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Worldwide Refinery Processing Review (Quarterly Issues)

HYDROGEN (H2) PRODUCTION/PURIFICATION/RECOVERY AND SULFUR PLANT
Publication date:1Q 2009
Item#: B20901

Around the world, increasing demand for ultra-clean gasoline and diesel fuels and the rising use of heavy sour crudes has prompted many refiners to expand hydrotreatinig and hydrocracking capacity. As a result, the hydrogen and sulfur plants have become significant pieces in the refinery puzzle. This issue of the Review covers the expanding role of the sulfur and hydrogen plants in terms of available technology, processing considerations, and innovative R&D work.

This issue of the Review covers recent hydrogen production, purification, and recovery and sulfur plant technology advances, technical challenges, and R&D work. Additionally, the "Latest Refining Technology Developments & Licensing" section provides updates on various refining technologies.

Around the world, increasing demand for ultra-clean gasoline and diesel fuels and rising use of heavy sour crudes have prompted many refiners to expand or add new capacities of hydrotreating and hydrocracking units. As a result, the need for hydrogen and sulfur recovery is escalating. The once-auxiliary units--on-purpose hydrogen production and sulfur recovery--have become prominent processes that refiners cannot do without. Their growing importance has altered existing plant operations and future expansions and revamps.

In this issue, significant discussions focus on hydrogen production, purification, and recovery. The Market/Technology Trends & Opportunities section begins with an up-to-date look at the hydrogen market developments with respect to increasing fuel demands and impending GHG emissions regulations. Also it analyses refinery hydrogen supply methods (onsite production vs. over-the-fence supply).

The State-of-the-Art Technology section provides the latest developments in Caloric's three hydrogen production processes, Davy Process Technology's Compact Reformer (developed with BP), JGC's Methane Rich Gas process for prereforming, Gas Heated Reforming from Linde, Toyo Engineering's proprietary steam reforming process utilizing ISOP catalyst, Uhde's alternative CO shift configurations, and others. For hydrogen production catalysts, the recent products marketed by BASF, CRI, Haldor Topsøe, Johnson Matthey, and Sud-Chemie are identified. Hydrogen recovery is considered an integral part of the production scheme as demonstrated by AET's absorption-based Hydrogen Recovery Unit, Rapid Cycle PSA technology offered by ExxonMobil, Membrane Technology and Research's VaporSep-H2 membranes, Pall Corp.'s SepraSol liquid/gas coalescer for improved operations, as well as the latest improved commercial offerings from Air Products and Chemicals, Air Liquide, KBR, Lurgi, and UOP. Companies such as Air Liquide, Axens, Foster Wheeler and UOP provide hydrogen management solutions. The section concludes with a discussion of advanced process controls and monitoring systems available for hydrogen production units.

The Plant Operations and Practices examines various day-to-day plant-related issues (e.g. feed flexibility and efficiency improvements) as well as experiences in trouble-shooting (e.g. metal dusting corrosion.) To find out the trends of refinery hydrogen production around the world, unit installed capacity and recent construction activity information are summarized.

Finally, the R&D Alert! section uncovers work in published literature and patents relating to steam reforming, partial oxidation, autothermal reforming, and PSA and membrane separation technologies.

The sulfur plant technology first addresses the latest sulfur market and developments and competition in the Market/Technology Trends & Opportunities section.

The State-of-the-Art-Technology section discusses numerous new and updated processes and solvents such as BASF's Puratreat R refinery gas purification solvent, Fluor's Selective Treating Regeneration Enhancement Process (STREP) for use in acid gas Removal, Claus unit burner technologies provided by Air Liquide (COBALT) and Duiker Combustion Engineers (COPE process), Fluor's Claus unit oxygen enrichment technology coupled with ammonia and BTX destruction processes, PROClaus offered by UOP/WorleyParsons, DuPont Clean Technolgies's LABSORB for Tail Gas Treating, the DynaWaveTM wet gas scrubbing process from MECS, Shell Global Solutions' low-temperature SCOT process, and the Rameshni Catalytic Thermal Incineration process presented by UOP/WorleyParsons. Sulfuric acid recovery/production applications are being offered by DuPont STRATCO and Haldor Topsøe. Before the sulfur product is shipped, there are Siirtec Nigi's liquid sulfur degassing process and finishing technologies offered by Enersul and Sandvik. Axens, BASF, Criterion Catalysts & Technologies, Haldor Topsøe, Jacobs, and UOP market their updated catalyst products. This section concludes with a discussion of process control and optimization technologies for various parts of the sulfur plant.

The Plant Operations and Practices section examines various day-to-day plant-related issues (e.g. corrosion, foaming and amine loss) as well as experiences in trouble-shooting (e.g. Claus unit shutdowns.) To find out the trends of refinery sulfur production around the world, unit installed capacity and recent construction activity information are summarized.

Finally, the R&D Alert! section examines latest patents and research endeavors relating to acid gas removal, Claus-based technology, and tail gas treating.

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