Hydrocarbon Processing

March 2002 Special Report: Petrochemical Developments

Improve your Hydrogen Potential
Retrofitting an existing plant can provide a cost-effective way to meet incremental demand for hydrogen S. Ratan TECHNIP-COFLEXIP, Benelux, The Netherlands, C. F. Vales REPSOL-YPF Refinery, La Coruña, Spain

Refiners will consume more hydrogen to produce cleaner and lighter fuels, which are mandated by current and possible future environmental regulations. How will this consistent demand for extra hydrogen be met? There are several potential solutions. It can be outsourced from over-the-fence suppliers. New hydrogen plants can be built onsite, but this option will involve substantial expenses. Another attractive option for refiners, who have an existing hydrogen plant, is retrofitting this unit with advanced processing technologies and catalyst systems that can incrementally raise hydrogen capacity. This option can provide additional hydrogen capacity at a lower cost. Equally important, it requires shorter construction time, since the interface facilities are already in place. This case history describes how a European refiner revamped an existing plant to meet growing hydrogen needs. OPPORTUNITIES WITH EXISTING EQUIPMENT. Typically, older hydrogen plants were constructed with conservative design margins that can be exploited with minimum modifications to increase unit capacity. The potential for incremental hydrogen is governed by the current status of the existing plant and the level of available design margins. Often, there are also few other attributing factors associated with hydrogen plant revamp such as feedstock flexibility, improved efficiency and reliability, plant modernization and adaptation for export steam, etc. In some cases, environmental aspects are also the driving factors. Few of the advanced concepts also inherently offer reduction in the emissions per unit hydrogen. Several proven technological options can effectively de-bottlenecking and raise capacity of an existing unit from 3% to 30%. The presented case history for 25% additional hydrogen involves regenerative reforming that was implemented on Repsol’s hydrogen plant at La Coruña, Spain. Constraints in achieving additional hydrogen. A hydrogen plant can be typically divided into four sections: • • • • Front-end—Feed pre-heating and purification Reforming—Steam (pre-) reforming and steam system Shift conversion Back-end—Process gas heat recovery, cooling and hydrogen purification.

When expanding existing units, some plant sections are inherently more constrained than others based on the criticality of design margins and their utilization potential. The de-bottlenecking analysis is generally conducted to establish either the hydraulic and/or thermal limits of the existing plant equipment. Based on several such case studies, the major constraints are observed in the reforming section. Other critical process conditions that impact revamp conditions are: • • • • • Tube-skin temperature Catalyst pressure drop ID and FD fan capacity Burner heat release Convection coils’ surface

Some other important considerations that are often associated with hydrogen plant expansions are: Minimum sustainable hydrogen product pressure at the plant battery limits Hydrogen (im)purity (relaxation) specifications Space availability Allowable downtime for implementation Utilization of the (additional) export steam Maximum availability of major utilities—demineralized water. Main limitations are related to the higher heat load and firing in terms of heat flux. Typically. the tube-skin temperature. . Further. unless involving a step reduction in S/C ratio and related methane-slip. These are then reviewed with the owner/client to select the most appropriate solution. which offer increased reforming activity without causing high pressure drop due to their geometry and surface area. For non-PSA based hydrogen plants. it also affects the low-level heat recovery for the CO2-removal unit. apart from specific limitations on the burner heat release and convection process coils. in some cases especially for moderate reformer outlet temperatures combined with increased firing. The latter usually poses constraints. Most older plants were designed and are operated at quite a conservative S/C ratio in the reformer. lower S/C ratio provides better opportunity for capacity increases since the hydrogen purity is unaffected by the upstream increase in methane and COslip. This can be countered by applying “shaped catalysts” (sometimes combined with smaller size in situations of “stressed” reformers). The following process solutions can be applied to overcome this constraint under two scenarios—retain the existing tubes and upgrade the reformer tubes. there is generally little room for any assumption that the plant may not be running on its full load to have relaxation in the operating tube temperatures. since it tends to defeat the very purpose of increasing capacity. a careful evaluation of product hydrogen purity vs. the applicable revamp solutions are identified and evaluated broadly against the target capacity increase in terms of the required modifications. next plant turnaround. In the revamp cases. cost-effectiveness and related implementation scenarios. Plants operating with S/C rations higher than 3. This can overcome the usual constraints of increased system pressure. attention should be directed to the level of makeup fuel (~10% of the total heat release) for proper firing control. cooling water and electric power Acceptable approach of operating pressure near the safety valve settings Catalyst stage of run vs. COPING WITH HIGHER REFORMER LOAD To raise hydrogen capacity. 2% to 5% increase in plant capacity can be achieved along with some improvement in the specific energy. As already mentioned. However. it also results in a slight reduction in the reformer duty. then several process factors should be considered: Reduce steam-to-carbon (S/C) ratio. one major constraint is often observed in the reformer section based on the required increase in reformed gas capacity. Retain the existing tubes. However. Withstanding these constraints. reducing the S/C could be limited in maintaining the hydrogen product purity. increased capacity is needed. in terms of the methane content unless combined with higher reformer outlet temperatures. tube-skin temperatures and ID/FD fans.8 on liquid feeds carry an easier potential to increase hydrogen capacity by lowering the S/C ratio by 10% to15%. The greater reformer tube-skin temperature is a major and critical limitation. If designers elect to continue using the present reformer tubes. Reducing the S/C ratio not only lowers the pressure drop. For conventional or non-pressure swing adsorption (PSA) based hydrogen plants. radiant heat flux and related tube-skin temperatures on attainable capacity increase. for PSA-based hydrogen plants. could tend to increase the maximum tube-skin temperature due to reduced potential endothermic reforming as well as slight reduction in the convective heat transfer coefficient. the reformer duty increases almost proportionately.5 on gaseous feed and 3. However.

Applying an advanced flue-gas tunnel design based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methods. Thus in some cases.Lower outlet temperature. Simultaneously. Steam production. especially for the plants with inferior tube material. Lowering the reformer outlet temperature could impose a constraint on the extent of hydrogen capacity increase due to reduced feed conversion (or increased methane slip). feed consumption and fuel consumption increase at about the same rate as that of the hydrogen production if the outlet temperature is maintained. raising the reformer outlet temperature is feasible by upgrading the existing flue-gas tunnels for facilitating more uniform heat distribution. This approach of upgrading a reformer can enable up to 15% additional duty while withstanding the hydraulic and thermal limits.. a substantial increase of the tube-metal temperature adversely affects the residual service life of the reformer tubes. While considering reformer tube change-out—and particularly when it is accompanied with higher outlet temperatures—owners should evaluate if simultaneous replacement of the outlet system comes is justifiable. This eventually dictates the related tube service life. the temperature distribution can be simulated with new tunnels in the existing reformer. it allows better feed conversion and overcomes pressure-drop constraints. The mentioned options can increase hydrogen production by 3% to 8% depending upon case specific conditions and available margins.) the hydraulic limits could also be relaxed due to the larger flow area. the outlet temperature can be increased. Furthermore. Reformer Upgrading In cases where the capacity expansion is substantial and the previously mentioned options are ineffective. . In such cases. The reduced pressure drop is especially favorable if there is not much room for reducing S/C ratio. Table 1 provides an overview of the combined potential upgrade options of the reformer. Excessive mal-distribution of heat directly limits the maximum operating temperatures to avoid scattered “hot” tubes. especially if replacing the tubes is planned in the near future (e.2 Together with an optimized firing pattern. apart from the customary modifications on the burner and/or fans to uprate the duty: Re-tubing with superior material. Uniformity of heat distribution and flue-gas flow within and out of the radiant section is critical when determining the limits for the reformer outlet temperature and related tube life as well as the maximum tube-skin temperature. With reduced temperature scatter. the benefits of increased production should outweigh the reduced residual tube life cycle. In some cases. e. Upgrade flue-gas tunnels. the next turnaround). while still maintaining some margin. This option is appropriate when raising the maximum tube-metal temperature under the revamp conditions is marginal. Thus. more so for a multi-lane and deep reformer. replacing these tubes with a superior material like Microalloy becomes a logical choice. which can achieve near-plug-flow collection of the flue gas.g. This option lowers the reformer radiant duty while fully exploiting the maximum allowable temperature of the inlet system. This effort could also allow raising the reformer outlet temperature within the mechanical design limit of the re-tubing. Increase the inlet temperature. by finning the top rows. It could involve modifying the feed-steam superheater coil in the convection section. has proven beneficial in several high-flux reformers. based on thinner tube-wall (even with slightly high tube design temperatures. This becomes an easier decision if the unit has already operated close to it its expected life or the re-welding of the existing outlet system to the new tubes fails to pass the required mechanical integrity.g. the next approach is evaluating whether the existing reformer can be upgraded in terms of the following. and the objective is to maximize hydrogen capacity with minimum modifications. Lower (residual) tube operating service life. It also imposes limitations on the downstream PSA as well as constraining the desired level of makeup fuel. Renewal of outlet system.

which are achievable through convective heat recovery in the downstream-fired reformer. m 3 Post-revamp HP-Mod (Nb) 3. In the same context. Due to absence of C2+ and inherent presence of adequate hydrogen. The pre-reformer operates in series and upstream of the reformer (Fig. operational requirements and economic criteria. the pre-reformed gas can be reheated to higher temperatures for the reformer inlet without any concern for olefinic cracking and carbon formation. °C Avg. 1). Fig. It converts all C2+ fractions to a methane-rich gas near equilibrium irrespective of the feed. mm MSW. Pre-reforming retrofit. plant situation. Adding a pre-reformer to an existing unit. Most of them have been implemented successfully and are attractive based on case-specific objectives. mm Tube ID. the S/C ratio in the reformer can also be reduced.103 14% Reformed gas increase. mm Pressure drop. depending upon the feedstock. . Heat flux. However. especially for liquid feeds.085 Base 944 138 14 110 2. either reforming or methanation reactions are over-riding. kw/m2 Catalyst Tunnel design Tube design temp.3 0.. bar Tube volume. Combined potential of reformer upgrading Pre-revamp Tube Material S/C ratio Reformer outlet temp.2 860 72 Shaped Improved HK-40 3.2 0. A pre-reformer allows adiabatic steam-hydrocarbon reforming at a lower temperature levels. 1.9 840 64 Ring 923 138 18 100 2. % DE-BOTTLENECK AND REVAMP OPTIONS Several de-bottlenecking and revamp options to raise capacity of an existing hydrogen plant are in place and with proven status. which result in a net endotherm or exotherm across the catalyst bed. °C Tube OD.Table 1.

Table 2 provides an overview of pre-reformer retrofits using various feedstocks. For liquid feeds. Accordingly. one effective solution for off-loading the reformer duty is regenerative reforming. steam generation and the export steam quantity is substantially reduced.1 Thus.500 to 25. post reforming retrofit typically involves an investment of U. °C Feed Light NG Refo (Top) inlet Catalyst 1) Gas 560 CRG inlet 560 CRG outlet 470 Refo inlet 2) 630 % % Decrease Increase in S/C in avg.$ 400–800/Nm3/h. depending upon the level of . however. This concept offers a rather unique solution for step-capacity increase (>15%) without appreciable increase in the firing or process load of the existing reformer as well as the steam system. case-specific conditions and plant constraints. When the target capacity increase is substantial and the previously mentioned options fail to provide the required additional reformed gas. The reheat potential of the prereformed gas in relation to the much higher allowable inlet temperature to the downstream reformer allows shifting part of the (sensible) radiant duty to the convection section. this route also provides a 10% to 15% reduction in emission levels of CO2. It is based on using the high level heat of the reformed gas to reform the additional feed. apart from slightly higher catalyst service-life cycle costs and higher plant pressure drop. which is also termed as post reforming with convective heat exchange.The steam-to-feed ratio in the pre-reformer is optimized based on the additional pressure drop and lower heat requirement to achieve the minimum inlet temperature to the reactor. it creates an extra processing step is involved. 20 to 30% additional hydrogen can be achieved depending upon the heat balance around the post reformer. Table 2. the additional benefit of lower S/C ratio and possible increase in reformer heat flux allows above 15% increase in reformer capacity An additional advantage of the pre-reformer is that it allows flexibility in feedstock composition without affecting the operation and performance of the downstream reformer. NOX and SOX per unit hydrogen. However. Furthermore.000 Nm3/h. ID/FD fans as well as the steam system. Thus. without a major increase in the pressure drop and firing in the existing reformer. an increase of 8% to 10% in reformed gas capacity can be achieved. ratio heat flux same same % Extra capacity in existing reformer 8 Remarks New inlet system + F/S reheat coil —do— Heavy NG Lightly alkalized (25% layer) Alkalized (40% layer) 540 540 460 630 5 4 11 LPG (C4) 520 440 470 640 10 8 —do— + Coil modified for CRG preheat —do— + Temp control 13 Naphtha Alkalized (50% layer) Notes 510 470– 500 520– 540 650 15 10 17 1) Pre-revamp 2) Post-revamp Regenerative (post) reforming. Pre-reformer retrofit overview Temperature. Consequently. lesser radiant firing is needed and the steam export is significantly reduced. pre-reforming offers an effective way to increase the reformer capacity while overcoming the typical constraints related to the reformer firing— heat flux/tube-skin temperatures.S. In the expected additional hydrogen capacity range of 2. Typically for gaseous feeds.

especially in cases where the export steam is already minimized through high combustion air preheat and/or pre-reforming: • • The proportionate increase in PSA purge gas fuel quantity without much increase in the reformer firing load will introduce a limitation for the reformer combustion control to retain the make-up fuel to at least 10% of the total heat release. The hot reformer effluent process gas entering the shell side and the gas coming out of the advanced heat-exchanger reformer are mixed before flowing counter-currently to provide the reforming heat to the tubes in a so-called “2 in—1 out” configuration (Fig. Fig. The extra capacity achievable by applying regenerative post reforming is also intrinsically controlled by the steam and fuel balance. and thus could result in “zero export steam” with just enough excess required for proper control of the steam system pressure. This is less than half the investment for a new plant of similar capacity. warrant some import steam to ensure sufficient steam during transient conditions. or in a few cases. This concept entails an advanced design and mechanical integrity of the heat exchange reformer such as the enhanced heat reformer exchanger (EHTR). 3. .additional capacity and case-specific issues and the reformer section (being the major bottleneck in existing plants). 2. Advanced heat-exchange reformer. side view. Integrating a post reformer with an advanced heat-exchange reformer. The reduction in steam generation could lead to steam deficiency. 3). Fig.

For the shift catalyst. they can handle increased throughput up to an extent without any modifications.5 to 1.5%).The heat exchange is self-regulating on lower throughputs by means of LMTD reduction. finning and the tube-and-shell side mass velocities. However. A lower CO content in the feed to the PSA also slightly improves the hydrogen recovery (~0. which increases the make-up fuel requirements. the relative higher level of exit CO-slip is removed in the PSA (purge gas fuel) without any limitations on the product hydrogen purity. free to expand. which are openended and. The quality of process condensate suffers from more organic contaminants. a heat exchanger downstream to recover the additional heat of reaction. It proves to be particularly attractive when the feed is more expensive than the fuel and high credit exists for export steam. catalyst and. thus. Further. The configuration and mechanical design of new reformer—in terms of tube geometry and layout. it may require extra precautions/treatment due to the LTS addition. finning and material selection—needs careful consideration against potential metal dusting as well as the thermal stresses. However. Changing high-temperature to medium-temperature shift. Based on the strong inter-relation between the tube surface. Thus when loaded with the modern high-performance copper-promoted catalyst. If the condensate is being recycled back as boiler feedwater. which adds to the product hydrogen capacity. especially for larger exotherm across the catalyst bed. the existing shift reactor bed volumes in older plants are quite liberal based on older catalysts. thus. The CO shift conversion is thermodynamically favored by lower temperatures. mainly methanol (and eventual amines in case of nitrogen-containing feeds) due to copper-based catalyst. Usually. Proper heat transfer is ensured by proper flow distribution of the incoming reformer effluent and shell-side flow geometry (Fig. there is a strong inter-relation between the shell and tube side configuration. no bypass control is required By parallel splitting of the feed between the post-reformer retrofit and the reformer. this option offers other advantages: . The new reformer consists of a refractory-lined exchanger shell with catalyst filled tubes. This option is particularly beneficial when combined with a lower S/C ratio. because apart from the total economics. 2). the criticality comes on lower temperature activity (kinetics) and thermal stability. Advanced medium temperature shift (MTS) catalysts offer benefits in achieving incremental hydrogen (lower CO-slip) by switching from HTS to MTS with necessary modifications around the existing reactor that could allow additional hydrogen. It can offer 3% to 5% more hydrogen along with 8% to 15% more export steam. the available ∆P for the new system (mostly consumed by the tube-side) must match the pressure drop over the reformer. However. New investment associated with an LTS system includes the reactor. conventional plant flow sheets need the LT shift step to reduce the CO levels in conjunction with a methanator to achieve the required product-hydrogen CO purity. it also lowers the heating value of the purge gas. these additional aspects also require proper attention: • • The catalyst reduction procedure for LTS catalyst and its renewal must be established and incorporated. in some cases. Most of the PSA-based plants generally have only HT shift conversion. while maintaining performance and extended EOR conditions. Adding LT shift step. Shift conversion. Adding the LT shift reactor converts the residual CO-exiting the HTS reactor to additional hydrogen without consuming more feed or increasing system pressure drop or posing constraints on the reformer.

These include: Cycle modification Relaxation on product hydrogen purity Lower purge gas pressure Replacement of existing adsorbent with higher performance adsorbent Additional adsorbent vessel(s). PSA modifications. CASE STUDY: CAPACITY REVAMP FOR REPSOL. Purge-gas composition and flow variation should be based on the existing surge drum volume. from 1. No bypass control on the PG boiler is needed. but almost same reformer firing. .• • A lower S/C ratio in the reformer is possible without the customary concerns of sintering and Fischer-Tropsch side reactions from iron-based HTS catalysts. Thus. Key selection factors were extent of modifications. The increased pressure drop in the purge gas line to the burners creates higher backpressure. However. The manifold (mal) distribution should be assessed. downtime and cost effectiveness. the excess air level was increased from 10% to 15% to achieve the minimum steam excess to control the steam-pressure system. advanced reformer’s feed tap-off just upstream the reformer. The target hydrogen capacity increase was 25%. the owner should consider modification of the purge-gas system: • • • For cases when additional reformed gas without installing a pre-reformer or a post-reformer. it has an unfavorable impact on hydrogen recovery. which unfavorably reduced the colder temperature approach based on the required level of heat recuperation.However. designers should extensively check any necessary sizing modification for control valves. but unchanged reformer firing.500 kg/h. this controller is prone to metal dusting problems. an additional heat exchanger is required to reach process temperature for the MTS. plant layout. Thus. Several proven options are available to debottleneck or revamp the PSA and improve hydrogen recovery. This also assisted in maintaining the required temperature for the inlet pre-reformer on a slightly increased flue-gas flow. Retrofit design considerations.200 kg/h to 1. with step increase in feedrate. For such a step increase. the purge-gas system must also handle more purge gas. the eventual burden for capacity expansion rests on the PSA unit. verify required relief capacity on the inlet PSA as well as the purge gas system. the makeup fuel balance should be checked in view of the extra purge gas fuel. Based on the several mentioned options to provide additional reformed or shifted gas. Reduce steam generation through post reformer integration created insufficient steam balance since steam production was already quite minimized through the high combustion air preheat and pre-reforming was already in place. except that another reactor is not needed. the postreforming route was selected based on an extensive analysis and evaluation. The other considerations are quite similar to LTS addition. Also. Based on naphtha feed and convection layout. LA CORUÑA The existing hydrogen plant already used a pre-reforming step based on CRG catalyst for feed flexibility between naphtha and natural gas (NG) and a second stage combustion air preheating. isolation valves and pipe reducers. These modifications can increase the capacity of an existing PSA unit up to 30% and improve hydrogen recovery by 1% to 3%. The following major considerations were addressed in the retrofit design: • • • Minimum temperature requirements (~450°C) at CRG pre-reformer to avoid risk of polymer carbon. Thus.

Additional steam is added to avoid high methane-slip in the reformed gas. the following modifications or new items were identified to reach the desired hydrogen capacity increase: • • • • • • Larger feed naphtha pumps Spare recycle hydrogen compressor inline Parallel (spare) feed vaporizer inline More frequent ZnO catalyst change New larger process gas trim cooler PSA unit revamp based on superior adsorbents and improved cycle. Sufficient margins for operational flexibility. 4. since it cannot be isolated or bypassed. Fig. However. It clearly indicates that the 25% hydrogen capacity increase could be achieved without any overload on the reformer or steam system as well as only a 10% increase in gaseous effluents. the feed is more expensive than the RFG as makeup fuel. Table 3 summarizes the performance data of the recently revamped hydrogen plant at Repsol’s La Coruña. Test run performance. Based on the allowable pressure drop across the pre-reformer and to achieve the required minimum inlet temperature of 450°C. . thus. with the increased feed flow for the revamp but the firing in the reformer staying almost the same. modifications to internals of tail-gas drum. External set points are in relation to: Total feed flow (capacity) S/C in reformer Reformer feed flow Reformer outlet temperature. the S/C ratio for the pre-reformer was reduced. The original design used a reasonably high S/C ratio for better conversion. reliability and safety are ensured by considering the worstcase scenario of peak temperatures due to minimum feed flow (and related reduced endothermic reforming heat pick-up) against the full flow of the hot reformer effluent. this limitation was relaxed. which lowers the inlet temperature for better temperature approach. which also assisted in getting the required temperature control. The new reformer’s feed is tapped under split-flow ratio control. Other modifications for the revamp. EHTR tube-cage module being lifted for installation at Repsol YPF’s La Coruña refinery. Based on the detailed analysis of the revamp duties against the existing equipment. increasing the supplemental (post) steam injection for the reformer.• • • For the naphtha case. Spain complex.

there is an equivalent reduction in the steam generation/export of 6% to 10%. Candidate streams should be at required pressure (>30 bar) and have a reasonably low concentrations of sulfur. Also due to the inherent hydrogen content. The performance of the process coils in the convection section may also be affected and should be simulated based on less flue-gas flow. However. coker or FCC. Gcal/KNm3 hydrogen Reformer radiant duty Flue gas quantity (or CO2) /ton of H2 * As percent of generation 100 100 100 25 0 100 100 100 Post-revamp (design). the hydrogen fraction is indirectly recovered while the existing reformer can increase throughput without exceeding the existing duty limits. . One potential way to raise reformer capacity without any major modification is finding a suitable H2containing refinery offgas(es) as feed for steam reforming. whose offgas offer a high hydrocarbon fraction.5 Reconciled Reconciled OTHER SOLUTIONS Using refinery offgas as a feed. the S/C ratio can be lowered. Advanced heat-exchange reformer-based revamp test-run performance data Prerevamp.% 125 122 91 10 14 98.8 98 88 Post revamp (achieved). % Hydrogen capacity Feed + fuel. However. this is partly compensated by the reduction in the flue gas quantity. increase in the hydrogen recovery due to CO2 load. Typical sources include: hydrocracker. and recycling hydrogen can be avoided. Incorporating this option into an existing plant may also require replacing the purge-gas burner tips because of step change in its Wobbe index. HDS.Table 3. contaminants and tail-end components (C5+). CO2-removal upstream of PSA unit. Gcal Steam generation Export steam* Import steam* Specific energy consumption. chlorine and olefins. This has two effects: • • Reformer firing is reduced since sensible heating of this CO2 is eliminated.% 124 122 94 12 14 98. The incremental hydrogen benefit is not sufficient to make this option economically attractive or justifiable unless the recovered CO2 can find a good credit as a byproduct. NOX reduction effect of CO2 is lowered or lost. By using offgas as a feed. which increases the NOX level in the flue gas. CO2 removal also substantially reduces the flowrate of the purge gas but increases its heating value. the qualifications of the offgas streams are also dependent on available pressure. Adding a CO2-removal system upstream the PSA unit in a hydrogen plant will improve capacity of an existing PSA unit up to 2% to 5% net hydrogen depending on the availability of shift gas upstream and to some extent. Accordingly.

though the hold-up times can be slightly compromised Pipe sizing. This is truer for the new hydrogen generation units. fuel. Demand for hydrogen is driven by environmental legislation mandating the processing of cleaner and lighter motor fuels. the more obvious and larger the level of pre-investment. Such a trend requires judicious decisions between pre. % (equiv. PSA adsorbs. Nr 1 2 3 4 5 6 Revamp option Reformer upgrading Pre-reformer retrofit Integration of postreformer H2 increase. larger impellers. control valve body and safety valves rated for future throughputs and optimized pressure drop. along with modular “add-on” such as air cooler banks. In view of the ongoing debate on fixing some specifications for future legislation. This decision analysis becomes quite significant in assessing the total economics for the hydrogen plant and added value from the hydrogen usage. etc. Larger reformer radiant box with provision for additional tubes with inlet/outlet pigtails and related burners in future Simulated convection coil designs and resulting temperatures Larger fan casings or dual-speed motors Heat exchangers with larger bypass Vessels and separators for future load. export steam and level of investment.DEBOTTLENECKING OPTIONS SUMMARY Table 4 summarizes the various revamp options. It provides an overview of the relative feed.and post-investment scenarios that depend on the expected timing and quantity of the future hydrogen demand. Others are seeking options that will enable future capacity expansion when warranted. Table 4.) < up to 20% < till 0 > up to 10% Feedrate M/u fuel rate > (Var) P P Same > (Var) <P Almost the same > > > Cost Low to high Medium High Medium Low to high Low to high Addition of LTS/MTS 3–5% retrofit PSA modifications CO2 wash upstream PSA 2–25% 2–5% Same to P Same to P < up to 10% Same P: Proportional Var: Variable Future capacity increases in hydrogen plants. Capacity revamp options summary Sr. The earlier the projections. Such pre-investment also limits the extent of required modifications and the related downtime of the (new) plant and could include: • • • • • • • Larger reactors with short loading of catalysts (more frequent renewal of sacrificial catalysts like ZnO and Cl guard become acceptable based on the actual contaminants’ load).) 2–15% 8–18% 20–30% Export steam > (Var. . refiners are not fully certain of the level of future additional hydrogen capacity required to balance their refinery needs. The post-investment can include most of the debottlenecking or revamp options described earlier above. larger control valve trims. Some end-users have and are investing in large hydrogen plant expansions that are required on short-term basis.

but also carries the benefits of shorter implementation time while minimizing downtime. He has contributed several papers in the field of hydrogen and syngas. Copyright © 2002 Hydrocarbon Processing Copyright © 2002 Gulf Publishing Company . he was with Millipore. Spain. S. C. Vales holds BS and MS degrees in industrial chemistry from the University of Santiago de Compostela. “Debottlenecking strategies for hydrogen in refineries. It not only can provide increased hydrogen capacity in the range of 3% to 30% using one or a combination of proven debottleneck and revamp options. Literature Cited 1 Ratan. Ratan has more than 20 years of experience and has held various responsibilities in the design. New Delhi.. The predicted performance of the revamped plant is very dependent on the reliability of the collected data and its reconciliation based on the simulation model developed for the existing unit. engineering and operational effectiveness of hydrogen-syngas plants including integration solutions for refinery offgases and steam-power systems. without any compromise on performance. Mr. advance control and environment departments. Cannes. safety and reliability. revamping and retrofitting an existing hydrogen plant in a refinery can prove to be an attractive and cost effective way to fulfill incremental hydrogen needs. F. Ratan is Director of syngas technology at Technip Benelux in The Netherlands. he has held several positions in process. February 2001. Spain. Mr. “Trends in Refinery Hydrogen. Since joining Repsol YPF in 1987.In conclusion.” Second European Technical Seminar on Hydrogen Plants. India. and is a member of AIChE. October 2001. Previously. the operating experience of the owner and hydrogen plant design expertise of the contracting company are essential for successfully retrofitting the hydrogen plant revamp. Furthermore. He holds a Bachelor of Technology degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology. He is responsible for the technological promotion. 2 S. marketing and development of the hydrogensyngas product line as well as for the coordination with external entities for state-of-the-art competitiveness. Vales is an operation manager at Repsol-YPF’s La Coruña Refinery.” Hydrocarbon Engineering.

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