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, New Delhi
Downtime in Ammonia and Urea Plants
Analysis of Downtime in Ammonia and Urea Plants Dr. S. Nand & Manish Goswami The Fertiliser Association of India, New Delhi firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract A survey of downtime in Indian ammonia and urea plants was carried out for the three year period of 2002-05. The analysis shows that there is a significant improvement in on-stream efficiency of ammonia and urea plants due to reduction in downtime due to various reasons. For example, the downtime due to forced shut down in ammonia plants came down from 30.2 days per plant per year (DDPY) in 1999-2002 to 14.8 DDPY during the period 200205. Downtime due to mechanical failure in ammonia plants was reduced to less than half (5.9 DDPY) during the current survey compared to the previous survey (14.7 DDPY). There is also improvement in the duration of planned shut down from 22.5 DDPY during 1999-02 to 19.1 DDPY for the 2002-05 period. These improvements are reflected in high on-stream days of 330 for the current survey compared to 311 during 1999-02. The analysis has also identified the areas where more attention is required to improve the on-stream efficiency. 1.0 Introduction The efficiency in operation of ammonia and urea plants is determined by various factors like plant reliability, type of feedstock, availability of the utilities, labour relations, market conditions, etc. The most important of these factors is the reliability of the plant and machinery. Maintenance and inspection are the two
important functions which can ensure a high reliability and availability of the continuous process plants. The high on-stream factor and operating efficiency can only be achieved with the systematic inspection programme leading to predictive maintenance programme. It is needless to mention that high plant reliability also helps in ensuring environmentally safe operations.
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The capacity utilization and energy efficiency of the plants are badly affected by unscheduled shutdown for whatever reason. 80’s and 90’s. 24. naphtha and fuel oil continue to remain significant in contributing more than 40% to the urea production in the country. The present paper reports the results and the analysis of the data collected for downtime and its causes for the period April 2002 to March 2005. The average capacity utilization of ammonia plants remained lower than 70% in the decade of 1970’s. However. Hence. These developments along with revamp/retrofit of old plants. the areas of inspection and maintenance. This again brings into the sharp focus.2006 Page 2 of 12 ..6 MMT urea in 1970-71 to 13. the plant owners had to struggle for achieving a reasonable operating levels due to use of unproven equipments and moving machines. New Delhi Downtime in Ammonia and Urea Plants Indian ammonia and urea industry grew manifold in the 3 decades of 1970’s.FAI-H. In the initial phase of the development of the industry. the decade of 1980’s witnessed construction of large single stream plants with proven technology and equipments and using natural gas as feedstock. The installed capacity of ammonia and urea increased from about 1. and better operation and maintenance practices helped to increase the capacity utilization to almost 100% in the 1990’s.7. Natural gas emerged as the prominent feedstock for production of ammonia and urea accounting for about 50% of the installed capacity.4 MMT and 20. However. the attention has to be paid to a high degree of reliability of equipments specially when plants are getting old.5 MMT respectively in 2004-05 making it one of the largest in the world.O. The Fertiliser Association of India has been monitoring the downtime and its causes in ammonia and urea plants in India for more than 30 years. One of the major causes of unscheduled shutdown could be the breakdown of plant and machinery.0 MMT ammonia and 1.
5% of loss of ammonia production.8% of the total production respectively. fuel oil and coal accounted for 22. 3.4 DDPY during 1996-99. 2002-05.9 million MT ammonia and 54.O.2 Duration of Turnaround Average duration of planned turnaround (maintenance) shutdown of 29 ammonia plants was 19. 3. The survey includes a mix of plants with respect to vintage.1 days per plant per year (DDPY) compared to 22..67 MMT of ammonia.0 3.9 million MT of urea production during the 3 year period which is 85. The vintage of the plants varied from 6 years to 38 years. The size of the plants varied from less than 600 MTPD to 1500 MTPD for ammonia and less than 600 MTPD to 1800 MTPD for single stream urea plants. naphtha. 37. GOI put a cap on allocation of urea to various 24.5 DDPY during 1999-02 and 18. The trends in downtime due to various causes over the previous years are also presented.0 Method of Analysis The detailed data obtained from these plants under various classifications was converted to the downtime in days per plant per year (DDPY).7.1 Ammonia Plants Causes for Loss of Production Table 1 shows the reasons for loss of production of ammonia and urea during the survey period.e. size and feedstock. Of the total loss of production of 2. New Delhi Downtime in Ammonia and Urea Plants Downtime data for the 3 year period was available from 29 ammonia and 28 urea plants.2006 Page 3 of 12 . Shortage of inputs like natural gas. DDPY = Number of days of downtime/ (Number of plants/number of years). Due to slack in consumption of urea and built up of production capacity. Similar trends were observed in the causes for loss of production of urea during the survey period i. Miscellaneous factors included high inventory levels of products etc.8% of loss was due to equipment problem.6% and 87. These plants accounted for a total of 33.FAI-H. 2.
However.FAI-H. These two factors had opposite effect on the duration of downtime.3 SPY during 1996-99. 23.8 DDPY in the 2002-05 period (Table 2). This forced the units to take longer shutdown mainly in March and the same were classified as planned turnaround for maintenance. The total downtime in ammonia plants came down by more than 50% from 31. 3. process and miscellaneous failures. Therefore. FACT-Cochin and NLC-Neyveli which were not operating well. However.6% of total forced downtime in ammonia plants.4 Causes of Downtime Downtime in ammonia plants is segregated into groups under mechanical. shortage of water and power etc.. Therefore.3 Number of Shutdown There was significant reduction in number of forced shutdown at 6.5 shutdown per plant per year (SPY) from 8. two units. instrumentation. electrical.2 DDPY for fuel oil based plants during 200205 period.6 DDPY compared 29.7.2 DDPY during 1999-02 period to 14. 24. Mechanical (equipment related) problems are the next important reason accounting for 39.5%) was due to problems of non-availability of inputs. the net result is that average duration of turnaround during 2002-05 period is lower than 1999-02 but higher than 1996-99. which are classified under miscellaneous reasons. These problems are usually beyond the control of plant management. These problems are technical in nature and can be minimized with timely and appropriate action on the part of management. that is. This was reflected in increase in average duration of turnaround in 1999-02 period.O.4 DDPY for naphtha. closed down.2006 Page 4 of 12 . New Delhi Downtime in Ammonia and Urea Plants units for sale under Essential Commodity Act (ECA) in the 2001-02. the downtime due to mechanical failure was analyzed further. 3.2 SPY during 1999-02 and 12. Maximum forced downtime (41. most of the other units have shown continuous improvement in reducing the duration of turnaround. Gas based plants showed the average duration of 13. The cap on production continued till the year 2003-04.
2 DDPY in 1999-2002 and came down to 21. New Delhi Downtime in Ammonia and Urea Plants 3.7%) and purification (12. Production of urea being dependent on availability of ammonia and carbon dioxide from ammonia plant.2006 Page 5 of 12 . RCF-Trombay V.9%) followed by air separation unit (20. The 24. Reforming plants accumulated a total downtime of 433 days.. IFFCO-Kalol. The explanation given for similar trend in case of ammonia plants is equally applicable here. Amongst other equipments. Other sections like secondary reformer and purification were also responsible for significant downtime.0 Downtime in Urea Plants Downtime data of 28 urea plants was analyzed for the period of 2002-05. RCF-Trombay V and IFFCO-Phulpur II faced problems in syngas compressor.0%).O.5 Downtime due to Mechanical Failures Section wise downtime data due to mechanical failures for 25 plants based on reforming process and 4 plants based on gasification process are shown in Table 3 & Table 4 respectively.FAI-H. KSFL-Shahjahanpur and FACT-Alwaye had problems in the air compressor. synthesis gas compressor and air compressor were the major contributors to the downtime.4 DDPY for the present survey period of 2002-05. In gasification plants.7. Primary reformer. BVFCLNamrup III reported a downtime of 10 days in refrigeration compressor during the period. It also reported a downtime of 8 days due to problems in exchangers of air separation unit. high downtime was contributed by synthesis compressor (38. At GNFC syngas compressor caused a downtime of 17 days during the 3-year period under review. IFFCO-Phulpur I and II encountered the problem in primary reformer. 4. The downtime for planned turnaround shows that duration of turnaround increased from 17. auxiliary boiler. piping and valves contributed a significant downtime of more than 25 days. the trend in downtime for urea plants are generally similar to ammonia plants.7 DDPY in 1996-99 to 25. BVFCL-Namrup III.
but still remains high at 11.0 DDPY compared to 38. exchangers. Similarly. New Delhi Downtime in Ammonia and Urea Plants number of shutdown per plant per year (SPY) have come down over the years. registering a figure of 5. 5. However. In fact. NFCL- Kakinada I. water scarcity and all other reasons which affected production of ammonia. 4 urea units accounted for more than half of the total downtime in all urea plants.0 On-stream Efficiency The on-stream days of a plant can be calculated by subtracting the period of shutdown whether forced or planned. For ammonia plants. utilities.2006 Page 6 of 12 . there is a scope for further improvement in this area..O. the largest share in downtime of urea plants was accounted for by miscellaneous reasons. piping and valves remained the major items contributing to closure of plants.7. shortage of feedstock. RCF-Thal and GNFC-Bharuch reported long downtime due to problems in heat exchangers. ZIL-Goa and KRIBHCO-Hazira. Stripper. RCF-Thal. average on-stream days of 330 days for the survey period are higher than 311 days for the previous survey period of 1999-02. Reactor problems accounted for significant downtime at NFCL-Kakinada I. BVFCL-Namrup III accounted for downtime of 127 days of the total downtime of 477 days in all the urea plants during the period.8 DDPY in 1996-99 (Table 5).FAI-H. However. The reasons included cap on production of urea due to limited allocation under ECA. The average downtime (total) in urea plants has come down to 31. reactor. It is heartening to note that downtime due to mechanical failures has maintained downward trend for the last several years. as in the case of ammonia plants. CFCL-Gadepan II.9 DDPY (Table 5) during the latest 3 years period. average on-stream days of urea plant at 310 days are higher than 301 days for the period of previous survey.3 DDPY during 1999-02 and 39. The details of downtime of major equipment items in urea plants are given in Table 6. IFFCO-Phulpur I faced the problem in stripper. The following three efficiency 24.4.
the business relating downtime is the forced downtime due to external factors such as shortage of feedstock. These efficiency factors are summarized in Table 7. The figure 1 shows the operating factor of ammonia plants divided into 4 qualities.total downtime in days X 100 365 Plant Availability or service factor signifies the actual availability of the plant operation in absence of downtime due to reasons other than internal to the = = 365 – total downtime in days X 100 365 – business related downtime c) Plant Reliability factor is an indicator of the reliable operation of a plant Reliability Factor = 365 . operating factor. power and water problems. etc. Plant Operability factor indicates the actual operation of the plant during the Operating Factor b) for plant.total downtime in days X 100 365 – business related downtime & duration of planned turnaround in days Here.FAI-H. labour problems. The table shows that the operation of ammonia plant took place 90% of the time while the plants were available for service 92% with 97% reliability during 2002-05 period. Service Factor 365 . New Delhi Downtime in Ammonia and Urea Plants factors namely.7. 24.2006 Page 7 of 12 ..9 % by way of reduction in duration of turnaround and forced downtime due to equipment problems. service factor and reliability factor were calculated to evaluate the performance of the plants. a) year. It is obvious there is need to improve the operating factor of the quartile with operating factor of 83.O. The objective of calculating the above factors is to show the reliability of plants from technical point of view.
24. New Delhi Downtime in Ammonia and Urea Plants 6..O. High speed rotating machines like syngas compressor and air compressor.2006 Page 8 of 12 .0 Conclusion Performance of ammonia and urea plants has improved significantly during 2002-05 period which is reflected in achievement of average on-stream days of 330 for all ammonia plants.7. These units have to strive hard to improve reliability of critical equipment in order to achieve high on-stream efficiency. and heat exchangers/waste heat boilers need attention to further improve their operational reliability. A few fertiliser units continue to have significant downtime due to other static equipments like urea reactor and reformer.FAI-H.
2006 Page 9 of 12 .3 22.Miscellaneous Major Equipments Total Downtime (Days) 3.0 1.7 1.4 0. Synloop & Refrigeration 7.0 24. Other Compressors & Turbines 9. Mechanical Electrical Instrumentation Process Miscellaneous Total Table 3: Downtime Due to Mechanical Failures in Ammonia Plants for 2002-2005 (Based on Reforming Process) Major Sections (25 plants) 1.0 63 1094 4075 % 35.3 28.4 0.8 2.8 35. 2. Power Problems 3.0 Urea (‘000 MT) 1450 145 1322 0.6 6.5 0.0 Table 2: Downtime in Ammonia Plants for Various Survey Periods (All the Plants) (DDPY = Downtime in Days/Plant/Year) Reasons 1996-99 (DDPY) 14.7 3.1 1.. Miscellaneous Total Loss NH3 (‘000 MT) 1011 61 602 0.9 30. Pre-reformer 3. Purification 6.2 10.8 47 950 2672 % 37.6 32. Water Problems 6. Syngas Compressor 8. 5.8 100.4 48.8 Downtime % 0.7 16.3 21.0 71. Pre-treatment Section 2.FAI-H. Secondary reformer 5.0 15. 4. Labour Problems 5.0 87.2 68. Primary reformer 4.6 3.8 72.6 1.1 14.0 1.8 1.O. Equipment Breakdown 2.2 2002-05 (DDPY) 5.7.6 10. 3.5 100.9 11.9 0.4 45.7 0.8 1.7 20.03 1.3 1999-2002 (DDPY) 14.5 26. Shortage of Raw Materials 4.1 16.7 432.6 100.5 4.7 0.7 11.9 15. New Delhi Downtime in Ammonia and Urea Plants Table 1: Major Reasons for Loss of Production in Ammonia and Urea Plants for 2002-05 Reasons 1.
8 1999-2002 (DDPY) 6.6 0.2 38. 4.2 2002-05 (DDPY) 5.3 100. 5.9 0.4 38.3 1.5 0.4 12.4 23.4 27.9 23.FAI-H.2006 Page 10 of 12 . 2. 3.7 31. Other Compressors & Turbines 7.5 0.0 2.5 0.0 Table 5: Downtime in Urea Plants for Various Survey Periods (all the plants) (DDPY = Downtime in Days/Plant/year) Reasons 1. Gasifier 2. Purification 4. Air Separation Unit 3.8 39.0 3.0 12..0 7.5 30.O. Syngas Compressor 6.7. Synloop & Refrigeration 5.0 12. New Delhi Downtime in Ammonia and Urea Plants Table 4 : Downtime Due to Mechanical Failures in Ammonia Plants for 2002-05 (Based on Gasification Process) Major Sections (4 Plants) 1.0 Downtime % 1.0 23.0 0.0 2.5 0.0 24. Miscellaneous Major Equipments Total Downtime (Days) 1.0 59. Mechanical Electrical Instrumentation Process Miscellaneous Total 1996-99 (DDPY) 10.4 20.7 20.5 0.
02 0.00 0.50 0.01 1.13 0.89 Table 7 : Operating Service & Reliability Factors for Ammonia and Urea Plants 2002-05 Operating Factor % 90.02 0.77 1.06 0.21 0.55 6.06 0.82 0. Steam Ejector/Vacuum Generator 15. Autoclave/Reactor 7.03 0.60 0.03 0.45 0.17 2002-05 0.50 1999-2002 0.2006 Page 11 of 12 .00 0.05 0. Conveyer/Elevator 18.7. Prill Tower 19. Heat Exchangers 9. Centrifuge 14.13 0.10 0.02 0.25 0.44 0.34 0.12 0.7 Reliability Factor % 97. New Delhi Downtime in Ammonia and Urea Plants Table 6: Details of Downtime due to Mechanical Failure in Urea Plants (DDPY = Downtime Days/Plant/Year) Equipment Items 1.10 1.1 97.19 0. Ammonia pre-heater 2. Blower/Fan 17.08 0. Absorber/Recovery Vessels 12.05 0.02 0.39 0. Piping/Valves 20. Ammonia Plants 3.03 0.O. Let Down Valve 8.00 0.02 0.83 0.51 1.48 5..31 0. NH3/CO2 Recovery Column 11. CO2 Compressor 6.50 1.43 1.56 0.08 0.28 0.3 85.06 0.58 0. Slurry & Other Pumps 5. Decomposer/Stripper 10.9 91.04 0.62 10.39 0. Carbamate Pump 4. Dryer/Cooler 16.07 0.02 0.17 0.08 0.FAI-H.41 1. Evaporator/Crystalliser 13.9 Ammonia Urea 24.73 1.07 0.0 Service Factor % 91. Miscellaneous Total 1996-99 0.64 0.00 0.06 0.05 0.03 0.
5 94 92.9 Q4 overall Figure 1: Quartiles for Operating Factors of Ammonia Plants during 2002-05 24.FAI-H.O.2006 Page 12 of 12 .6 90 88 % 90.. New Delhi Downtime in Ammonia and Urea Plants 96 94.7.7 92 90.3 86 84 82 80 78 Q1 Q2 Q3 Quartiles 83.
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