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Publication > Issue > Articles

Asset management for steam methane reformers

Summary

Thomas Fortinberry, AMETEK Land Business Development Manager – Industrial Gas, discusses fixed thermal imaging for steam methane reformers and how improved access to process temperature data can optimise efficiency, reduce downtime and extend asset life.

Abstract

Steam methane reforming of natural gas is one of the most commonly used thermal methods for hydrogen generation. For example, natural gas reforming accounts for 95% of the hydrogen produced in the United States. Growing worldwide demand for hydrogen has driven the increased use of steam reformers, backed by the desire to make the process as productive as possible. There is a simultaneous movement to enhance the inspection and diagnostics used in the creation of hydrogen, methane, ammonia and other gases, driven by many factors, including an increased focus on safety for operators, reduction of downtime and cost efficiency. Keywords: THERMAL, FURNACE, BURNER, CONTROL, IMAGING, REFRACTORY, TUBE, FAILURE, CATALYST

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Southeast Asian nitrogen markets

Summary

While nitrogen consumption in the region is relatively stable, several new ammonia-urea plants coming on-stream in Indonesia and Malaysia seem set to turn southeast Asia into a net exporter rather than importer. Longer term, however, much depends on Indonesia's gas situation, with a possible switch towards greater coal-based production.

Abstract

Southeast Asia, as defined geographically by the 10 member states of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), can sometimes be overshadowed by the industrial giant of the Chinese economy to the north, or the growing Indian economy to the west. However, the region is nevertheless home to 631 million people at last estimate (2015). If it were a single nation, it would be the world’s seventh largest economy, larger than Brazil or India, and by 2050 this figure is forecast to rise to fourth largest. Real GDP growth from 2000-2013 has averaged 5.1%; below that of India or China, but ahead of the other ‘BRICs’, Russia and Brazil. Keywords: VIETNAM, INDONESIA, MALAYSIA, BRUNEI, MYANMAR, THAILAND, PHILIPPINES, NEW GUINEA, SAMUR, PUSRI, KALTIM

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Early detection of process risks

Summary

The implementation of a new software, Dynamic Risk Analyzer™ (DRA), developed by Near-Miss Management and based on a groundbreaking early risk detection technology, is outlined in this article. DRA assesses the risk level of plant operations and identifies early indicators of developing process problems. By utilising such an early risk detection system, the operating teams can assess and resolve process issues at their initiation stages – driving a proactive risk management culture and workflow. Real-life examples, where process issues were detected and addressed early on using DRA technology, are presented.

Abstract

Minimising risks related to process safety and reliability is the highest priority for operating teams today. Although plant operations are equipped with process monitoring tools, current applications have limitations, particularly, lacking information on developing risks, which are typically hidden in the data and are not visible easily. Keywords: Dynamic Risk Analyzer, DRA, process safety, reliability, software, risk detection, safety audit, monitoring tools, Near-Miss Management, Asean Bintulu Fertilizer

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24/7 firebox monitoring

Summary

Topsoe Furnace Manager (TFM) is a proven personnel and process safety system for ammonia plant primary reformers, providing firebox images and data 24/7. It provides monitoring of burner flames and tube temperatures locally and remotely without human interaction with the firebox and can provide immediate economic benefits by avoiding outages, improving long term reliability, and enhancing operational excellence. S. W. Sexton of Haldor Topsoe describes the key features of TFM.

Abstract

Global food demand is expected to increase by 15% by 2030. Ammonia and fertilizer demand will increase accordingly in response to increased food demand. Higher expectations will be placed on existing and new plants in terms of efficiency, reliability, and compliance. However, plant safety remains the highest priority to be able to achieve all other expectations. Keywords: Topsoe Furnace Manager, TFM, ammonia plant, primary reformer, monitoring, burner flame, firebox, safety, asset protection, alarm history, process hazard analysis, reliability, training, compliance audits, SOPs, personnel safety, furnace problems, safety reviews, process control

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Make more from less

Summary

Catalyst changes in the ammonia process offer an ideal opportunity to reduce pressure drop and/or energy requirements with the minimum of additional expense. M. Cousins and J. Brightling of Johnson Matthey review the fundamentals that need to be considered and look at case studies showing how the latest technologies and plant operation philosophies can be utilised to make more from less.

Abstract

Over the last 100 years, the nitrogen fertilizer industry based on ammonia production has grown massively. Drivers behind this growth have been, and remain, increasing global population coupled with increased plant size to achieve better economies of scale. This has created demand for increased capacity and better reliability (Fig. 1). Keywords: catalyst, ammonia process, pressure drop, activity, Johnson Matthey, heat transfer, diffusion, purification, primary reforming, secondary reforming, water gas shift, LTS, HTS, methanation, ammonia synthesis

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Plant Manager+ Problem No. 40: Medium pressure absorber in Saipem urea plant

Summary

The function of the medium pressure (MP) absorber is to separate pure ammonia from ammonium carbamate before both of these streams are recycled to the synthesis section. Control of the process conditions of the MP absorber is one of the key control parameters in a Saipem urea plant. CO2 carryover to the ammonia receiver is not permitted in the process as it will create corrosion problems and upset conditions in the ammonia recovery and pumping system. This round table discussion considers the problems and solutions in this process section.

Abstract

Nasir Hussain from Pak Arab Fertilizers Multan, Pakistan starts the round table discussion: Please tell me about problems with the medium pressure absorber in a Saipem urea plant. What is the allowable CO2 carryover to the ammonia receiver? Keywords: MP absorber, Saipem, urea plant, CO2 carryover, tray temperature, inerts washing column, condenser, ammoniacal water

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