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Publication > Issue > Articles

Improving the reliability of steam methane reformers

Summary

The reliable and continuous supply of hydrogen to a refinery is of major importance. Dr M. Scholz and M. A. Smith of thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions discuss how the reliability of the hydrogen manufacturing unit can be improved by equipping it with a PSA bypass, which is triggered in case of a PSA trip. Consequently, the raw hydrogen is recycled to the steam reformer as fuel. In this way the plant is kept in operation while solving the issues that led to the PSA trip and a fast restart of the plant is possible with minimum shut down time.

Abstract

Hydrogen manufacturing units (HMUs) are an integral and important part of a refinery. These units supply high quality hydrogen to refinery operations such as hydrocrackers and hydrotreaters. The reliable and continuous supply of hydrogen is of high importance for the operation and economics of the entire refinery. Without hydrogen the refinery has to be shut down and associated costs are estimated with up to approximately one million US dollars per day (depending on the capacity of the refinery). Keywords: hydrogen, syngas, steam methane reformer, reliability, PSA, PSA bypass, PSA trip, hydrogen manufacturing unit, HMU, Uhde, top fired steam reformer, thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions

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Methanol converters under continual development

Summary

In a competitive market, methanol producers need access to both leading edge production techniques, and technology solutions. In this article we focus on recent improvements and ongoing developments to enhance the efficiency and performance of steam raising methanol converters.

Abstract

Methanol production methods have evolved considerably over many decades, and the need for efficient and cost-effective approaches to its production remains important for the chemical industry. For large scale plants in particular, technology that minimises cost and maximises efficiency and yield are especially important. Keywords: methanol, converter, steam raising methanol converter, Lurgi WCR, Isothermal Methanol Converter, IMC, plate cooled converter, coal based methanol, radial flow steam raising converter, RSRC, distributer, Air Liquide Engineering & Construction, Casale, Johnson Matthey

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Cost effective ammonia plant revamping

Summary

No matter how old or new your plant, improvements are always possible and do not necessarily have to involve large expenditure. In this article we report on some of the many ammonia plant revamp options available and report on recent case studies.

Abstract

As assets get older and are subject to ever increasing competitive pressures from newer and more efficient plants, which are often located in regions with lower feedstock costs, it is vitally important that the competitiveness of existing plants is enhanced by making improvements which are both reliable and cost effective. In addition, when product prices are under pressure it is also important to focus on improving the economics of operations. Keywords: ammonia, revamp, modernisation, retrofit, upgrade, energy efficiency, capacity increase, reliability, feedstock, emission control, product flexibility, pre-reforming, steam reforming, primary reformer, secondary reformer, heat exchange reforming, HTER, KRES, STREAMLINE, inlet distributer, outlet collector, floating head water tube boiler, add-on converter, structured catalyst, refrigeration, chiller, shift reactor, process air compressor, shift reactors, ZoneFlow, process condensate stripping, natural gas saturator, NOx control, steam balance, ammonia synthesis loop, HTS catalyst, co-production, product diversification, IMAP, make-up gas converter, Johnson Matthey, Casale, KBR, ZoneFlow Reactor Technologies, KPI, Topsoe

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Plant Manager+ Problem No. 47: Active corrosion during blocking in

Summary

This discussion is about the risks of active corrosion or failure of passivation during a blocking-in situation of the high pressure synthesis section of the urea plant. It touches on many aspects searching for a possible cause of active corrosion during such a situation. The final outcome is of significant importance for all urea plants worldwide.

Abstract

Cory Holt, process engineer at CF Industries in Canada, initiates the discussion: Could anyone share their expertise with respect to urea process passivation and the possible modes of failure and has anyone ever worked at a plant where passivation has failed. Our facility has recently shown physical signs of passivation failure in our reactor although all process data shows that we had oxygen in the system and proper passivation. Keywords: urea, corrosion, blocking in, passivation, start-up, N/C ratio, leak, reactor lining, liner, stripper bottom, monitoring, materials

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Chinese urea capacity rationalisation

Summary

China is in the process of one of the most profound changes to its fertilizer market in years as it seeks to combat air, soil and water pollution and increase fertilizer use efficiency. In the process its status as the world's largest urea exporter seems likely to come to an end.

Abstract

China has come to set the pace for the world urea market, with Chinese anthracite-based urea capacity, now at the top of the global cost curve, acting as swing capacity in the way that Black Sea producers used to do in the 1990s. Chinese exports of urea reached a peak of just under 14 million tonnes in 2015, representing 29% of all urea trade. But that situation now seems set to change as the country tries to manage the next stage of its development; urea exports fell to 8.5 million t/a in 2016, a fall of nearly 40% year on year, and the final figure for 2017 looks set to be lower still at around 4.5 million t/a. Keywords: ENVIRONMENT, ENVIRONMENTAL, POLLUTION, NOX, MARKET, EXPORT, COAL, GAS, GDP

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Iran's growth spurt

Summary

Two and a half years on from the lifting of international sanctions on Iran, rapid progress is being made on oil and gas development and the completion of new ammonia-urea and methanol plants.

Abstract

Iran’s return to the international fold following the ‘Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action’ deal on its nuclear weapons programme in 2015 has been a disruptive one for many markets, but while it has had an effect on keeping oil prices lower, the potential effect on urea and methanol markets promises to be greater still. Keywords: METHANOL, OLEFINS, MTO, AMMONIA, UREA, PARS, ASSALUYEH, OIL, GAS, RISK, SANCTIONS

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