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A new approach to sulphur-enhanced urea

Summary

Shell and Uhde Fertilizer Technologies (UFT) have joined forces to integrate Shell's Urea-ES technology with UFT's fluid bed granulation technology to produce a new sulphur-enhanced urea fertiliser technology. This article presents the fluid bed granulation process for producing Urea-ES products, the potential agronomic value and cost benefits of these products, and how they can be manufactured in new and existing urea fluid bed granulation plants.

Abstract

Shell Sulphur Solutions has been developing technologies to produce sulphur-enhanced fertilizers, with complete R&D & deployment programs, including testing at pilot plant scale, since 2003. Today, these technologies are known as Shell Thiogro technologies. The first phase of these technologies focused on incorporating sulphur into ammonium phosphate and triple super phosphate fertilizers. In 2011, Shell performed the first bench work on an elemental sulphur emulsion in molten urea, in order to prove the viability of the idea. These original tests led to further development, including a scale up to the one tonne/hour continuous drum granulation pilot plant at the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) in Muscle Shoals, USA. Keywords: Shell, UFT, Urea-ES, fluid bed granuation, urea sulphur fertilizer, agronomy trials

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Urea+ fertilizer production

Summary

Abstract

Over the last decade there has been a strong demand globally for fortified fertilizers to meet the nutrient demands of different soils and crops. Often nutrient requirements are specific to the region where the fertilizer is applied. Therefore, universal fertilizer technologies, which allow a wide range of fertilizers to be produced with a single unit have become popular. NIIK has developed and commercialised a universal urea+ fertilizers technology based on its high speed drum granulation (HSDG) technology and continues to develop it according to market demands. Since we first reported on the high speed drum granulation technology in Nitrogen+Syngas No. 321, numerous trials for the production of various urea+ fertilizer types have proved the high efficiency and flexibility of NIIK’s HSDG technology. Keywords: NIIK, HSDG, high speed drum granulation, speciality fertilizers

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An introduction to pre-reforming catalysis

Summary

J. Cross, G. Jones and M. A. Kent of Johnson Matthey Process Technologies discuss the catalysis behind pre-reforming in syngas plants. Pre-reforming can provide several benefits in modern hydrogen and ammonia plants including greater feedstock flexibility and improved energy efficiency.

Abstract

Pre-reforming can be an advantageous step in modern hydrogen and ammonia plants. It is a stage in the syngas production process that takes place immediately upstream of the (primary) steam reforming furnace. It can improve energy efficiency and allows for increased feedstock flexibility1.In some new plant designs a pre-reformer is used to reduce capital costs and, when retrofitted into existing plants, the step can allow for increased rate of production. Keywords: pre-reformer, reaction mechanism, catalyst activation, poisoning, catalyst deactivation, sintering, carbon laydown, plant efficiency, Johnson Matthey

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Optimising catalytic reactors in ammonia plants

Summary

Advances in simulation and analysis tools are being used to improve the design of catalytic reactors in ammonia plants. Improving the catalyst efficiency and reducing the front-end pressure drop (ΔP) in ammonia plants are well known to reduce operating costs by decreasing the energy consumption and increasing production. Technologies aimed at reducing the ΔP across catalytic reactors include altering internals and loading low pressure drop catalysts.

Abstract

To fully understand the potential benefits available through the application of improved reactor designs, an appreciation of the flowsheet is required. Considering the front end of a standard, natural gas-fed ammonia plant flowsheet, the feed is purified and undergoes the steam reforming reaction and secondary reforming with air to form a mixture of hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and residual methane. The water gas shift reaction (high and low temperature) produces hydrogen and converts the carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide, which is then removed, most commonly by a liquid absorption system). The ammonia synthesis catalyst is poisoned by oxygenate species, hence the carbon oxides in the synthesis gas are passed through the methanator to convert them to methane. The resultant gas is a mixture of hydrogen and nitrogen with traces of inert species that is further compressed before being fed to the ammonia synthesis loop. Keywords: pressure drop, catalyst, reactor, simulation, ammonia synthesis, exergy, energy, support grid, HTER

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Plant Manager+ Problem No. 36: Change in colour of urea product

Summary

Stainless steel owes its corrosion resistance to the presence of a protective chromium oxide layer on the surface. As long as this layer remains intact, the metal corrodes at a very low rate. If the passive layer in stainless steel is damaged, active corrosion starts in aggressive corrosive environments. Stainless steels exposed to carbamate containing solutions in the urea synthesis section can be kept in a passive state by adding a minimum amount of oxygen. If the oxygen content drops below this minimum, active corrosion starts, which can be identified by a shiny silver colour on the surface (see picture). Adding oxygen and maintaining a sufficiently high oxygen content in the various process streams are prerequisites for preventing excessive corrosion of the equipment and piping. Once active corrosion occurs, the corrosion rate is extremely high (>50 mm/year) and will not stop even if more oxygen is supplied to the process.

Abstract

Mr Akbar Ali from SAFCO, Saudi Arabia starts off the discussion: What are the possible causes for a change in urea product colour e.g. a dull white colour? Keywords: product colour, oil, corrosion products, iron content, contamination

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Challenges for the Indian fertilizer industry

Summary

Dr M.P. Sukumaran Nair, director of the Centre for Green Technology & Management, looks at the various challenges facing the Indian fertilizer industry and how it fits into the Modi government's 'Make in India' policy.

Abstract

The $2.0 trillion Indian economy is set to achieve 7% annual GDP growth under prime minister Narendra Modi’s government. But in order to sustain such figures, the major productive sectors of the economy – agriculture and industry – need a thorough revamping in order to boost productivity and growth. Therefore as a country India is confronted with two daunting challenges; attaining national food security, and reviving its manufacturing sector. Keywords: UREA, DAP, OMIFCO, IFFCO, COAL, LNG, IRAN

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Long-term demand for fertilizer

Summary

New nitrogen production plants are predicated on increases in fertilizer demand – something which has seen steady increase for decades now. But can such trends continue indefinitely, or is there a slowdown in global nitrogen demand growth ahead?

Abstract

The increased use of fertilizer over the course of the 20th century has been one of the great success stories in human achievement, allowing us to feed a global population that has now topped 7 billion people without the onset of catastrophic famine worldwide – something which was widely feared during the 1960s, when Stanford biologist Paul Erlich wrote his neo-Malthusian book ‘The Population Bomb’, its title designed to indicate that the effects of overpopulation would be every bit as devastating as that other concern of the era – the atomic bomb. The book began with the now infamous statement: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.” Keywords: POPULATION, GDP, AFRICA, NUTRIENT, BALANCED, CLIMATE CHANGE, UN, FAO, 2030, 2050

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Chasing the gas

Summary

Changing economics and availability of feedstocks around the world are leading to increased interest in moving plants from one location to another.

Abstract

Relocating a chemical plant that still has useful life left in it, or even just cannibalising an existing plant for parts, can help bring down the cost of setting up a methanol or ammonia plant by a considerable amount. In previous decades, with gas costs increasing in Europe and North America and plants closing down, new producers in Asia, Russia and other parts of the world often saw buying a used plant that had been well looked after as a cheap way of getting a foot on the ladder as an ammonia/urea or methanol producer. Many plants in countries like India and China initially began their lives in Europe and the US, being relocated during the 1980s and 90s. This is a process that still occurs – AzMeCo’s new methanol plant in Azerbaijan, which began operations in 2013, was based around an old plant relocated from the US. Keywords: GAS, ECONOMICS, METHANEX, TECHNICAL, MODULAR, EQUIPMENT, REVAMP, OBSOLETE

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