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Publication > Issue > Articles

Issues with ammonia transportation

Summary

Ammonia transport by rail faces increasing scrutiny, especially in North America, in the wake of several high profile rail accidents involving oil and petrochemical products.

Abstract

While most ammonia is consumed at the point of production, in urea, phosphate or nitric acid plants, a considerable volume is moved around, within and between countries. This is a particular facet of the US market, which consumes 16 million t/a of ammonia, of which 4 million t/a is distributed to farms for direct application as a fertilizer, and of which 5 million t/a are imported, mainly for use in ammonium phosphate production. Keywords: RAIL, PTC, TANK, TIH, TOXIC, MODULAR, UAN, TFI

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Feedstock economics

Summary

Feedstock economics continue to be the largest slice of operating cost for ammonia and methanol producers. While unconventional gas production and the slowdown in the world economy have put gas back in the driving seat, non-market mechanisms continue to distort gas pricing outside Europe and North America.

Abstract

Various feedstock options are available for those wishing to make syngas, from steam reforming or partial oxidation of natural gas through gasification of various heavy feedstocks such as coal, heavy fuel oils, petroleum coke, biomass or industrial waste, and reforming of naphtha. Hydrogen can also be electrolytically split from water as a source for ammonia production. However, as the International Fertilizer Industry Association’s (IFA’s) most recent survey of ammonia capacities shows (Figure 1), coal and natural gas are by far the most prevalent. The small remaining naphtha capacity is exclusively in India, and those plants are now in the process of conversion to natural gas feed because of the relatively high cost of naphtha, and the fuel oil plants are generally smaller and older facilities. Keywords: PETCOKE, STRANDED, OPE, GOG, NBP, MMBTU, CHINA

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New investment for Shchekinoazot

Summary

Russia's Shchekinoazot is to invest $1.5 billion in establishment of production of ammonia and urea during next several years, reports Eugene Gerder.

Abstract

Shchekinoazot, one of Russia’s leading fertilizer producers, has announced its plans to invest up to $1.5 billion in the building of a new complex for the production of ammonia and urea over the next few years. According to the company, the new complex will have the capacity to produce up to 730 000 t/a of ammonia and 1.2 million t/a of granulated urea, with construction beginning as soon as next year. Currently Shchekinoazot is looking for contractors for the project, and completing the design of a feasibility study of the new plant. Keywords: FINANCE, EXPORT, UHDE, EUROCHEM, STRATEGY, ROUBLE

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Iran after sanctions

Summary

Iran has ambitious plans to develop its ammonia and industries in the wake of the lifting of UN sanctions, but how realistic are they?

Abstract

In January this year, the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Tehran had fulfilled its obligations under an agreement to limit its nuclear enrichment programme. This was the trigger for the progressive easing of international sanctions against the country which have steadily ramped up from 2006, as concerns over the country’s nuclear ambitions have grown. The UN had mandated an arms embargo and asset freeze, and had added travel bans on individuals and sanctions on the provision of financial services. The US and EU, as well as some other states, had also imposed further sanctions on oil sales and oil equipment, and the US in particular had not only mandated sanctions on all companies doing business with Iran, it had also caused some difficulties by trying to extend those to companies outside the US that dealt with Iran that had US subsidiaries or operations. Keywords: LURGI, FANAVARAN, PARS, KHARG, MARJAN, ZAGROS, CHABAHAR, NIOC

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Advanced materials for metal dusting environments

Summary

The metal dusting phenomenon is a recurring problem in syngas plants. Dr Tracey Holmes of Special Metals Corporation discusses applications where such attack might occur and reports on INCONEL® alloy 693, a nickel-chrome alloy which has demonstrated superior performance under severe metal dusting conditions.

Abstract

Recent technology advances and concern regarding the long-term viability of reliance upon oil reserves have all acted to prompt interest in alternative fuels. Production of synthetic liquid fuels can now be accomplished using a number of starting stocks primarily natural gas and coal. Other alternatives under consideration include biomass and waste products. Regardless of the starting stock production of syngas for these processes and others results in exposure of components to gas streams capable of causing metal dusting. Keywords: metal dusting, INCONEL alloy 693, syngas plant, ammonia plant, HTER, corrosion resistant materials, welding, reformer, Special Metals Corporation.

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Developments in ammonia plant safety

Summary

In the 1920s ammonia production commenced at Billingham in the UK at a site then owned by Brunner Mond which later became part of ICI. Today Billingham site remains active in syngas and ammonia production via Johnson Matthey Process Technologies and through CF Industries UK Ltd fertilizer business. In common with operators of ammonia technology globally, the Billingham complex has always had a strong interest in making the industry safer and more reliable as John Brightling of Johnson Matthey relates.

Abstract

This article reviews the history of ammonia plant safety at Billingham and how it influenced, and was influenced by the wider industry and outlines some key incidents and advancements over the years as technology and approach to safety developed. The early years Ammonia production was first established at Billingham on 24th December 1923, based on the original Haber-Bosch process1. In this process, coke was generated then contacted with steam and air to make syngas, which was then purified via a number of stages before compression to 250 bar before introduction into the ammonia synthesis loop. Keywords: Billingham, Ammonia Safety Symposium, ammonia plant, hazard studies, ammonia plant safety, Johnson Matthey.

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Lessons learned from ammonia industry incidents

Summary

Clariant reports on two catalyst related incidents in ammonia plants and reviews the lessons learned. The first incident relates to LTS catalyst reduction and a primary reforming coking event and discusses the troubleshooting that was completed. The second incident describes the metallurgical and catalyst effects of air being inadvertently introduced into an HTS reactor with reduced catalyst.

Abstract

Ammonia plant incident 1 Ammonia plant no. 1 (USA) was built by MW Kellogg and commissioned in 1968 with a nameplate capacity of 907 t/d and has been modified in several stages to its current capacity of over 1,361 t/d. The facility had a routine turnaround planned for the summer of 2014 to perform scheduled maintenance, conduct required inspections, and replace catalysts. During this shutdown, the plant replaced catalysts in the desulphurisation system, high temperature shift (HTS) reactor and low temperature shift (LTS) main reactor. The LTS catalyst required a reduction step before being placed into service. The plant did not replace the catalyst in the primary reformer, which had been in service for three years. Keywords: primary reforming, coking, LTS catalyst reduction, HTS catalyst, hydrogen leaks, overheating. HTS start-up, high temperature hydrogen attack, HTHA, metallurgy.

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Reformer furnace revamps

Summary

A selection of case studies of major reformer furnace revamps by Casale illustrate how syngas plants can be revamped for increased plant capacity, reliability and efficiency and a new improved reformer tunnel system development by Blasch Precision Ceramics provides improved flue gas flow uniformity and potentially better catalyst tube reliability.

Abstract

Catalytic steam reforming of hydrocarbons in tubular reformers is the most common process for the production of synthesis gas and the steam methane reformer is widely accepted as being the most complex and energy intensive part of any ammonia, methanol or hydrogen plant. Being at the heart of ammonia plants, the primary reformer has a strong impact on the overall plant performance and it is important that is operating and maintained under the best possible conditions in order to achieve peak performance. Revamping steam reformers can provide a cost effective way to improve plant efficiency, increase plant capacity and improve reliability. Keywords: steam methane reforming, Casale, reformer furnace revamp, plant efficiency, plant capacity, reliability, StaBlox reformer tunnel system, Blasch Precision Ceramics, BD Energy Systems,

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Deep vacuum fluid bed granulation

Summary

Ken Monstrey of Green Granulation Technology (GGT) shares the findings and experiences with regard to the commissioning and fine-tuning of the Linggu Chemical Phase II 2,700 t/d urea granulation plant in Yixing, Jiangsu, China. Keywords: urea granulation, cold recycle granulation, CRG, Green Granulation Technology, deep vacuum.

Abstract

Green Granulation Technology (GGT) Europe and the R&D department of GGT Asia have developed and commissioned a further enhancement of the cold recycle granulation (CRG) process. The CRG process has already been effectively adopted on industrial scale in several projects. The next generation of the CRG process, CRG under deep vacuum, has been successfully commissioned for three projects with capacities of 600 t/d,1,500 t/d and 2,700 t/d. In each of these projects the same principles of the CRG process were adopted, but then applied under the principles of deep vacuum.

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Plant Manager+: Problem No. 37: Faulty reactor pressure transmitter

Summary

Pressure transmitters have become essential parts of virtually all urea plants. Pressure measurement undoubtedly forms an important measurement in industrial process measurement and control. Pressure transmitters convert an applied pressure into an electrical signal, which is then transmitted to a device such as a computer, programmable logic controller, recorder, or digital meter to analyse the electrical signal and utilise it to display, record, or modify the device's pressure. A schematic of a pressure transmitter is shown in the picture below left.

Abstract

Mr Ab Samad Noraini from Petronas Fertilizer, Malaysia initiates a discussion of a familiar problem in urea plants: Our plant uses Saipem technology and we have experienced frequent faults with our reactor pressure transmitter. Because of this we often need to by-pass the protection of the trip logic of urea reactor. Keywords: urea plant, pressure transmitter, diaphragm seal, CO2 line, ammonia line.

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