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Publication > Issue > Articles

Nitric acid technology trends

Summary

L. Nielandt, J. Mathiak and M. Groves of thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions AG provide a brief history of nitric acid production technology and discuss current challenges to reduce plant emissions. Recent abatement achievements during start-up and partial load are presented.

Abstract

A brief history The oxidation of ammonia over a platinum catalyst to nitrogen oxides, and their absorption in water to form nitric acid was first carried out in 1838 by C.F. Kuhlmann. However, this discovery was not commercialised at that time as ammonia was too expensive compared to the Chile saltpeter used to manufacture nitric acid in those days. Keywords: thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, tkIS, nitric acid, history, uses of nitric acid, plant capacity, emissions, start-up, partial load, EnviNOx, deNOx, NOx.

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Oxyboost Technology increasing efficiency

Summary

A new concept for improving the absorption efficiency of nitric acid plants has been developed by Messer Group. This concept uses pure oxygen for the oxidation of nitrous acid (HNO2) and nitrous gases mainly in the liquid phase. Benefits include: reduced NOx emissions, less down time, up to 10% additional production, low investment costs and less ammonia needed for DeNOx.

Abstract

The majority of the global industrial production of nitric acid utilises catalytic oxidation of ammonia, followed by nitric oxide oxidation and absorption in water. Although the process was developed more than 100 years ago, the production process has been improved and developments continue to take place to improve raw material and energy efficiencies. Keywords: Messer Group, nitric acid plant, absorption efficiency, NOx emissions, down time, low investment, deNOx, Azomures, Oxyboost, oxygen.

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High energy recovery with low emissions

Summary

Stamicarbon is launching its renewed dual pressure nitric acid technology, developed for highest energy recovery with low emissions in order to accommodate an increased customer need for lowest total cost of ownership of nitric acid plants.

Abstract

Stamicarbon has been licensing a range of nitrate technologies since the 1930s and has designed over 40 nitric acid plants in the past. By applying many decades of experience and retaining the reliability and operability from industrially proven elements that are appreciated by its customers, Stamicarbon is now able to offer a dual pressure nitric acid technology design for single train capacities of up to 1,600 t/d. Keywords: Stamicarbon, dual pressure nitric acid process, gas distribution, perforated plates, deflector plates, CFD studies, energy recovery, low emissions, corrosion prevention, safety, fertilizer technology portfolio.

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Boosting nitric acid capacity

Summary

Jean-François Granger of Casale discusses novel solutions to boost the capacity of nitric acid plants without modifications to the turbot set machine.

Abstract

Debottlenecking a nitric acid plant, whatever the process, is always a question of introducing more air into the process and the capacity of the air compressor, expander and steam turbine to handle the increased load. In the case of a dual pressure process, a NOx compressor is added in order to operate the absorption part of the plant at a higher pressure than the reaction part. In so doing, both parts of the process are optimised with regard to opex and capex. Keywords: nitric acid, debottlenecking, turbo set machine, HP bleaching, plant turndown, air compressor, expander, steam turbine, NOx compressor, Casale.

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The future size of methanol plants

Summary

More and more, the size of a methanol plant is determined by construction considerations (modularisation, shipping limits on size or weight due to tunnels and bridges) or product sales (how often will a 50,000-tonne vessel need to be loaded to export your weekly production rate?) or availability of financing. Even though most projects are limited by such considerations, not all of them are. Clients almost always start with the question: "How big can you go?". In this article Simon Early of Johnson Matthey, considers the answer to that question.

Abstract

A methanol plant consists of several sections. For the purposes of this article we will look at four major blocks: syngas generation, syngas compression, methanol synthesis loop and product distillation. There are already ten methanol plants of around 5,000 t/d or larger1 in operation, and the world’s first 7,000 t/d plant is due to start up later this year2. Keywords: methanol, large scale plants, Casale, thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, Topsoe, world’s largest methanol plant, natural gas autothermal reforming, ATR, AdWinMethanol, CTS burner, natural gas, feed treatment, reforming, methanol synthesis, distillation.

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Methanol plants reach 7, 000 tonnes per day

Summary

The world's largest methanol plant currently stands at 7,000 t/d. In this article we report on the latest methanol technology and design concepts for large scale methanol plants from Casale, thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions and Topsoe.

Abstract

Casale big methanol plants Casale designed the world’s largest methanol plant with a single train capacity of 7,000 t/d. Fig. 1 is an aerial view of the construction site of that plant, which is presently under commissioning and will be on stream in 2017. The size of all critical items (steam reformer, ASU, machinery, reactors and columns) in Casale’s design is such that they are commercially available and can be supplied for a capacity of 10,000 t/d. Keywords: large capacity methanol plants, plant size, syngas generation, coal-based plants, steam methane reforming, combined reforming, parallel reforming, ATR, syngas compression, methanol synthesis, distillation, Johnson Matthey.

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Higher single train ammonia capacity

Summary

The trend to higher ammonia plant capacities continues. In this article, thyssenkrupp presents a concept for a 4,700 t/d single train ammonia plant based on proven technology and Casale presents its concept for a single train ammonia process suitable for capacities of up to 7,000 t/d.

Abstract

One of the main drivers in the ammonia industry has been the financial benefit associated with the economy of scale offered by larger plants. Improvements in plant design have delivered this over time with some notable step changes in increased capacity. In the 1960s, the development of centrifugal compressor technology allowed a marked increase in capacity from a few hundred t/d to over 1,000 t/d by 1970. Keywords: large scale ammonia, ammonia, scale up, dual pressure ammonia process, thyssenkrupp, once-through synthesis, cost optimisation, ammonia synthesis, syngas compression, economics, syngas compressor, primary reformer, secondary reformer, Casale A6000 ammonia process

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Plant Manager+ Problem No. 44: Rise in HP CO2 stripper outlet temperature

Summary

In the high-pressure CO2 stripper of a urea plant, which is essentially a shell-and-tube heat exchanger, the incoming carbon dioxide feed flows counter-current to the urea solution leaving the reactor. On the shell side, the high-pressure stripper is heated with steam. The off-gas of the high-pressure stripper, containing the feed carbon dioxide along with additional carbon dioxide and ammonia from the dissociated carbamate, is then fed into the carbamate condenser or pool reactor. This round table discussion is about the high-pressure CO2 stripper and how to solve the problem of a high temperature in the bottom of the stripper.

Abstract

Sandesh Patil from Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers Company, India initiates this round table discussion: In a CO2 stripping process, what could the reason be for an increase of the stripper liquid outlet temperature from 176°C to 182°C? Keywords: HP CO2 stripper, urea plant, carbon dioxide, CO2 stripper, CO2 stripping process, stripper outlet temperature, liquid distribution, stripping efficiency, Safurex tubes, corrosion.

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Trans-Pacific methanol

Summary

Chinese-backed Northwest Innovations Works (NWIW) is trying to build two huge methanol complexes on the Columbia River in the US Pacific northewest to make methanol from cheap US shale gas and ship it to China. Is this scheme practical or over-ambitious in a lower oil price environment?

Abstract

As we noted in our article in the previous issue (Nitrogen+Syngas 348, Jul/Aug 2017, pp20-23) Chinese demand for methanol has come to dominate the market for that product, with more than 50% of all global use, initially via fuel uses such as direct methanol blending into gasoline and production of dimethyl ether for propylene blending. However, the current surge of demand is being led by petrochemical derivatives, specifically methanol to olefins (MTO) or methanol to propylene (MTP) production. Keywords: MTO, OLEFINS, PROPYLENE, CMTX, BUTYLENE, WASTE, WATER, GHG, GREENHOUSE, CO2, ENVIRONMENT, EMISSIONS, ULE

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Environmental improvements in UAN production

Summary

Elisa Puci and Joey Dobrée of Stamicarbon describe ways of integrating emission treatment technologies in urea and UAN plants.

Abstract

The liquid fertilizer UAN has been around for decades in the North American market. The product is mainly popular in areas where agriculture is intensive and highly mechanised, but the suitability of UAN for application via irrigation systems also facilitates the expansion of its market towards areas in need of efficient water management in e.g. Latin America and Asia. Keywords: GRANULATION, EMISSIONS, EMISSION, AMMONIUM, NITRATE, VAPOUR, SCRUBBER, SCRUBBING, WASTE, ADBLUE, DEF

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