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urea technology
Providing integral innovative technologies
for reliable, cost-efficient urea plants

1 About us 4

2 Urea licensing 5

3 A winning product from a winning player 7

4 Innovation 9

5 Safurex® stainless steel: resistant to corrosion 10

6 Stamicarbon’s urea processes 11

6.1 Synthesis 1: Avancore® urea process 14

6.2 Synthesis 2: Urea 2000plus™ Pool Condenser Concept 16

6.3 Synthesis 3: Urea 2000plus™ Pool Reactor Concept 18

6.4 Low-pressure recirculation section 19

6.5 Evaporation section 20

6.6 Waste-water treatment section 21

6.7 Finishing technology 1: Fluid-bed granulation 22

6.8 Finishing technology 2: Prilling 24

6.9 Finishing technology 3: Pastillation 25

6.10 Urea in solution for NOx reduction 27

7 UAN Process 28

8 Mega Plant Concept 30

9 Full life cycle support 32

9.1 Plant operation 33

9.2 Plant maintenance 33

9.3 Plant improvement and debottlenecking services 35

9.4 Equipment supply 36

9.5 Process control & optimization solutions 37

9.6 Plant staff training 38

Information sheets 39

1 About us

Stamicarbon, the licensing and IP center of Maire engineering, procurement and construction (EPC)
Tecnimont, is the global market leader in the development contractors, suppliers of specific products and critical
and licensing of urea technology and the supply of services equipment and technology suppliers. Together, this network
to its customers. offers the expertise that enables us to create the best
solution for your business. An overview of our contractors
Stamicarbon’s solutions are the accumulation of generations and suppliers can be found on the attached sheet in the back
of high-quality research and in-depth knowledge of our cover.

Urea licensing
customers’ processes, requirements and operating practices.
Around the world, over 250 urea plants have used or are What we do 2
currently using our technology. Our innovation is continuous:
working in close cooperation with research institutes, Our Full Life Cycle Services include:
suppliers to the urea business, and our licensees, we are • Licensing and process design of grass root urea plants
constantly developing new technologies and upgrading our • Revamping existing urea plants
existing technologies. Stamicarbon’s head office is in Sittard, • Plant commissioning support Our market-leading urea licensing expertise • Data sheets for safety valves
The Netherlands. Our representative offices are in Beijing, • Equipment procurement services includes the following elements: • Logic diagrams and functional control diagrams
China and Moscow, Russia. The offices addresses can be • Equipment supply • General design and material specifications
found on the attached sheet in the back cover. • Engineering services Providing technology licenses for new • Operating manual
• Trouble-shooting, both mechanical and operational urea plants • Process Performance Guarantees.
Our expertise • Equipment and plant inspections Our comprehensive process design package enables an
Wherever our customers are based in the world, they can all • Plant Staff Training Traditionally, many urea plants are built under LSTK (Lump experienced engineering contractor (who is ultimately
draw on Stamicarbon’s more than 60 years of experience in • Process control & optimization solutions Sum Turn Key) conditions. In these cases, Stamicarbon appointed by the customer) to:
the urea industry. We also work with a number of reputable • Feasibility studies provides its urea license, process design and related - Carry out the basic & detailed engineering (E)
services through licensed contractors, who have been - Procure equipment and materials (P)
carefully selected to ensure that they have the capability and - Construct the plant (C).
experience to implement large-scale ammonia/urea
projects. Their names can be found in the supplement at the Thanks to the expertise and capabilities of our licensed
back of this brochure. Nowadays alternative contract models contractors, customers’ projects will be executed both
become increasingly relevant in mitigating project costs and professionally and competitively.
risks. As a result, Stamicarbon has diversified its urea
licensing options, tailoring our services to the needs of Project execution services
specific projects. Stamicarbon can provide the following services at any point
during project implementation - either directly to the
Process design package customer or indirectly through a contractor:
Contractors or customers who obtain a license to apply the • (Critical) equipment supply
Stamicarbon urea process are supplied with a • Equipment inspection services
comprehensive process design package. • Basic Engineering Design Package (BEDP)
• Front-end Engineering Design (FEED)
This generally includes: • Contractor guidance and control
• Process description • HAZOP assistance
• Material balance, steam balance and cooling water • Plant Operators Training, using state-of-the-art Operator
balance for different operating modes - all with Training Simulator (OTS)
accompanying process flow diagrams • (Pre-)Commissioning and Start-up support
• Piping and instrumentation diagrams (PID’s) • Plant simulation and optimization
• Equipment data sheets • (Pre-)Commissioning and Start-up support
• Instrument index, setting list and data sheets

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3 A winning product from a winning player

Technology exchange Replacement of high-pressure urea equipment

In some cases, customers may require information When the high-pressure equipment comes to the end of its
additional to that supplied in the process design package. life, there is a real opportunity to improve the efficiency and
To meet this need, we provide customers with any additional capacity of a plant. Stamicarbon can provide solutions that
information or expertise they require, through training, not only improve your high-pressure equipment, but also
know-how exchanges and symposia, or other methods require only minimum changes and minimum downtime in
agreed with our customers. In cases where our customers your plant.
need something completely new, we will work jointly with
them to develop the required adjustment. Experience us for yourself
Stamicarbon is the global market leader in the development
Revamping existing urea plants and licensing of urea products and technology. We invite
In a dynamic business environment, customers’ needs will potential licensees to visit one of our plants so they can see
shift due to changing market conditions and governmental for themselves how we boost operational flexibility, reduce
regulations. Stamicarbon has developed several safe, cost- maintenance requirements and increase on-stream times.
effective and environmentally friendly revamp schemes to After the visit, we will work closely with you to assess your
enable urea producers to cope with these changes. needs and develop a customized proposal for your urea plant.
Depending on customer requirements, Stamicarbon can
develop a tailor-made solution based on proven technology
and the best engineering practices. We offer detailed plant-
performance studies to our customers to determine revamp
needs, plus a variety of revamp technologies, including
capacity expansion technologies, and services to ensure that
those needs are met.

With a market share of over 50%, Stamicarbon is the experienced engineers, contractors and material and
world’s leading player in the field of urea licensing. equipment suppliers. In creating a new plant design, the
This position is the result of our: task force used the Urea 2000plus™ technology, Safurex®
material, Avancore® technology, fluid-bed granulation
Extensive experience technology, as well as their extensive experience, gained
Stamicarbon has over 60 years’ experience in licensing its from completing many successful plant revamps. As a result
urea technology. In fact, we have licensed over 250 new urea of such work, plant investment costs were cut massively in
plants and have completed over 90 revamp projects in all the past and will continue to be cut in the future.
kind of urea plants. A complete list of references is available
in our Reference List brochure. Our competitive advantages include:
• Low plant height
Leading innovations • Low investment, operating and maintenance costs:
Stamicarbon has been at the forefront of urea research and minimum cost of ownership
innovation for over half a century. As a result, we have been • Competitive energy consumption figures*
able to revolutionize the urea production process several • Stochiometric raw-material consumption figures*
times. • Low emissions and effluents*

Low costs The typical consumption figures can be found in the

Our latest urea plants were designed by our task force of supplement at the back of this brochure.

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4 Innovation

At Stamicarbon, we recognize the power of innovation.

That’s why the professionals in our Technology Department
are always on the look-out for innovative ways to renew,
improve and add to the portfolio of products that we offer
our customers. We spend about 10% of our turnover on
developing breakthrough innovations. Working together with
R&D groups, universities, customers and suppliers, our
Technology Department creates technologies that optimize
the urea production process. This has resulted in a number
of developments that have improved the urea production

These developments include:

• Passivation of urea synthesis by air
• CO2 stripping process
State-of-the-art urea production technologies Flexibility • Application of 25-22-2 steel
Stamicarbon technologies offer customers a variety of ben- • Single-train capacity allowing for up to 6000 mtpd • N/C measurement system
efits, including: • Various synthesis choices: Avancore® or Urea 2000plus™ • Non-destructive testing techniques
Process both featuring a pool condenser or a pool reactor • Online Leak Detection System
Excellent performance • Multiple finishing choices: Fluid-bed Granulation, Prilling • Waste-water treatment section
• Unparalleled synthesis efficiency with high conversion of and Pastillation • UAN Process
ammonia and carbon dioxide • Urea Ammonium Nitrate (UAN) and Ad-Blue/SCR/ • Urea 2000plus™ Pool Condenser Concept
• Low temperatures and pressures in the urea production automotive grade urea solution technologies available as • Safurex® duplex stainless steel material (together with
process an integrated, cost-efficient design Sandvik Material Technology)
• Easiest operations • Urea granulation technology (fluidized bed type)
• High on-stream time and utilization rate Sustainable technology • Siphon jet pumps
• Meeting all product quality standards For Stamicarbon, sustainability is a precondition of • Urea 2000plus™ Pool Reactor Concept
• Long turnaround intervals (3-4 years) innovation, while Safety, Health, and Environment (SHE) • Integrally geared CO2 compressors
• Compliant with the most stringent environmental awareness is a key condition for sustainable licensing. This • Mega Plant Concept (e.g. 6000 mtpd)
requirements focus ensures our technology is efficient, environmentally • Pastillation technology processing urea or UAS (together
friendly, reliable and above all, safe. with Sandvik Process Systems)
Simplicity and reliability • Zero-emission technologies (featuring acid wash and/or
• Minimum number of high-pressure equipment items and Collaboration flare systems)
piping In order to create and improve innovative urea plants, • RADAR level measurement in the high pressure reactor
• The only urea process that requires only one single Stamicarbon collaborates with a number of suppliers of and high pressure stripper (together with Vega)
recirculation stage critical equipment to ensure product quality. Stamicarbon is • Avancore® urea process
• Superior corrosion resistance of duplex stainless steels also collaborating with all leading ammonia technology
used in plants suppliers. Further we co-develop new technologies with
• Stable and easy to operate process strategic partners. The names of these companies can be
• Unbeaten lifetime of critical equipment found in the supplement at the back of this brochure.

Global reach
With the experience of licensing in more than 80 countries,
we have the tools to meet your requirements - wherever in
the world you need us.

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5 Safurex® duplex stainless steel: 6 Stamicarbon’s urea processes
resistant to corrosion
Stamicarbon has a long and distinguished track record in Safurex® At Stamicarbon, we are committed to the continuous overall design, piping and construction. The Urea 2000plus™
developing superior, cutting-edge urea plant materials. Despite the success of the 25-22-2 material, Stamicarbon innovation and development of our technologies so we can synthesis section incorporates either a high-pressure pool
continued the search for ways of developing even better provide our customers with the best urea production reactor, or a high-pressure pool condenser combined with a
X2CrNiMoN 25-22-2 materials. The ultimate breakthrough came in 1996 with the technology available. vertical reactor.
With the introduction of the high-pressure stripper in the creation of a special duplex steel grade called Safurex®,
Stamicarbon urea process, a new stainless steel was developed together with Sandvik Materials Technology. This One acknowledged breakthrough was our Urea 2000plus™ The following chart shows the development of the
needed. Together with Sandvik, a Swedish stainless-steel innovative material is highly resistant to corrosion. It has technology - a major improvement on our well-known CO2 Stamicarbon urea process over the last decades and the
supplier, we developed the X2CrNiMoN 25-22-2 material in already been demonstrated that Safurex® allows for stripping process. Urea 2000plus™ is an innovative process consequences for the plant height.
the mid seventies. This in urea plants widely used austenitic drastically reduced oxygen intake (upto now 0.1% in CO2 that reduces the plant height considerably and simplifies its
stainless steel, has superb corrosion resistant properties in supply).
carbamate solutions; however still needs oxygen for
passivation. Safurex® offers numerous significant benefits, including:
• Lower emissions
• Lower corrosion rates, leading to longer lifetimes
• No risk for active corrosion
• No stress corrosion cracking
• No risk for condensation corrosion
• No risk for crevice corrosion
• Better mechanical properties, allowing for smaller wall
thickness and piping
• Improved fatigue properties
• Improved weld ability

What’s more, Safurex® requires a lower investment than

traditional materials and offers you a nearly maintenance-
free urea plant with a significant longer lifetime than any
other commercially available urea process.

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Our latest development is the Avancore® urea process, which This obviously has brought down investment costs
further enhances our proven Urea 2000plus™ technology. In considerably. However the Avancore® process is also
the plant height chart the Avancore® technology is shown in available with only a pool reactor for urea plants up-to
a configuration for large capacities plants with a pool medium capacities. Customers can now choose among
reactor and vertical high-pressure reactor.It reduces the basic synthesis concepts that use either Avancore® or the
required plant height to just 25m. Urea 2000plus™ technology.

The Avancore Urea process

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The Avancore® urea process works as follows: Gases leaving the vertical reactor are combined with the
Ammonia and carbon dioxide are introduced to the high- gases leaving the pool reactor and are fed into the scrubber
Features Avancore® pressure synthesis using a high-pressure ammonia pump operating at a reduced pressure. Here, the gases are
• No high-pressure scrubber and a carbon-dioxide compressor. The ammonia, as well as washed with the carbamate solution from the low-pressure
• Pool condensation the carbamate solution from the downstream recirculation recirculation stage. The enriched carbamate solution is then
• All gravity flow section, enters the pool reactor. The major part of the carbon fed into the pool reactor. This enriched carbamate flow
• Low elevation dioxide enters the synthesis through the high-pressure contains no more water than in earlier generations of
• Best corrosion resistance stripper counter-current to the urea/carbamate solution Stamicarbon CO2 -stripping plants, meaning that the
• Minimum ammonia emissions leaving the reactor. On the shell side, the high-pressure conversions in the synthesis section are as high as ever.
stripper is heated with steam. The off-gas of the high- Inert gases leaving the scrubber at reduced pressure
• Low maintenance synthesis
pressure stripper, containing the carbon dioxide, together containing some ammonia and carbon dioxide are then
• Lower investment
with the ammonia and carbon dioxide resulting from released into the atmosphere after treatment in a low
dissociated carbamate, is fed into the pool reactor. The minor pressure absorber.
part of the carbon dioxide entering the synthesis as a feed Optional is a flash at a reduced pressure of the liquid leaving
enters the vertical reactor at the bottom in order to produce the high-pressure stripper, after which the resulting vapor is
sufficient heat for the endothermic urea reaction. In the pool mixed with the vapor leaving the urea synthesis and the
reactor, ammonia and carbon dioxide are condensed to form carbamate solution coming from the downstream low-
6.1 Synthesis 1: Avancore® Urea Process carbamate and a substantial part of the conversion to urea is pressure recirculation section. Additional carbamate
already established here. The heat released by condensation condensation in this mixture is done at the shell side of the
and subsequent formation of carbamate is used to produce first stage evaporator. This option allows for a decreased
The Avancore® urea process is a new urea synthesis concept Revamp experiences re-usable low-pressure steam. Downstream from the pool high-pressure steam consumption in the high-pressure
that incorporates all the benefits of Stamicarbon’s earlier Experiences gained in revamp projects have also led to the reactor, the urea-carbamate liquid enters the vertical reactor stripper, while low-pressure steam consumption is
proven innovations. The Avancore® urea process combines incorporation of the following innovations into the Avancore® located at ground level. Here, the final part of the urea decreased due to the carbamate condensation supplying
the advantages of Urea 2000plus™ technology, Safurex® and urea process: conversion takes place. The urea solution then leaves the top heat to the first stage evaporator.
experiences gained from revamp projects. of the reactor, all by gravity flow (via an overflow funnel)
Low elevation lay-out of the synthesis section before being introduced into the high-pressure stripper.
Urea 2000plus ™
While the urea synthesis loop still relies on gravity flow, thus
The Urea 2000plus™ technology already provided the offering maximum reliability, the equipment elevation has
technological advantage of improving heat transfer in the been reduced, allowing for lower investment.
condensing part of the urea synthesis, achieved by the
application of pool condensation, and increasing the available Reduced-pressure inert washing system
temperature difference over the condenser by combining The vapor leaving the urea synthesis section is treated in a
carbamate condensation and urea reaction in one vessel. scrubber operating at a reduced pressure, with the
carbamate solution coming from the downstream low-
Safurex® pressure recirculation section as absorbent. As a result, no
Safurex® material has demonstrated best corrosion additional water needs to be recycled to the synthesis
resistance (no active corrosion, no stress corrosion cracking, section, meaning that the urea reaction is therefore not
no condensation corrosion and no crevice corrosion). The affected.
ammonia emissions are also kept to an absolute minimum.

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6.2 Synthesis 2: Urea 2000plus™ Pool Condenser Concept

The Urea 2000plus™ Pool Condenser process On the shell side, the high-pressure stripper is heated with
works as follows: steam. The off-gas of the high-pressure stripper, containing
Ammonia and carbon dioxide are introduced to the high- the carbon dioxide, together with the dissociated carbamate,
pressure synthesis using a high-pressure ammonia pump is then fed into the pool condenser. In the pool condenser,
and a carbon dioxide compressor. The ammonia then drives ammonia and carbon dioxide are condensed to form
an ejector, which conveys a carbamate solution into the pool carbamate, and a substantial part of the conversion to urea
condenser. In the high-pressure stripper, the carbon dioxide, is already established here. The heat released by
entering the synthesis as a feed, flows counter-current to condensation and subsequent formation of carbamate is
the urea solution leaving the reactor. used to produce re-usable low-pressure steam.

After the pool condenser, the remaining gases and a urea-

carbamate liquid enter the vertical reactor. Here, the final
part of the urea conversion takes place. The urea solution
then leaves the top of the reactor (via an overflow funnel)
before being introduced into the high-pressure stripper.
Ammonia and carbon dioxide conversions in the synthesis
section of a Stamicarbon carbon dioxide stripping plant are
high, reducing the need for a medium pressure stage to
recycle any unconverted ammonia and carbon dioxide. As a
result, the Stamicarbon CO2 stripping process is the only
commercial available process that does not require a
medium-pressure recirculation stage downstream from the
high-pressure stripper. Gases leaving the reactor are fed
into the high-pressure scrubber. Here, the gases are washed
with the carbamate solution from the low-pressure
recirculation stage. The enriched carbamate solution is then
fed into the high-pressure ejector and, subsequently, to the
pool condenser. Inert gases, containing some ammonia and
carbon dioxide, are then released into the 4-bar absorber.

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6.3 Synthesis 3: Urea 2000plus™ Pool Reactor Concept 6.4 Low-pressure recirculation section

The Urea 2000plus™ Pool Reactor process works scrubbing operation can also be simplified in the Pool This stage recovers the ammonia and carbon dioxide still
as follows: Reactor concept by placing the scrubber sphere above the present in the urea solution coming from the high-pressure
Unlike the Pool Condenser concept, the Pool Reactor pool reactor and adding the ammonia to the synthesis via stripper. Thanks to the low ammonia and carbon dioxide
concept combines the condenser and reactor within a single this scrubber. This ensures that no separate heat- concentrations in the stripped urea solutions, the
pool reactor. This is achieved by enlarging the horizontal exchanging section in this scrubbing operation is required. Stamicarbon CO2 stripping process is the only process that
condenser so as to incorporate additional reactor volume. In the Pool Reactor concept, carbamate from the low- requires just one single low-pressure recirculation stage.
As a result, it becomes possible to achieve sufficiently high pressure recirculation section flows together with the Coming out of the stripper, the urea solution is fed into the
residence times, eliminating the need for a separate vertical absorbed gases and the ammonia via a sparger into the pool dissociation heater, where most of the ammonia and carbon
reactor, while creating the conditions that will allow the reactor. As the static liquid height ensures gravity flow, no dioxide are removed. The heat required for this heater is
reaction to reach its optimum condition. The high-pressure high-pressure ejector is needed. derived from the condensation of the low-pressure steam
produced in the urea synthesis. The ammonia and carbon
dioxide are then fed into the low-pressure carbamate
condenser, where they are condensed. Because the ratio
between ammonia and carbon dioxide in the recovered Before entering the urea solution tank, part of the water
gases is optimal, the quantity of water needed to dilute the present in the urea solution is evaporated by further pre-
resultant ammonium carbamate solution can be kept to a flashing in two steps (atmospheric and sub-atmospheric).
minimum, maximizing conversion figures for the urea plant. The vent gas from the recirculation stage is practically free
The resultant carbamate solution is fed, via a high-pressure from ammonia because it is scrubbed in an atmospheric
carbamate pump, back to the synthesis as a scrubbing agent absorber.
in the high-pressure scrubber.

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6.5 Evaporation section 6.6 Waste-water treatment section

Before the entire urea production process is complete, the The process condensate coming from the evaporation carbon dioxide by the application of heat (steam) and
urea solution present in the urea solution tank must be section, together with other process effluents such as retention time. The process condensate feed is kept in
concentrated. The urea solution is therefore sent to an sealing water from stuffing boxes, contains ammonia and counter-current contact with the steam in order to obtain
evaporation section. The topology of this evaporation section urea. All of the process condensate is collected in the extremely low urea content in the hydrolyzer effluent. The
depends on the applied finishing section (prilling, ammonia water tank. From this tank, the water is fed to the remaining ammonia and carbon dioxide in the effluent of the
granulation or pastillation). Depending on the requirements top part of the desorber. In the top part of the desorber, the hydrolyzer are stripped off with steam at a reduced pressure
of the finishing section, the evaporation section may, for bulk of ammonia and carbon dioxide are stripped off from in the bottom part of the desorber. The off-gases leaving the
example, consist of two consecutive evaporators, where the the water phase by using the off-gas from the bottom part of top part of the desorber are recycled to the synthesis section
water in the urea solution is evaporated under vacuum the desorber as a stripping agent. The descending effluent after being condensed in the reflux condenser. The purity of
conditions. The remaining urea melt has a urea still contains urea and some ammonia. To remove this urea, the remaining water satisfies requirements for boiler feed
concentration varying from 96 to 99.7wt%, depending on the this effluent is then fed to the hydrolyzer. The hydrolyzer is a water make-up or cooling water make-up - which means
requirements of the downstream finishing section. liquid-filled column. In the hydrolyzer, the urea, at elevated that Stamicarbon urea plants do not produce a waste-water
pressure and temperature, is dissociated into ammonia and stream.

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6.7 Finishing technology 1: Fluid-bed Granulation

Today, the most commonly used finishing technology is Stamicarbon’s fluid-bed granulation technology Principles of Stamicarbon’s fluid-bed granulation The urea melt is then distributed over this seed material. As
fluid-bed granulation, which was commercialized by offers: process: the granules move through the granulation section, their
Stamicarbon in response to changing market needs. In less • Large reductions in formaldehyde content compared to A urea melt stream with a urea concentration of 98.5wt% is size steadily increases by layering until they reach the
than 10 years after its introduction, Stamicarbon’s fluid-bed other fluid-bed granulation technologies introduced into the fluid-bed granulator through the required granule diameter. Fluidization air and secondary air
granulation technology has been licensed over 15 times for • Unprecedented uninterrupted run times, which can injection headers, which are connected to the urea melt line are exhausted from the top of the granulator by means of an
commercial scale plants, including capacities exceeding exceed 100 days before washing of the granulator is and the secondary air system. Each injection header off-gas fan downstream the granulator scrubber. In the
3500 mtpd. The plants using this technology are operating at required comprises vertically placed risers fitted with spray nozzles scrubber, the air is washed with diluted urea solution, and
or above their original design capacity, producing superior • Excellent product quality (spherical, with a smooth that create a liquid film that subsequently is distributed onto the cleaned air is exhausted into the atmosphere. Part of the
products complying with all required product quality surface) the seed particles in the fluidized bed. The secondary air, scrubbing solution is recycled to the scrubber. A purge
standards. Nowadays the Stamicarbon market share • More stable operation conditions in a wide operating required to transport the granules through the urea melt stream is also pumped to the urea-dissolving vessel and
reaches over 30%. window film, is provided by a secondary air fan. Urea formaldehyde recycled to the urea melt plant. The product from the
• Low urea dust formation, resulting in a lower wet recycle is added to the urea melt as a granulation additive and anti- granulator passes a safety screen to separate the lumps.
• Low opacity at outlet granulation vent stack caking agent. It also improves the granule crushing The lumps are conveyed to the dissolving tank. A bucket
• Substantial savings on operational costs when compared strength. The granulator is divided into a granulation section elevator lifts the urea granules onto screens, where they are
to other fluid-bed granulation technologies and a cooling section. In both sections, fluidization air is classified. Fine product is recycled to the granulator. Coarse
• Excellent surface properties for downstream coating (for evenly distributed to fluidize and cool the granules. Seed product is cooled and then crushed to a smaller size and
specialty fertilizers) (recycled) material is introduced into the first chamber of added to the fine recycle flow. On-size product is transported
the granulation section. to the product cooler, where it is cooled in a solid flow heat
Film spraying: exchanger. The solid flow cooler is cooled with cooling water.
The key of the success of the Stamicarbon urea granulation
technology is the film spraying characteristic of the nozzles.
This way of spraying not only requires a minimum amount of
formaldehyde, but also reduces the amount of dust formed
compared to other fluid-bed granulation technologies.

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6.8 Finishing technology 2: Prilling 6.9 Finishing technology 3: Urea pastillation

The prilling process operates as follows:The urea solution is Stamicarbon continuously endeavors to improve the urea The pastillation process offers the following
concentrated to 99.7% urea in two subsequent evaporators process and has introduced the Rotoformer® pastillation advantages:
under vacuum. The resultant urea melt is prilled with the aid process designed by Sandvik Process Systems as a very • Very low dust emissions
of a rotating prilling bucket, designed by Stamicarbon. Using useful alternative or addition to the traditional finishing • Simple solution to realize very low ammonia emissions
an optional technique, called seeding, prills with a better techniques of prilling and granulation. Applications for the • Very low power consumption
impact-resistance are obtained. These prills are very pastillation process are found in the production of special • More uniform product
resistant to degradation during product handling. The urea urea compositions or for small revamp capacities. The • Good crushing strength even without adding
melt droplets fall down in a tower, while crystallizing to pastillation process has been successfully employed in the formaldehyde
become prills. Typical diameter is about 2.0 mm. petrochemical, chemical, food and fertilizer industries since • Flexible production by switching on/off pastillation lines
the early 1980s and there are currently more than 1500 • Lower investment costs
pastillation units in operation worldwide. • Possibility of producing controlled-release urea and
mixed fertilizer

The pastillation principle

The pastillation principle brings together the specially
designed drop-former with the outstanding features of the
steel belt cooler. This technology is ideal for removing
bottlenecks, for upgrading the prill tower or granulation
section, or for the production of specialty urea products
(UAS S-urea, multi nutrients). Premium-quality pastilles can
be produced at low investment costs, low operating costs
and with minimum emissions.

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6.10 Urea in solution used for NOx reduction
The urea pastillation process
Mechanically, a single pastillation unit for urea pastillation water come into contact with the urea product. After Ad Blue or DEF are some of the brand names for a 32.5 % Such a solution used for NOx reduction cannot be made by
consists of a drop-former feeding device at the beginning of solidification, the pastilles are smoothly released from the urea solution used in diesel engines to reduce the NOx simply diluting or dissolving urea as it was thought
a moving steel belt and a scraper at the discharge end. The steel belt via an oscillating scraper. The product then falls emissions of such engines. Due to the increase in originally. It has to be virtually free from everything but urea,
feed to the pastillation unit is urea melt concentrated in two directly onto a conveyor belt for transfer to storage. The environmental consciousness more and more countries which proves to be a challenge as most urea contains a
subsequent evaporators under vacuum. The urea is section above the moving steel belt is enclosed with a hood enforce stringent regulations on NOx emissions for diesel certain concentration of free ammonia, biuret and
introduced in molten form to the droplet former. The droplet and vented to an existing vent system. There is no visible engines, which result in an increasing part of urea being formaldehyde. This is often out of the required specification,
former consists of a rotating drum which shell contains urea dust emission, only some ammonia vapors which can used for this application. and as such, prone to either damage or foul the expensive
rows of small holes. The heat released during crystallization be easily removed from the very small air flow by means of a catalyst, used for NOx reduction.
and cooling is transferred through the stainless-steel belt to normal atmospheric absorber. Several pastillation units can As a licensor of urea technology, Stamicarbon is in an ideal This is however not the only issue. Also the water added for
the cooling water. Under no circumstances can the cooling be installed in parallel in order to achieve higher capacities. position to develop a state-of-the-art solution not only dilution or the water formed while producing urea, contains
taking into account the current regulations but also an unwanted byproduct (corrosion or polymerization
anticipating future developments and requirements. products) which is not acceptable for the market. Not every
plant is directly suited to produce such a urea solution and
Although it seems easy to make such a solution without an as result of this, investments may well be much higher than
in depth knowledge of the application it is used for, crucial originally anticipated.
and costly mistakes are easily made. Stamicarbon designs will supply a reliable and high quality
Realizing this, Stamicarbon has thoroughly investigated all solution for the long term with lifetime support.
the requirements, evaluated the options and designed a cost
effective solution for our customers ensuring, guaranteed,
the highest quality product for now and for the future.

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7 UAN Process

The Stamicarbon partial-recycle CO2-stripping process is Evaporated ammonia and carbon dioxide, together with Ammonia and nitric acid react exothermically to form In the mixing pipe, the following substances can be
eminently suitable for the manufacture of Urea Ammonium fresh ammonia and carbon dioxide, are condensed in the ammonium nitrate according to the following reaction mixed:
Nitrate (UAN) solutions. The ratio of unconverted ammonia pool reactor, the heat from this condensation being used to equation: • Urea solution, still containing some ammonia
to urea is such that the required ratio between urea and produce low-pressure steam. The condensed ammonia and (temperature 110°C)
ammonium nitrate for the production of UAN solutions can carbon dioxide are partly converted into urea and water. In • Ammonium nitrate solution, containing some 0.4% HNO3
be achieved directly. Ammonia still present in the stripped the low-pressure dissociation section, the stripped urea HNO3 + NH3 <-> NH4NO3 (temperature 135°C)
urea solution, together with the ammonia in the reactor’s solution is almost entirely freed from ammonia and carbon Nitric Acid + Ammonia <-> Ammonium Nitrate • Ammonia
off-gases, is converted into ammonium nitrate in a dioxide. The overhead vapors of the reactor, mixed with off- • Nitric acid
neutralization reactor using nitric acid. UAN solution gases from the dissociation section and the ammonia • Acidic condensate from off-gas purification
product is obtained by mixing the urea and ammonium present in the urea solution from the urea solution tank, are The presence of liquid in the circulation tube and of the gas-
nitrate solutions. The Avancore® and Urea 2000plus™ all sent to the neutralization section. The neutralization liquid mixture in the mixing tube causes the fluid to Here again, the heat from the reaction is utilized to increase
process can both be applied for the Stamicarbon UAN section comprises a neutralizer, an (optional) ammonium circulate. The heat from the reaction is used for the the temperature and to evaporate water. The ammonium-
process. nitrate storage tank, a mixing pipe, a UAN storage tank and evaporation of water and to increase the temperature to nitrate-to-urea ratio is controlled at about 4:3. The pH is
off-gas purification equipment. The neutralizer consists of a about 135°C. The pH of the solution is controlled by the controlled at 5-6 pH by means of the nitric acid feed. The
The UAN process works as follows: U-type combination of a circulation tube and a mixing tube addition of nitric acid. The gas and liquid phases are resultant UAN solution is either stored or pumped to battery
In the high-pressure synthesis section, carbon dioxide and with a separator. It operates just above atmospheric separated in the separator, the liquid being sent to the limits. The off-gases from the neutralizer are treated in the
ammonia are converted into urea in very much the same pressure. The ammonia-containing gases from the urea (optional) ammonium nitrate storage tank. off-gas purification section. Nitric acid is supplied to this
way as in the previously described processes. The urea plant are fed into the bottom of the mixing tube; the nitric section to neutralize any ammonia that is contained in the
formation is an equilibrium reaction, so the urea solution acid is introduced somewhat lower in the circulation tube. off-gases from the neutralizers. Part of the liquid effluent
formed contains unconverted ammonia and carbon dioxide. from the purifier flows down to the mixing pipe; the
Stripping with carbon dioxide causes the greater part of remainder can be sent to battery limits and is generally
these components to evaporate from the solution. used in a nearby nitric acid plant.

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8 Mega Plant Concept

Large urea plants require large high-pressure equipment The Mega Plant process works as follows:
that are more costly to manufacture and transport. While About 70% of the urea solution leaving the urea reactor
straightforward scaling up remains certainly feasible for flows to the high-pressure CO2 stripper, while the remainder
6000 mtpd (for which we checked the deliverability of all is fed into a medium-pressure recirculation section. This
equipment), Stamicarbon has developed a lower cost single reduced liquid feed to the stripper in turn reduces not only
line Mega Plant concept that allows for the same capacity. In the size of the stripper needed, but also the heat exchange
the Stamicarbon Mega Plant concept, a proportion of the area of the pool condenser. The degree of stripping
liquid effluent from the reactor is diverted to a medium- efficiency is adjusted to ensure that as much low-pressure
pressure recycling section, thereby reducing the size of the steam is produced by the carbamate reaction in the pool
high-pressure vessels needed. In fact, thanks to the Mega condenser as is needed in the downstream sections of the
Plant concept, the size of the required high-pressure urea plant. About 30% of the urea solution that leaves the
equipment and lines will not exceed the size of equipment reactor is expanded and enters a gas/liquid separator in a
needed for a 4000 mtpd pool condenser type CO2-stripping recirculation stage operating at a reduced pressure. After
urea plant! A Mega Plant can be built with Avancore® or expansion, the urea solution is heated by medium-pressure
Urea 2000plus™ technology. steam. By heating the urea solution, the unconverted

separator, it flows into an adiabatic CO2 stripper, which uses

carbon dioxide to strip the solution. As a result of this
process, the ammonia-to-carbon dioxide molar ratio in the
liquid leaving the medium-pressure recirculation section is
reduced, facilitating the condensation of carbamate gases in
the next step. The vapors leaving the medium-pressure
dissociation separator, together with the gases leaving the
adiabatic CO2 stripper, are condensed on the shell side of
the evaporator. The carbamate formed in the low-pressure
recirculation stage is also added to the shell side of this
evaporator. The heat released by condensation is used to
concentrate the urea solution. Further concentration of the
urea solution is achieved using low-pressure steam
produced in the pool condenser. The remaining
uncondensed ammonia and carbon dioxide leaving the shell
side of the evaporator are sent to a medium-pressure
carbamate condenser. The heat released by condensation in
this condenser is dissipated into a tempered cooling water
system. This process forms medium-pressure carbamate
carbamate is dissociated into ammonia and carbon dioxide. that contains only 20-22wt% water. The carbamate is
Our Mega Plant Concept does not need the ammonia recycle transferred via a high-pressure carbamate pump to the
section or the ammonia hold-up steps that are commonly high-pressure scrubber in the urea synthesis section. The
seen in competitors total recycle urea plants. This is urea solution leaving the adiabatic CO2 stripper and the
because the low ammonia-to-carbon dioxide molar ratio in high-pressure stripper are expanded together in the low-
the separated gases allows for easy condensation as pressure recirculation section.
carbamate only. The operating pressure in this medium-
pressure recirculation stage is about 20 bars. After the urea
solution leaves the medium-pressure dissociation

30 31
9 Full life cycle support

Successful urea plants comply with all applicable rules and Examples of Stamicarbon’s full life cycle support
regulations and produce products efficiently and effectively are:
with maximum on-stream times. However, as plants get • Corrosion inspection of the critical urea equipment
older, it may become increasingly difficult to maintain • Process analyses and plant optimization
efficient production and full compliance. Many urea plants • Debottlenecking ideas and life study
have been designed for a service life not greatly exceeding • Simplification of the urea process steps for ease of
twenty years. However, such plants can remain competitive operation
due to the depreciated initial capital investment. Well • Supply of critical equipment items
maintained and upgraded with state-of-the-art technology, • Schemes for sustained maximum output
these plants succeed in producing at competitive cost prices. • Operator training programs
To ensure that our customers’ urea plants remain
competitive, we offer a range of activities and services
covering the complete life cycle of a plant:
• Plant operation
• Plant maintenance
• Plant improvement and debottlenecking services
• Equipment supply
• Advanced Process Control and optimization solutions
• Plant staff training

9.1 Plant operation 9.2 Plant maintenance

How do you ensure your urea plant not only operates in a Stamicarbon offers a range of services to ensure that your
sustainable manner, but also produces its products at urea plant is well maintained. These include:
maximum capacity and maximum on-stream times? The
solution is to optimize equipment and processes. To help Corrosion inspections
customers ensure their urea plant operates with maximum We offer corrosion inspections to assess the general
efficiency, we have developed a range of plant operation condition of urea plants and to determine the remaining
services to improve plant performance, production and lifetime of tubes, lining and equipment. In addition,
energy consumption. recommendations for inspection intervals are provided.
These services are usually carried out within the framework
of a Plant Performance Assessment. Throughout this Equipment criticality assessment
assessment, we pay special attention to: It is vital that producers know the criticality of their
• Minimizing ammonia consumption equipment (i.e., the probability that it will fail and the
• Minimizing energy consumption probable effects of any such failure). Equipment failure may
• Minimizing effluents not only have economic effects, such as costly plant
• Maximizing plant on-stream time shutdown and repairs, but also serious health, safety and
• Maximizing plant capacity environmental implications.

32 33
Re-lining of high-pressure urea equipment • High pressure piping and its components
Over time, the alloy protection lining in high-pressure urea • RADAR-based level measurements
equipment may become so thin that the equipment needs to • N/C meter (measuring the NH3 /CO2 ratio, which is an
be replaced. But in fact, replacement of the equipment as a important steering parameter in urea synthesis)
whole is often unnecessary! We are experts in replacing the • Leak Detection Systems for high pressure equipment
alloy protection lining in high-pressure urea equipment - • Prilling buckets
extending the lifetime of the equipment by many years. All
our re-lining services follow a carefully planned preparation Next to this Stamicarbon is very experienced with
to ensure minimum down-time and optimum results. providing the following services:
• Customized equipment specifications in consultation with
Replacement of high-pressure equipment the customer
Choosing the right replacement for your high-pressure • Preparation of the Invitation to Bid
equipment can be difficult. That’s why Stamicarbon • (Technical) Evaluation of the bids and manufacturer
cooperates with customers to make customized high selection together with the customer
pressure equipment that not only incorporates the most • Inspections during equipment manufacturing to check 9.3 Plant improvement and debottlenecking services
advanced process and mechanical design features, but that compliance in accordance with the Stamicarbon
is also designed and manufactured in the shortest lead-time specifications (from process and mechanical/corrosion
to ensure minimum down-time and maximum production point of view) Stamicarbon has carried out more than 90 revamp projects Debottlenecking will enable your urea plant to:
yield/output. • Expediting during fabrication at all kinds of urea plants, including both Stamicarbon and • Take full advantage of the plant’s design margins
• Assistance during installation and start up of equipment non-Stamicarbon plants. Thanks to a combination of state- • Boost urea production with the same number of people
The Stamicarbon services can include: Stamicarbon provides you a single point of contact for of-the-art technologies and expert know-how, our revamp and basic infrastructure
In addition to the supply of high pressure equipment, your critical urea equipment with high equipment quality services can dramatically improve plant performance. • Reduce total fixed and operating costs, lowering the price
Stamicarbon can also supply other critical items such as: and shortest lead times, resulting in optimum utilization of the urea produced
of your plant. Rigorous onsite revamp study • Improve the plant’s competitive advantage
The desire to increase the profitability of the plant, or the
replacement of critical equipment, is often the initiation for Debottlenecking concepts
a revamp study. Debottlenecking your urea plant effectively will depend on
At the start of the process, Stamicarbon performs a rigorous the availability of feed, utilities and particular plant
onsite revamp study to determine the present performance limitations. And because the availability of feed stocks and
of the plant and to design the optimum revamp solution. utilities varies from site to site, we have developed several
debottlenecking concepts that enable us to meet your exact
A revamp may lead to: requirements. Depending on your needs, even a combination
• Increasing plant capacity of debottlenecking concepts can be implemented. This table
• Reducing ammonia consumption and emissions details some of the concepts available and the expected
• Optimizing energy consumption capacity increases:
• Increasing product quality
• Increasing plant reliability Concept type Expected capacity increase
More In, More Out 10 - 30 %
Debottlenecking Double Stripper 30 - 40 %
One of the revamp services offered by Stamicarbon is MP add-on 30 – 50 %
debottlenecking. Pool condenser / reactor 50 -100 %
The reference for the given capacity increase is the
nameplate capacity. It should be noted that the actual
achievable plant capacity increase depends on the original
design margins of the large capital equipment.

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9.4 Equipment supply 9.5 Process control and optimization solutions

The design and fabrication of the high pressure synthesis is strategic partnership with Sandvik, the leading stainless Stamicarbon is committed to give Full Life Cycle support to A typical constraint can be the maximum pressure of the
the most critical part of the development and construction of steel manufacturer and co-developer of Safurex®. customers and wants to be best in class also in the field of reactor or a too low cooling water temperature at the
a new urea plant. Replacements of equipment units are even advanced process control. inlet of the low pressure carbamate condenser.
more critical, given their design constraints and the very Stamicarbon, together with its partners provide one point of Sirius@Max® (STAMICARBON IPCOS REAL TIME UREA
time sensitive nature of such projects. responsibility of critical high pressure equipment and piping SOLUTIONS) is the result of the combination of • Increase yield:
systems. We have extensive experience in both delivering Stamicarbon’s leading urea process knowledge and IPCOS’ By increasing the yield in the high pressure reaction
Design and engineering of high pressure equipment and total high pressure synthesis systems and critical state-of-the-art Advanced Process Control (APC) technology section, less carbamate will be recycled which will result
piping systems for urea plants is an expertise in which equipment replacements. called INCA, specifically designed for Stamicarbon Urea in minimization of the energy consumption of some 0.5 %.
Stamicarbon has more experience than any other party. We plants.
offer our clients access to our knowledge and expertise We provide all the necessary services to ensure that our The Sirius@Max® solution is implemented using a phased In addition, reduced emissions, increased uptime, minimal
through our Equipment Supply services. customers get unmatched quality in equipment and support. methodology. The first phase focuses on the optimization of alarms (operators can focus on essential operations), and
The combination of our design and engineering Customers turn to us in particular when faced with time the base layer controls, whilst the second phase focuses on improved equipment reliability can be achieved due to
competences with our in-depth knowledge of the fabrication critical or complex challenges such as the need for on-site the implementation of the APC solution. consistent, best-practice operation.
process, results in a very efficient delivery of high quality assembly of equipment because of transportation limits.
reactors, heat exchangers, piping and valves. Layered approach SIRIUS@MAX® at work
Nowadays a majority of our customers choose Stamicarbon Optimized base layer control provides more stable operation Sirius@Max® contains a Yield Optimization Module, which is
Flawless project execution is guaranteed through our own as the supplier of equipment and piping systems based on throughout the entire urea plant, and helps reduce the based on a detailed rigorous model of your urea plant. This
specialized project management and the close co-operation our proven and reliable track record. impact of disturbances on the plant with minimal operator module computes the optimal yield point online. The optimal
with our carefully selected equipment fabrication partners. intervention. The Sirius@Max® Urea APC solution will yield point changes with the active constraints and process
The availability of high quality Safurex® materials for our optimize the operation of the unit minute to minute, every conditions. This means that it has to be calculated in real
equipment supply projects is warranted through our unique hour of the day, ensuring maximum efficiency and stability. time.
It can be proven that the optimal yield point coincides with
The Sirius@Max® Urea APC solution helps you achieve the point of minimal specific steam consumption.
optimal operation of your urea plant, by pushing it closer Sirius@Max® can therefore guarantee maximal throughput
towards the active constraints like: under the optimal energy conditions. These ideal operating
• Limitation on condensation capacity in synthesis/low- conditions are enforced on the plant via the Advanced
pressure section Process Controller.
• Exceeding ammonia emission limits The APC controller is also responsible for stabilizing the
• Available CO2-compression capacity (max. RPM compressor) plant by reducing the process variations. In addition, the
• Stripper flooding APC system will drive the plant towards the most
economical constraints (e.g. not exceeding pressure in the
The benefits are obvious recirculation section).
• Increase overall plant stability: Revamping the plant up and down in a very efficient and
Due to the typical complexity (high degree of interactions almost hands free way is one of the possibilities of the
and recycles) of a urea plant, the INCA APC controller is Sirius@Max® system. This is very useful before and after
the perfect tool to reach the optimal, stable operating granulator cleaning actions.
point in a straightforward way. Via an Open Process Control (OPC) server these optimal
control signals are communicated with the DCS. With the
• Maximize throughput: use of an OPC interface any common and modern DCS is
Once the desired stability is reached, the INCA APC able to integrate with the Sirius@Max® system.
controller will be used to smoothly maximize the urea
production by increasing e.g. CO2 flow without violating
any of the operating constraints.

36 37
9.6 Plant staff training

To help customers ensure that their urea plant operates

with maximum efficiency, we developed tailor made training
programs on process as well as process control, mechanical
and inspection subjects to improve skills of plant staff (e.g.
Head of Section, chief supervisors, shift engineers,
maintenance and inspection engineers).

A typical training program consists of the following subjects:

• Unit operations involved as well as the philosophy of the
chosen process lay-out
• Fundamental theory behind the process design
• Control strategy
All technical and other information contained herein is based on general Stamicarbon experience and within this limit is accurate to the best of our
• Trip schedules knowledge. However, no liability is accepted therefore and no warranty or guarantee is to be inferred. Copyright Stamicarbon BV. All rights reserved.
• Operations, discussion covering the control of key No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or any means without the permission of Stamicarbon BV. You will acces its contents solely for
your own private use and will comply with all applicable laws and regulatory requirements relating to your use of this information.
parameters in the plant
• Special operating cases, trouble shooting in a urea plant.
• Maintenance Experience
• Failure mechanisms
• Non Destructive Inspection Methods
• Corrosion phenomena in traditional steel materials of
construction and Safurex®.

38 39
Contact us

Stamicarbon is the licensing and IP Center of Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. is the parent company of For more information on what Stamicarbon
Maire Tecnimont. Stamicarbon has offices in an Engineering & Construction International can do for your organization, please contact us at:
Sittard (The Netherlands), Beijing (China) and industrial group which operates in three
Moscow (Russia). For further information: sectors: Oil, Gas & Petrochemicals, Power, Phone.: +31 (0)46 423 7070 Infrastructure & Civil Engineering. The Group, Fax: +31 (0)46 423 7001
quoted on the Milan Bourse, is present in over Email:
30 Countries, controls over 50 operating
companies and can rely on a workforce of about
5,200 employees, of which more than half are Visiting address:
located internationally. Its main offices are in Stamicarbon B.V.
Rome and Milan, Italy. For further information: Mercator 2 6135 KW Sittard
The Netherlands

Mailing address:
Stamicarbon B.V.
PO Box 53
6160 AB Geleen
The Netherlands