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Ammonium sulphate production

Summary

Ammonium sulphate has had something of a resurgence in recent years, due to the move of caprolactam production to China and its utility as a sulphur-containing fertilizer.

Abstract

Ammonium sulphate (AS) was historically the first synthetic fertilizer to be used on a large scale, produced in Western Europe and North America as a by-product from the treatment of coke oven gas by sulphuric acid to remove ammonia. Initially valued only for its nitrogen content, its relative use diminished and was overtaken by the rise of other nitrogenous fertilizers with a higher N content; first ammonium nitrate (33%N compared to 21% for AS), and then more recently urea (46%N). However, as sulphur deficiencies in soil become a growing concern worldwide, use of AS continues to rise, aided by its increased supply as a by-product from a number of industrial processes where the AS becomes a ‘sink’ for the sulphur component of the reaction. Keywords: ACID, COKE, HPAL, SCRUBBING, HPO, HSO

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The global market for sulphur

Summary

Sulphur has re-entered a period of surplus after the commissioning of several large sour oil and gas projects.

Abstract

World production of sulphur reached 59.5 million tonnes in 2015. Roughly half of this (28.7 million t/a) comes from oil and oil sands refining, and the other half (29.5 million t/a) from natural gas processing, with the last two operational sulphur mines, at Siarkopol in Poland and Jaltipan in Mexico, contributing only a further 680,000 tonnes of the total, or just over 1% (and 95% of this mined total comes from Siarkopol alone). Keywords: SOUR GAS, PHOSPHATE, PHOSPHORIC, LEACHING, COPPER, NICKEL, STOCK, STOCKPILE, REFINERY, SHALE, ABU DHABI, KASHAGAN

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MESPON 2016

Summary

The 3rd Middle East Sulphur Plant Operations Network Forum (MESPON 2016), organised by UniverSUL Consulting and supported by GASCO and Al Hosn Gas, took place 9-11 October in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Attracting more than 200 delegates, this annual event has developed into an important sulphur forum for sour gas and sulphur plant operators across the Middle East to share technical knowledge and operating experiences and to gain access to the expertise and resources of the wider global sulphur community.

Abstract

With the recent start-ups of the Habshan 5 and Shah Gas facilities, the UAE has become the world’s largest sulphur exporter and a major contributor to the Middle East’s position as the world’s largest sulphur producing region. With several other large sour gas development projects underway, the UAE is on track to becoming the world’s largest sulphur producing nation in the near future, and is therefore a notable location for a conference focused on gas sweetening and sulphur recovery operations. Keywords: UAE, Middle East, sulphur, energy efficiency, turnarounds, operating challenges, amine plants, SRUs, TGTUs, sulphur handling.

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Rapid WHB retubing at IPL Mount Isa site

Summary

Energy recovery is a critical driver of sulphuric acid plant economics and the ability to properly design, operate, and maintain energy recovery equipment is critical to the successful operation of a sulphuric acid plant. Properly maintaining an acid plant waste heat boiler involves the right skill, expertise, and at times, creative solutions to balance the various needs of a plant. The IPL Mount Isa boiler retubing project, described here by B. Lamb of MECS, M. Donaghue and R. Gosling of RCR Energy and L. Leonforte of Incitec Pivot, provides a great example of this.

Abstract

Effective energy recovery in sulphuric acid plants can drive the economics of the plant every bit as much as the actual production of sulphuric acid. As such, many technologies have been used over the years to effectively recover energy. Examples include: l waste heat boilers (WHBs) for recovering heat from the oxidation of sulphur into sulphur dioxide in the furnace; l economisers, superheaters, and gas to gas heat exchangers for recovering heat from the catalytic conversion of sulphur dioxide to sulphur trioxide in the converter; Keywords: waste heat boiler, sulphuric acid, MECS, retubing, ferrules, tube sheet, refractory, HexPro.

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How to measure temperature in the Claus furnace

Summary

D. Ducharme of LumaSense Technologies discusses different methods to measure the temperature of the Claus reaction furnace, including the new generation Pulsar 4 infrared temperature measurement pyrometer system.

Abstract

There are two schools of thought on temperature measurement in the Claus reaction furnace. One is typical of the gas plant where the concentration of H2S is known and is constant. Why measure the temperature when there is no control over it? Constant flow with sufficient air to burn one-third of the H2S will produce a constant reproducible temperature, and as long as the mixture ratio remains constant, there is no need to know the temperature. Keywords: temperature measurement, Claus reaction furnace, thermocouples, infrared thermometer, pyrometer, flame temperature, wavelength Lumasense.

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Pyrometer verification and calibration methods

Summary

It is possible for infrared pyrometers in service on a Claus thermal reactor to read incorrect values due to miscalibration or misalignment. T. Keys of Delta Controls Corporation discusses the advantages and drawbacks of different options for pyrometer verification and calibration, including both in place calibration and uninstalled calibration.

Abstract

Infrared pyrometers in service on a Claus thermal reactor are in an extreme environment. It is possible for the pyrometer to read incorrect values for a number of reasons including miscalibration or misalignment. Miscalibration can be caused by slight drift of the electronics among other factors. If the accuracy of the unit is in question, action must first be taken to verify that the optical sight path is not occluded by the build-up of material and that the lens of the pyrometer is not obscured. Subsequently, the optical alignment of the pyrometer must be verified to be concentric with the bore. Keywords: Claus thermal reactor, infrared pyrometers, calibration, thermocouple, Delta Controls

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Waste heat boiler design, operation and reliability

Summary

Waste heat boilers (WHBs) are very important components of the sulphur recovery unit (SRU) for the recovery of useful byproduct energy. In the past, WHBs generated low pressure steam but modern designs generate much higher pressure steam, thus presenting mechanical design and operating challenges. As a result, WHB failures are more common.

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to identify the key design and operating considerations for the SRU WHB. The primary intention is to raise awareness of the importance of the WHB so that good design and operating practices will be engaged and SRU reliability will be improved. In recent years the frequency and severity of WHB problems have increased. It is suggested that the increase and severity of these problems are related in large part to the following items: l Higher pressure steam generation. l Increased oxygen-enriched SRU implementation. Keywords: waste heat boiler, design, reliability, tube to tube sheet weld, start-up, shutdown, steam quality, boiler feed water, boiler water limits, blowdown, ferrules, nitrogen purge.

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