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Plant manager+ Problem No. 35 Urea plant preservation

Summary

Preservation covers the method of protection and preventative maintenance carried out on equipment and systems before and after they are put into use. In power plants, fertilizer units and refineries, expensive equipment like turbines, chillers, power generators, boilers, condensers, panels etc. begin to rust and corrode when in storage or during shutdown or even when in operation due to the presence of excess moisture in the air. Proper downtime procedures are extremely important. In this round table discussion, preservation and its importance is discussed by urea plant experts.

Abstract

Mr Nauman Talat of Pakarab Arab Fertilizer in Pakistan starts the round table discussion: We are planning to preserve our urea plant for a period of six months to one year using air. Please share your experiences in this regard. Keywords: plant preservation, nitrogen blanketing, rotary equipment, HP stripper, HPCC, HP scrubber, corrosion, nickel analysis

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Tailored feedstock purification solutions

Summary

In synthesis gas plants, an efficient feed purification section is crucial for protecting downstream catalysts from potential sulphur poisoning which has costly consequences. With the diversity of feedstocks being used in the industry today, the gas compositions, sulphur species and concentrations show large variations. Thus, more emphasis is required on the feed purification section to ensure proper desulphurisation and the loading scheme of the feed purification section must be tailor-made to meet the demands of individual plants.

Abstract

Purification is a necessary requirement in many chemical processes so that we can safely and reliably convert our feedstock to salable products. Our demand for increased reliability and longer on-line time means that the expected level of performance we demand of our purification solutions has increased. The feedstocks we use to make syngas based chemicals such as ammonia and methanol (usually natural gas, but also naphtha or others) have changed and will undoubtedly change again. This change will vary regionally as different feedstocks become available and technologies develop to enable us to safely and sustainably extract the hydrocarbons required for chemical production. Keywords: catalyst poisons, hydrocarbon feedstocks, desulphurisation, ammonia plant, impurities, mercury removal, purification system, Johnson Matthey, Topsoe, thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, Z90 plot, ZnO absorbents

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Size matters

Summary

Many urea experts and practitioners know that numerous factors affect fertilizer product quality. They include finishing technology, geographical location (climate) as well as how the final product is stored and transported. In this article, B. George van Bommel of BioTorTech and UreaKnowHow highlights one of the most easily overlooked but critical aspect determining fertilizer product quality – the end user.

Abstract

Many readers will be familiar with the standard specification sheets for urea granules and urea prills shown in Tables 1 and 2 respectively. When comparing the two, a number of physical properties differ due to the different finishing technologies applied. The granulated product has a much bigger average diameter, 2.7 mm versus 1.9 mm for a prill (d50). The difference in the product is also visible to the naked eye (Fig. 1)1,2. Keywords: specification sheet, urea prills, urea granules, caking, granule size, storage, CRH, tropical climate, staking pattern

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Product cooling for optimum quality

Summary

Faced with the challenge to increase its production of calcium ammonium nitrate to meet greater market demands and at the same time needing to address problems with product cooling leading to poor product quality, NAK Azot found a solution by replacing its rotary drum cooler with a Solex fertilizer cooler.

Abstract

Novomoskovskiy Azot (NAK Azot) is one of Russia’s largest chemical enterprises. It operates a highly upgraded facility and is the second largest ammonia producer and the largest nitrogen fertilizer producer in Russia as well as a major exporter in the world market. In 2011, NAK Azot faced a significant market challenge. The international demand for high quality fertilizers was growing and the market was on its doorstep. The opportunity for the company’s calcium ammonium nitrate product was significant but internally it needed to find a means to increase its production output at the same time as addressing product cooling practices threatening its quality. Keywords: calcium ammonium nitrate, NAK Azot, fluid bed cooler, Solex fertilizer cooler, product quality

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UFC manufacture for urea production

Summary

Johnson Matthey has combined its knowhow in ammonia, methanol and formaldehyde production to deliver an innovative new way of producing UFC-85 which will generate significant cost savings when compared to the alternative of purchasing UFC-85 from third parties. The integrated process, which is the subject of patent applications, is now offered commercially.

Abstract

Formaldehyde in the form of UFC-85 is used as an additive in the manufacture of solid urea. Formaldehyde is synthesised from methanol which is normally purchased on the open market and is priced accordingly. In most cases, the quantity of UFC-85 that is required by any individual site is too small to justify investment in small scale methanol production and in a UFC-85 plant. Keywords: ammonia, methanol, formaldehyde, urea formaldehyde concentrate, UFC-85, integrated process, FORMOX, plant integration, Johnson Matthey

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Changing patterns of ammonia trade

Summary

Increasing domestic US nitrogen production and faltering gas supplies in some key producing regions are shifting the balance of ammonia trade flows, while new ammonium phosphate capacity in Morocco is also set to see increased need for ammonia imports.

Abstract

The global ammonia industry totaled around 230 million t/a of capacity in 2015. Total production from this reached 174 million t/a of ammonia that year, or around 76% of nameplate capacity, although old and unproductive capacity in China distorts this figure slightly. The amount of ammonia that actually crosses borders however is a much smaller proportion of this – 17.7 million t/a in 2015, or about 10% of the total. Risks and costs involved in transporting ammonia, which must be carried as a refrigerated liquid and escape of which may prove fatal, makes for a preference for captive use for ammonia, especially in the production of urea. Keywords: NORTH AMERICA, CIS, INDIA, CHINA, TECHNICAL, UKRAINE, PHOSPHATE, DAP, MAP, MOROCCO

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Large-scale DME still looking for commercial outlets

Summary

Korea Gas Corp (Kogas) is looking to the US and Asia to commercialise its large-scale dimethyl ether (DME) technology, reports David Hayes.

Abstract

California’s stricter vehicle exhaust emission regulations could provide a new opportunity for the Korea Gas Corporation (Kogas) to commercialise its natural gas to dimethyl-ether (DME) production process for the first time, as the company continues with global marketing efforts to promote its proprietary technology. Interest in DME in the United States is growing following an announcement by Volvo USA that it will begin selling DME-fuelled heavy duty trucks to comply with tighter vehicle exhaust emission rules in California. Keywords: OBERON, PETRONAS, MALAYSIA, INDONESIA, NIGERIA, FLOATING, SHIP

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