion test, high pressure equipment, urea synthesis, inspection, pool condenser, stripper, scrubber.

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Plant Manager+ Problem No. 34: Reuse of off-spec waste

Summary

The waste water treatment section in a urea plant processes the water containing NH3-CO2 and urea from the vacuum system in the evaporation section. It delivers an almost NH3-CO2-urea-free purified process condensate that is suitable for reuse outside the urea plant. This process condensate can be discharged with a content of 1 ppm of urea and 1 ppm of ammonia. With such negligible values of pollutants, three targets are simultaneously realised which contribute to reducing the cost of urea: specific consumption of ammonia is decreased, environmental pollution is reduced and the possibility to reuse the process water is guaranteed for several technical purposes.

Abstract

Mr Niraj Nimje of RCF Thal in India kicks off this Round Table discussion with a practical and troublesome problem: In our Saipem urea plant, after the booster ejector and condenser washing in the vacuum section, we are experiencing problems with the concentration in the waste water section feed tank and the off grade condensate is wasted as effluent. What methods can be used to treat this off-spec condensate to make it BFW grade? I have heard of using a polishing unit for such cases but what is the maximum concentration that is permitted? What are the exact arrangements required to ensure quality? Keywords: waste water section, vacuum section, hydrolyser, BFW quality, ammonia, urea, formaldehgyde, condensate

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