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Publication > Issue > Articles

Full life cycle philosophies for urea plants

Summary

Stamicarbon and Saipem discuss their philosophies for improving and supporting the life cycle of urea plants throughout the entire plant lifetime. New developments are helping to meet the challenges of the fertilizer industry, as well as providing solutions for reliable, flexible, profitable and environmentally friendly operations.

Abstract

The fertilizer industry challenge Over the next 35 years the world population is likely to grow to over 9 billion people according to the United Nations (UN). This will put immense strain on the earth’s natural resources and has an adverse impact on climate change (Fig. 1). The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN) claims that the world would have to increase its food production by 70% – that is taking into account that 70% of the population will earn a higher income, which will lead to higher consumption. Keywords: urea, Saipem, Stamicarbon, life cycle, sustainability, LAUNCH, ADVANCE, EVOLVE, LAUNCH MELT, MicroMist venture scrubber, xDim, plant optimisation, plant flexibility, reliability, Snamprogetti Urea Technology, plant inspection, start-up, procurement, SuperCups trays

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Uhde® Mega UAN concept: from vision to success

Summary

Uhde® UAN technology has proven to be versatile, flexible and reliable. In this article, E. Marcos Puertas, P. Kamermann, and J. Mathiak of thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions AG report on the start-up and recent operating experience of two recently commissioned Mega UAN concept plants in the USA.

Abstract

UAN as a fertilizer UAN is a solution of urea and ammonium nitrate in water. It is widely used as a fertilizer, mainly in North America, Western Europe and the former Soviet Union1. According to IFA, global UAN consumption in 2017 was 18.7 million t/d, with North America representing 70% of it. Keywords: UAN solutions, thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, Uhde, Mega UAN, fertilizer, UAN production, ammonia, nitric acid, quality control, liquid effluents, fertilizer complex, zero liquid discharge, CFI, Iowa Fertilizer Company, IFCo

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Easy access to true TWT readings

Summary

Topsoe's expert digital services for ammonia, methanol, hydrogen and syngas plants now includes TrueTemp™, a new online application to improve the accuracy and reliability of tube wall temperatures (TWTs) in the steam reformer. Reformer operation can be optimised by allowing the reformer to be operated closer to design temperature and firing efficiently, while keeping the tubes safe and preventing unplanned shutdowns.

Abstract

Monitoring and control of reformer tube wall temperatures (TWTs) is essential for the reformer to perform at peak efficiency and productivity under safe conditions. Operating the reformer at too low an average TWT and/or too high a temperature spread, can lead to significant production losses. On the other hand, the lifetime of the reformer tubes can suffer significantly if operated above design temperature. Keywords: Topsoe, digital solutions, steam reformer, ammonia, methanol, hydrogen, syngas plants, tube wall temperature, TWT, TrueTemp, Topsoe Furnace Manager

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Gearing up for future in steam reforming

Summary

ZoneFlow™ Reactor Technologies LLC (ZFRT) has developed proprietary, radically innovative structured catalyst solutions for steam reforming, pre-reforming and recuperative reforming. ZoneFlow (ZF) reactors provide higher heat transfer, lower pressure drop, higher geometric surface area, more uniform flow and heat distribution, and long-term structural integrity compared to the current state-of-the-art pellet catalyst. The use of ZF reactors enables significant capital and operating cost reduction in steam reforming both for new plants as well as revamps. S. Ratan of ZFRT and Prof. J. De Wilde of UCL, Belgium discuss the current status of the technology.

Abstract

The predominant technology for syngas generation over all these years has been steam reforming of light hydrocarbons, mainly natural gas commonly called steam methane reforming (SMR). This mature technology however has seen only incremental improvements in its catalyst design and its performance in conjunction with superior tube metallurgy and reformer design with the aim for better efficiency and reliability. Keywords: steam reforming catalyst, steam methane reforming, SMR, ZoneFlow Reactor Technologies, ZFRT, ZF reactor, pellet catalyst, structured catalyst, steam reforming, pre-reforming, recuperative reforming, new plant, revamps, UCL, pilot plant, CFD modelling, FEA analysis, syngas plants, debottlenecking

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Plant Manager+ Problem No. 48 Seal systems of high pressure reciprocating pumps

Summary

There is a lot of misunderstanding about the purpose and functioning of the seal systems (stuffing box) of the high pressure (HP) ammonia and HP carbamate reciprocating pumps. Some believe that lubrication is the main purpose, while others feel it is all about sealing. Both views are partly true. And for the HP ammonia pumps the objective is also to maintain the possibility to retighten the packing when ammonia starts to leak through the stuffing box. The stuffing box consists of the plunger, the casing, the high and low pressure packing assemblies, the glands and the seal system, either oil or water. This round table discussion is all about the experiences of ­various end users.

Abstract

Mr Mien Pin Chin from Asean Bintulu Fertilizer in Malaysia initiates the discussion: Can anyone tell me why our Uraca HP reciprocating carbamate pump requires two seal-water injection points for the plungers – one nearest to the plunger, which is supplied by a centrifugal pump, and another injection point nearest to the discharge, where the seal water is injected by an attached injection pump (positive displacement (PD) type)? Keywords: urea, seal systems, HP reciprocating pump, stuffing box, leak, oil seal system, water seal system, positive displacement pump, HP ammonia pump, carbamate pump, water flush, oil fouling

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The prospects for GTL

Summary

Gas to liquids (GTL) technology has dropped in and out of favour in the syngas industry as oil and gas prices have moved up and down. With the withdrawal of Sasol from new GTL projects, the prospects for new GTL currently seem to rest on smaller scale, modular plants.

Abstract

In the world of syngas-based chemicals, ammonia and methanol production and, to a lesser extent hydrogen generation for refineries, predominate. However, the production of longer chain hydrocarbons by Fischer-Tropsch polymerisation has always offered the enticing possibility of being able to arbitrage cheap natural gas and high oil prices, converting from gas into to liquid fuels, and making synthetic diesel, naphtha and waxes. Keywords: TURKMENISTAN, TURKMEN, UZBEKISTAN, OLTIN YOL, TOPSOE, SASOL, LOUISIANA, MTG, JUNIPER, COMPACT, WAX, DIESEL, VELOCYS, EXPANDER, MICRO, KAZAKHSTAN, ENVIA

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Methanol - China in the driving seat

Summary

Methanol has been the fastest growing syngas derivative for some years now, and will be almost 1/2 the size of the ammonia market by 2020. Although new capacity additions are slowing, methanol to olefins production in China continues to drive the market, while new US capacity additions will see it become a net exporter by 2019.

Abstract

While ammonia markets have grown at an average rate of about 2% from 2011-2016, over the same period methanol markets increased by 7-9% year on year. This amazing rate of growth has seen the methanol market increase from just over 50 million t/a in 2011 to over 80 million t/a in 2017. However, virtually all of the incremental demand has come from China over that period; China has sought to monetise its huge coal reserves in order to displace imports of crude oil and various chemicals, including ammonia and methanol, beginning with fuel uses; first dimethyl ether (DME) blending into LPG, and then methanol blending into gasoline. Keywords: MTO, MTP, ACETIC ACID, FORMALDEHYDE, VAM, MMA, FUEL, BLEND, BLENDING, OLEFINS, PROPYLENE, METHANEX, NATGASOLINE, NORTHWEST, INNOVATION, NWIW, IRAN, DAYER, DAYYER, ASSALUYEH, NIGERIA, OMAN

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