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Effectiveness Continuous Amine Purification

Effectiveness Continuous Amine Purification

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Published by SP_Angel
EFFECTIVENESS OF CONTINUOUS REMOVAL
OF HEAT STABLE SALTS FROM
CONTAMINATED AMINE SCRUBBING
EFFECTIVENESS OF CONTINUOUS REMOVAL
OF HEAT STABLE SALTS FROM
CONTAMINATED AMINE SCRUBBING

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: SP_Angel on May 23, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/23/2014

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E
FFECTIVENESS OF
C
ONTINUOUS
R
EMOVAL
 
OF
H
EAT
S
TABLE
S
ALTS FROM
 C
ONTAMINATED
A
MINE
S
CRUBBING
S
OLUTIONS
 
Jenny Shao
,
VP Business Development, Asia
 Eco-Tec Inc., Ontario, Canada jshao@eco-tec.com 
Lloyd Vaz
,
Chief Executive
 Eco-Tec Solutions, Pune, Indiaeco-tec@eco-tecsolutions.com www.eco-tec.com 
A
BSTRACT
 
Amine scrubbing solutions used for gas treatment at refineries, chemical, sulfur andgas processing plants remove hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide from gas streams. Oneof the problems with the amine solutions is the gradual accumulation of byproductcontaminants called heat stable salts (HSS). Increased HSS concentration in the amineloop leads to corrosion-related maintenance problems, frequent filter replacements, aminelosses, excessive foaming, capacity reduction, etc.Ion exchange resins have been employed for removal of the HSS, but because of thedifferent affinities that the various anionic HSS contaminants have towards the resin,successful removal is restricted. Moreover, continuous on line removal of the HSS, ratherthan periodic treatment helps ensure a more stable and uniform conditioning operationwith optimized efficiency of the amine unit operation.A proprietary system, employing advanced ion exchange technology with uniquefeatures of fine mesh resins, short packed bed and fast cycles was introduced to thisapplication about 10 years ago and has proved most successful in achieving the needs of efficient online HSS removal. Since then, several such systems have been installedaround the world including India. This paper details the technology and variousapplications, including carbon dioxide sequestration. Various examples are presented,with two specific case studies: a system installation in the United States of America, andan installation in China.
 
I
NTRODUCTION
 
The amine-treating unit is of great importance in gas processing and refineryoperations for treating acid gases and now attracts increasing attention due to the pressingneeds of environmental compliance and meeting the stringent levels of H
2
S and CO
2
 removal. Lean amine solutions of 20-50 wt.% and relatively free of acid gases enters thetop of the absorption tower and flows counter-current to the sour gas stream being fedfrom the bottom of the column. The acid gases in the gas stream are chemically absorbedresulting in rich amine solution that exits from the bottom of the tower and the sweet gasfrom the tower top.Thermal regeneration of the rich amine is then carried out in a steam stripper wherethe absorbed acid gases are liberated and this regenerated (lean) amine is re-circulatedback to the absorption tower top.In the absorption process, a common problem is the formation of small quantities of Heat Stable Salts (HSS), which is not removed during steam stripping. HSS is formeddue to the presence of other certain acidic components in the process gas and liquids thatresult in an irreversible reaction with the amine to form HSS. These contaminants includechloride, sulfate, formate, acetate, exalate, cynamide, thiocynate, thiosulfate, etc. Theresultant salts have a relatively strong chemical bonding with essentially no dissociationwith heat (in the steam stripper). This result in the gradual build up of the HSS in theamine circulation loop and when the tolerable limits of the HSS are exceeded severaloperational and maintenance problems are encountered some of which include:
High corrosion rates leading to stress corrosion cracking;
High maintenance, repair cost and safety concerns;
Frequent filter replacements;
Foaming and plugging in absorber tower;
Decrease in absorption efficiency and productivity;
Heat exchanger and reboiler tube fouling;
Excessive heat requirements;
Overall unit instability.High corrosion rates, typical for a number of amine plants, as well as stress-corrosioncracking of stainless steel, usually attributed to chloride, create serious safety concerns.High corrosion leads to high repair and maintenance costs, potential environmentalimplications, as well as lost production. The results of a survey conducted by the NationalAssociation of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) indicate that 60% of total 24 amine plantssurveyed experience stress-corrosion cracking in the amine absorbers
1
. A similar surveyby the Japanese Petroleum Institute reported a 72% occurrence of cracking at amine gastreating facilities. Carbon steel corrosion is often attributed to the amine contaminantswhich cannot be stripped and thereby accumulate in the amine solution. However,preventive measures to reduce corrosion produce good results and improve amine unitreliability at a reasonable cost.
 
C
ONTINUOUS
R
ECLAMATION TO
C
ONTROL
I
MPURITIES
 
In order to prevent the HSS from building up beyond critical limits, the most straight-forward approach is periodic amine purging which is messy and prohibitively expensivegiven the current situation of increased competition, cost control and restricted wastedischarge. Other periodic amine clean-ups, either on-site or off-site, are also practiced tosome extent by certain plants that have to employ large equipment for vacuum distillation,conventional ion exchange or electro-dialysis. However, this approach of periodicreclaiming is cumbersome and expensive and does not effectively overcome theoperational and corrosion problems caused by the anions.It became apparent that the ideal solution to overcome HSS related problems was tohave on-line amine purification (and not periodic) which would ensure a stable anduniform gas conditioning operation while the contaminant levels in the amines arerestricted from building up and corrosion rate minimized.As depicted in diagram 1, continuous on-line amine reclaiming has become recognizedas the most effective solution for HSS-related problems. Furthermore, if an upset occursupstream of the amine unit, the equipment is on-site to address the problem immediately.
 
In 1998, such an on-linesystem employing advancedion exchange technologywith unique features of finemesh resins, short packedbed and fast cycles wasintroduced to this applicationand has proved mostsuccessful in achieving theneeds of efficient HSSremoval. Since then, severalsuch systems have beeninstalled around the worldincluding India. Some of thefeatures, differentiating thisunique ion exchange technology fromconventional ion-exchange systems, include:
Diagram 1: Continuous Online Loop
fine mesh resins;
short & packed resin bed;
countercurrent regeneration;
low resin loading;
fast flows and short cycles;
compact and skid mounted system.Systems employing this unique ion exchange technology were originally in use twodecades earlier but for various other industrial applications for chemical purification,recovery and recycling (steel finishing operations, electro-plating, etc.).

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