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There are thousands uses of compressor in the industry including to boost up the
pressure of process gas or air, blowing air into burners of furnace and also for cooling
liquefied natural gas.
You are required to explain the application of compressors in petroleum refining,
petrochemical and natural gas plant. You have to include the two (2) examples of
plant and use of the compressor for the particular plants.






Hydrodesulphurization Reforming

Figure 1: Hydrodesulphurization Reforming


Hydrodesulphurization (HDS) is a process of treating other heavier distillate fractions

such as gas oil or lubricating oil stock. Hydrogen is used to reduce the concentration of a

sulfur contaminant contained in the petroleum hydrocarbons.

Based on figure 1, HDS reactor is where the hydrodesulphurization takes place.
The elimination of sulfur in the form of hydrogen sulfide.
The unreacted hydrogen (hydrogen-rich gas) and liquid product (hydrogen sulfide) are

separated in the reactor separator.

A centrifugal compressor is used to increase the pressure of hydrogen recycle gas
stream (28) to be contacted with naphtha stream.


Production of a Synthesis Gas

Figure 2: Production of synthesis gas

The figure 2 shows the PFD of hydrocarbon reforming for the production of synthesis

gas from ammonia.

There are three compressors; refrigerant compressor 345 and 2-stages syngas

compressors (310 & 312)

The refrigerant compressor 354 has three inputs; two inputs from refrigerant ammonia

326 and 328 through line 350 and 352; and another input from ammonia refrigerant 355.
The function of this compressor is to draw the ammonia gas from the chiller (heat
exchanger) and be discharged to refrigerant condenser before fed to the refrigerant

drum 334 in the form of liquid.

The 2-stages syngas compressor is used to draw the syngas product from the cryogenic
purification section (which is not in the figure) and discharge to a start-up heater 319. In
between of 2-stage compressor is an intercooler. The used of 2-stage compressor is to

provide higher discharge pressure compared to one-stage compressor.

The high level compressor 312 also takes the unreacted vapor from the separator 330
through line 316 then recycle to converter 318.



Gas Pipelines

Figure 3: Natural gas pipeline station

Natural gas today is transported in a very large quantities over thousands of kilometers

in a large gas pipelines.

The figure above shows the gas pipeline compressor station.
In this compressor station, it only consists of one compressor. Some compressor

stations may have multiple compressor units depending on the needs of the pipeline.
A compressor (102) is powered by the turbine (100) to turn the centrifugal compressor
and is powered by the natural gas from the pipeline itself.


Cooling and Liquefy nitrogen using LNG

Figure 4: Cooling and liquefy nitrogen using LNG

In this processing plant, liquefied natural gas is used to act as refrigerant to cool the high

pressured nitrogen stream into liquefy nitrogen.

From the figure above, there are three units of compressors were used.
Lets start from the coming air stream, where the air is compressed in the 2-stage
compressor unit. The second stage compressor discharge higher pressure than the first
stage and fed into the reactor (132). The pressure must be sufficient to transport

(provide gas flow) the air into the heat exchanger.

Another compressor (140) also being used to compress the stream from heat exchanger
and transfer to another heat exchanger.




Methanol Production

Figure 5: Production of methanol

The process in methanol production involves of synthesis gas which contains carbon
monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen with copper as the catalyst at pressures below
150 atmospheres.

The process flow diagram shows that a compressor (circulating) 12 is used to pump
make up gas containing CO2, CO, H2 and CH4 at stream 10 together with recycle gas

from the scrubber to a heat exchanger 14.

The discharged temperature of compressor is about 35 oC and it is being used in heat

interchange with exothermic reaction to cool down the methanol mixture.

The gas mixture from the scrubber must be recycle to increase the production. Thus, the
compressor must do its job to move the gas mixture back into the process. Without
compressor, the gas cannot be transfer at desired pressure to the heat exchanger and

catalyst bed converter.

Compressor will promotes methanol synthesis reaction.
The plant does not mention the type and the orientation of the compressor. I will assume
that they are using vertically split (barrel-shape) centrifugal compressor because this
type of compressor is suitable for hydrogen and other light gases (methane in this case).


Production of ammonia from air and water

Figure 6: Production of ammonia from air and water

The production scheme is very interesting because they using three piston-cylinder gas

compressor (reciprocating type).

The first (from the top) compressor compressing nitrogen gas at a pressure about of

from 60 to 70 psi
The second (bottom) piston-cylinder gas compressor pressurize hydrogen gas at 30 to

40 psi.
While the third (center) compressor doing a huge compression with a pressure about
2,800 psi and operate at temperature of 450 to 500oC. At this temperature, ammonia is
produced in the presence of catalyst. The catalyst may be selected from iron, titanium,

stelite, platinum and carbon steel. Also to mention that this compressor has three inlets.
The gas load into the compressor is in batch (intermitten).