Agenda 2021

Please note the agenda below is the 2021 virtual agenda. The content is not indicative of the 2022 agenda, which is still in development and will be released in early 2022. Don't forget to submit your abstract for consideration for the 2022 agenda by 26 November.

09:40 - 10:20
Concepts for blue hydrogen production

In times of climate change all industries have to consider reducing their carbon emissions to become more sustainable. Green hydrogen can be produced from renewable feedstocks, e.g. biomass and green power via electrolysis. Although an increasing number of projects producing carbon free hydrogen is published, they at the time being play a minor role in the global H2 production. Due to limited availability of biogenic feedstocks and high cost of installation and production via water electrolysis, these technologies are unlikely to constitute the sole productions technologies in the near future. Hydrogen production from hydrocarbons, e.g. via steam reforming of natural gas, will for a considerable time remain the dominating production scheme for Hydrogen, especially for large scale consumption.

In order to reduce the impact on the environment existing plants and new plant can be designed with carbon capture & storage/usage (CCUS). This technology can form a bridging technology during the transformation to carbon free hydrogen production and also support the hydrogen economy. Hydrogen produced from NG with CCUS is called blue hydrogen, to show that it has a reduced carbon footprint. However, is still produced from fossil feedstock. A definition of the different colours of hydrogen will be given.

Furthermore, a comparison of different technologies for hydrogen production with CCS will be compared, i.e. SMR, ATR, POX and combinations. The comparison will show different capture options and compare the achievable capture rates for different concepts. A case study with will show efficiencies and economics with respect to OPEX and CAPEX for different project specifics. It will be shown that a differentiated view on site conditions is required to find the best project specific solution. Some real life examples of existing plants with CCUS will be presented.

Content in a glance:
- Definition of colours of hydrogen, especially blue hydrogen
- Differences of NG based H2 production processes
- Case study with economic evaluation
- Real life examples

Dr. Klemens Wawrzinek, Project Manager BD & Sales, Linde

10:20 - 10:55
How to go “green” in existing and new ammonia and methanol Plants

The increasing availability of CO2-free power allows for production of hydrogen by electrolysis of water at competitive prices. This “green” hydrogen can be used for production of ammonia or methanol which then comes without emission of CO2. Both these products can further be processed to fertilizers or other chemicals, but can also serve as fuel or for energy storage. Concepts for such applications have been presented at earlier Nitrogen + Syngas Conferences.

This presentation will show the new technical concepts, status of realized pilot plants and the necessary design changes of such plants compared to conventional ammonia and methanol plants.

For those who already operate a fertilizer production facility based on natural gas and who do not want to fully rely on electric power from renewables, the combination of a conventional ammonia plant with the addition of a hydrogen stream from electrolysis offers several advantages at a time, such as:

- Reduction of the CO2 footprint of ammonia production;
- Overcoming a bottleneck in the ammonia plant front end;
- Lowering the CO2 tax for ammonia production.

This “green” hydrogen feed might be available in fluctuating amount, depending on the nature of the electricity source (wind, solar) and the contract for its supply. Thus the plant has to cope with a variable fraction of “green” hydrogen, leading to more load changes and operating scenarios so far not experienced in ammonia plants, such as varying hydrogen / nitrogen ratio in the front end. Based on thyssenkrupp’s experience in electrolysis, fertilizers and methanol technology the presentation will show how these challenges are mastered.

Dr Klaus Noelker, Head of Process Department, Fertilizer and Methanol Division, thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions

12:05 - 12:45
Decarbonized fuels and chemicals – ammonia/syngas

The energy consumption for the production of ammonia, methanol, and hydrogen has for decades been reduced in the industries, approaching the theoretical limits. Topsoe has played a leading role in this development.

However, with increasing climate concerns, decarbonizing fuels and chemicals production becomes increasingly important, and it has become vital to differentiate between feedstock and energy sources. Decarbonization can be achieved by several means, e.g. carbon capture (CCU & CCS), leveraging the increasing availability of affordable sustainable electricity as well as biomass, renewable feedstocks and CO2 utilization. Investors in new production facilities and owners of existing are facing a future with increasing focus on their GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions and need to plan accordingly.

Topsoe continues its leading role in providing the industries with solutions addressing these new challenges for new facilities as well as options for upgrading and leveraging existing facilities in order to provide cost-competitive green products. These new solutions address increased sustainability for products such as ammonia, methanol, hydrogen, CO, gasoline, FT diesel, renewable diesel/jet etc.

This paper will focus on decarbonization options for ammonia and hydrogen production.
Yawar Abbas Naqvi, Senior Business Development Manager, Haldor Topsoe A/S

12:45 - 13:10
Green ammonia production

In the view of climate change chemical & fertilizer companies follow the trend of decarbonizing their production. One way of doing so is the production of sustainable NH3, e.g. from renewable feedstock or renewable power. As a new application of ammonia using it as a carbon free energy carrier, e.g. for transportation or power produciton is discussed.

One major point is to enable ammonia technology to rely on renewable power only. The required hydrogen can be produced via water electrolysis, a technology with is well known since decades. However, still today this technology needs to be developed further in order to achieve higher efficiencies and meet challenging investment cost targets.

The combination of pure hydrogen produced from water electrolysis and pure N2 from an air separation unit is a perfect match for the Linde Ammonia Concept (LACTM), which has already proven its incomparable benefits worldwide in many operating plants for tailor-made NH3 plants.

The major technical challenge is the buffering of fluctuations of renewable power production and hence flows of H2 & N2 production. A plant concept is required, which does not only introduce overcapacity and large buffers for the pure gases, because this will boost installation cost. Rather a clever concept has to be found, which reduces plant load changes and on/off cycles, which reduce the lifetime of equipment.

The major process steps for purely renewable NH3 Production are water electrolysis, which is unsensitive to load fluctuations, air separation units including storage systems, and an ammonia loop design operating on pure gases without inerts. Linde has all these major process steps in its technology portfolio:

- PEM Electrolysis, which is unsensitive to load fluctuations
- Huge number of air separation units
- Linde Ammonia concept applying inert free design since 1981
- A comparison with purely renewable NH3 production and an option for hybrid plants will be discussed and compared by means of economic analysis, incl. OPEX and CAPEX.
Michael Reinke, Senior Process Design Engineer, Linde

13:25 - 14:05
“Green” and “blue” technologies in Casale portfolio

Reducing the carbon footprint in the synthesis of chemicals is a new challenge, which is necessary to have sustainable products designed to minimize the environmental impacts during the whole life-cycle.

In order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions there are essentially two routes: the first is to capture and sequestrate the CO2 after its generation and this leads to so-called “blue” products; the second is to totally avoid the CO2 generation by the use of renewable energy and feedstocks and this is the path to “green” products.

Casale has been active since several years in developing and optimizing both green and blue technologies to be applied in the production of ammonia and methanol, which are two of the most energy intensive chemical processes, responsible for the emission of large quantities of CO2.

This paper will provide an overview of such technologies in Casale portfolio, which ranges from an optimized process for blue ammonia production named A6000CC (able to compete in terms of OPEX and CAPEX with processes without carbon sequestration) to the production of ammonia and methanol from renewables to the integration of green feedstocks in existing standard plants
Francesco Baratto, Head of Syngas Department, Casale

14:25 - 15:05
Electrochemical wastewater treatment technology: Innovation in emissions abatement

Wastewater generated at a large-scale fertilizer complexes should preferably be recycled and re-used, rather than released to the environment. Among all the fertilizer production plants, the ammonia and urea processing operations are the main source of process wastewater that require treatment before disposal. Ammonia is the main contaminant of concern, being the primary form of widespread pollution, toxic even in low concentrations.

Abatement of emissions and achievement of sustainable processes are key targets for continuous innovation. In response to environmental and sustainability challenges, Saipem has identified and fully developed a new technology for combined removal of ammonia and urea compounds from process and wastewater. The technology is based on an electrochemical process, which transforms ammonia and/or urea into their elemental harmless components (i.e. gaseous nitrogen), with no sludge or byproducts. Moreover, the new technology is integrated within the production line with no need for a separate wastewater treatment plant. It has already been commercially implemented and can be used to comply with the most stringent environmental requirements in a cost-effective way. It is simple, modular, robust, and stable even in variating operating conditions, thus outdoing most of the complexity and drawbacks of biological treatment systems used for the same purpose.

Following the industrial success of Saipem’s electrochemical technology for ammonia and urea, other pollutants are being addressed. Syngas monetization and fertilizer plants often experience methanol in their wastewater, which is toxic to the environment and should be removed before water discharge or reuse. Potential applications of electrochemical technologies for methanol oxidation into carbon dioxide and water products have been recognized, and dedicated implementation work has started accordingly.
Andrea Carotti, Water Treatment Systems Technology Manager, Saipem

15:05 - 15:45
The Plasco Gasification and Plasma Refining System (GPRSTM):An integrated solution to making clean syngas for chemicals from waste

Making syngas from waste and then converting it to a liquid fuel, chemicals, or green hydrogen is an attractive goal for the circular economy – if the entire process works as planned.  

The key to being able to finance, build, and operate a proposed facility is not only having a robust technology to meet market needs, but managing associated technical and project risk.

Waste gasification has often not met expectations.   The principal reasons for this have been:

1. Unrealistic scale up;
2. High cost of feed preparation and/or insufficient feed flexibility to ensure a reliable feedstock supply at a projected price;
3. Gasifier not integrated with an adequate feed system and gas cleanup, so either EPC or the end customer has had a significant expense to make the system work;
4. Tar laden syngas unsuitable for anything but making steam; and
5. Low system availability, low cold gas efficiency, high parasitics and/or high opex.

Because of these issues, investors and lenders are rightfully cautious.  In the U.K., most EPC’s will no longer provide an IChemE Red Book “wrap” for gasification projects.  Clients in other locations are equally cautious.

Plasco has tailored its Gasification and Plasma Refining System (GPRSTM) to mitigate these risks. 

As Jay Barney stated in his seminal textbook, “Gaining and Sustaining Competitive Advantage”, to achieve long-term above average economic returns, a firm must pass the VRIO test.  Its resources must be Valuable, Rare, hard to Imitate, and supported by the Organization.   Plasco’s presentation will concentrate mostly on the “supported by the Organization” aspect of the GPRSTM.  We will describe briefly the GPRSTM technology, but also the deliberate choices made by the organization to move the GPRSTM from a novel process demonstrated at a large scale over many years to a modular integrated low risk solution with predictable performance.  These include:

1. Omnivorous high efficiency integrated waste conversion and syngas refining;
2. Syngas tailored to the end use;
3. Pristine environmental performance;
4. Choices to maximize uptime;
5. A trouble-free and cost effective delivery process; and
6. Financial backing and insurance to support a performance warranty
Marc Bacon, EVP of Engineering and Operations, Omni Conversion Technologies

16:05 - 16:45
New application for ammonia: From fertilizer to fuel

Ammonia has been a great source of N2 for fertilizer for over 100 years. There is an emerging opportunity to use ammonia as a source of hydrogen - a clean fuel for 21st Century. If successful, this new use of ammonia can more than double its market. The total use of transportation fuels (petrol and diesel) in USA is above one billion ton. As a part of clean energy portfolio, hydrogen fuel cells are expected to play a significant role in this portfolio. At 10% level, the use of ammonia will be well above 100 million metric tons per year!

The State of California needs hydrogen stations to increase deployment of fuel cell cars, buses and trucks. California also has large farming community where ammonia is routinely used for fertilizer. This ammonia can also be used to supply hydrogen, if there were a cost effective technology available. Farmers will have a new source of revenue from ammonia they store on-farm but use only twice a year. Ammonia has the greatest hydrogen content by weight (17%), It is the most efficient and commercially available carrier of Hydrogen! The safety and handling protocols already exist and widely available.

T2M Global and its development partners, SAFCell, are collaborating to develop a modular system to produce hydrogen from ammonia using solid state separation system. this novel separation technology, unlike conventional systems, does not require pressure or solvents for separation. Instead, it uses electro-chemical potential to separate protons from nitrogen. Initial laboratory tests show a small (<1 ton/day H2) system is technically feasible. In commercial production, this modular system can produce hydrogen below $5 per Kg- well below the current hydrogen delivery cost for fuel cell vehicles. The development system designed by our team includes an ammonia cracker to convert  it to hydrogen and nitrogen. This is followed by solid state separation of hydrogen from Nitrogen. The test unit is designed to produce hydrogen at up to 30 bars.

Initial test results along with techno-economic analysis for 400 Kg/day hydrogen system will be presented. Near term deployment strategy in California will be presented. Ammonia industry guidance for this study has been provided by Venkat Patubathala.

Pinakin Patel, President, T2M Global

09:00 - 09:40
Transition of high temperature shift catalyst in ammonia plant problem analysis and operational philosophy

The paper will present a case study of continuous migration of silica and phosphate from a unique source into high pressure steam generated from raw gas Boilers. The incident happened in newly commissioned 900 MTPD ammonia production unit in India.

Owing to regular migration of silica and phosphate in steam, the rotor and diaphragms of the PAC (Process Air Compressor) steam turbine were choked, resulting in the forced shut down of the plant. The reason for carryover of silica and phosphate in the high pressure steam were rightly identified and the ammonia plant resumed normal operation after replacing rotor of high pressure PAC steam turbine. The ammonia plant continued with high load operation at 110% afterwards without noticing any process related abnormality for one further year. It was then noticed that pressure drop across the HT Shift Converter had started rising very slowly. There had not been any observations related to any process upset related to HT shift converter operation. In subsequent operative period; pressure drop across HT Shift converter started increasing at higher rate with looming fear for another forced shutdown.

The paper will present problem analysis, counteracting measures, operational philosophy adopted by National Fertilizers Limited, a leading nitrogenous fertilizer manufacturer in India, to continue operation till next planned annual turnaround. The paper will also provide glimpse to operational limitations faced due to slow deterioration in efficiency of process air compressor steam turbine from one of least expected source.
Rajan Kanwar, General Manager (Operations & Maintenance), NATIONAL FERTILIZERS LIMITED

09:40 - 10:20
ActiSafE™ - The next level of safe and easy ammonia synthesis catalyst reduction

This paper will describe the challenges of the current, widely used methods for accurate water measuring during ammonia catalyst reduction and startup and unveil ActiSafE™, a new non-dispersive infrared technology based on NDIR that was developed by Clariant. To illustrate the advantages of ActiSafE™ two cases studies of water measuring during startup and reduction of Clariant’s ammonia synthesis catalyst AmoMax 10 in Yara’s ammonia plants in Tertre and Hull will be demonstrated.

Water is a substance that negatively influences the activity of ammonia synthesis catalysts and must be limited to certain concentration levels during the reduction. Therefore, accurate measurements of the water concentration during catalyst reduction and startup are crucial. However, the significance of the water measurements is limited by certain challenges like the possible condensation of water in poorly insulated sample lines, which can lead to misleading measurement values and hence to a suboptimal catalyst performance after reduction

Existing analytical methods to determine the water concentration are the Ascarite, the Carbide method and the Karl-Fisher Method. These methods can bring good results but have some operational challenges like high labor, the need for chemicals and delayed results. Due to the discontinuous nature of the measurement, plant operators may be unable to counteract a sudden increase in water concentration (e.g. by reducing the temperature) before permanent damage is caused to the catalyst.

In contrast, the new ActiSafE™ method developed by Clariant (patent application is pending) provides several advantages like continuous real-time measurements of the water concentration in a range of 100 – 6000 ppm while also measuring the ammonia concentration at the same time. There is no requirement of manual operation as the instrument has an analog output and can be connected to the DCS system of the plant for monitoring real-time values in the control room. The real-time data allows plant operators to react quickly to changes in water content and to optimize the reduction procedure, thus saving time and/or avoiding catalyst poisoning. Irregularities in the sample line like water condensation can be immediately detected and rectified.

During the reduction of the wustite-based ammonia synthesis catalyst AmoMax 10 at Yara Tertre and Hull, the new ActiSafE™ method was successfully applied to monitor the water concentration with high accuracy. Condensation in the sample lines was detected in time and the lines were properly insulated before the start of catalyst reduction. Due to the reliable water measurements, the reduction was carried out safely and as fast as possible despite certain challenges during the procedure. Consequently, the ActiSafE™ method helped Yara to optimize staff (no personal in laboratory needed anymore) and costs of the catalyst reduction.
Michael Mueller, Technical Service Engineer, Clariant
Scott Osborne, Global Application Expert – SynChem Products, Clariant

09:45 - 10:45
Development of deepening of TOYO’s DX-PLANT®

Toyo Engineering Corporation (TOYO), a global leading engineering contractor and urea process licensor, has developed a system for the digital transformation of plants (DX-PLANT®) aimed at maximizing client revenue and minimizing costs by leveraging TOYO’s engineering expertise in chemical process technology and operations for industrial plants. Through DX-PLANT®, TOYO provides solutions mainly for the following four fields: engineering (E), operations (O), maintenance (M) and business (B). The system creates a “digital twin”, a virtual plant synchronized with an actual plant based on big data collected from industrial plants.
Development of DX-PLANT® was commenced in 2016, and some functions and immediate road map were already introduced at Nitrogen + Syngas 2018. Since then, TOYO has further developed and expanded solutions lineup extensively in a customer-friendly approach. This article presents the new developments of DX-PLANT® with a particular focus on the following four fields:
Engineering:   Information Management System
Operation:      ADVIDA™ (Advanced Data-driven Visual Indication, Detection and Alert),
                       PMOS™ (Plant Monitoring and Optimization System), 
Maintenance:  AOCM™ (Advanced Online Corrosion Monitoring),
Business:        E-Commerce Site for Spare Parts
(DX-PLANT® is a registered trademark of Toyo Engineering Corporation in Japan (Registered Number 6132604).)

Akiko USHIFUSA, Process Engineer, Toyo Engineering Corporation

10:25 - 11:05
Latest technologies to improve efficiency and product quality of urea plant

Casale is continuously expanding its urea technology portfolio by introducing novel technical solutions in order to optimize the efficiency and reliability of urea process. This paper describes the key features and outstanding performance of the latest technologies developed by Casale and currently available on the market: Casale Improved High Efficiency Trays and Casale Vibrating Skin Bucket.

One of the major developments aimed at enhancing the urea process efficiency is the design of new reactor trays that are an improvement of the widely applied Casale-Dente High Efficiency Trays.

Thanks to the innovative shape, the new trays maximize the mixing effect between the gas and the liquid phase along the whole reactor length, allowing to operate the urea reactor near to theoretical equilibrium conversion. As an overall result, it is possible to achieve a remarkable increase of reactor conversion as well as a reduction of plant energy consumption with reduced reactor volume.

Casale Improved High Efficiency Trays can be effectively applied in new reactors to achieve high urea yield with low reactor volume or to promote the conversion of existing reactor in revamping project with targets of capacity increase and energy saving.

Another area of improvement of the urea process regards the quality of the final product. Casale has recently developed an advanced design for vibrating prilling bucket, the so-called Vibrating Skin Bucket. This technology has been developed in collaboration with  Tuttle Prilling Systems and successfully tested on industrial scale.

The Casale Vibrating Skin Bucket is such that an excellent control of liquid droplet formation can be reached over a wide range of plant load. Casale Vibrating Skin Bucket can produce on-spec prills with various average prill diameter and can be successfully applied in urea plant with capacity ranging from small to large.

By replacing a traditional rotating bucket with a Casale Vibrating Skin, it is possible to increase plant production and improve the uniformity (size and shape) of the urea prills. Furthermore, a reduction of fine particle content in the product as well as a decrease of dust emission from the top of the prilling tower are achieved.
Leonardo Marrone, Head of Liquid & Solid Tech. Department, Casale SA

10:35 - 11:10
All shapes are not created equal: Size, shape, strength – why it matters

Many of the most important characteristics of catalyst pellets when used in a catalytic reactor are shape and size, strength, voidage, pressure drop and heat transfer.  Historically, many of these parameters have been developed and evaluated experimentally and difficult to capture the full range of applications of customers across the industry. 

Johnson Matthey has a long history of utilising state of the art modelling techniques to allow development of catalyst shapes for applications including pre-reforming, reforming and water-gas shift, we use powerful of computational modelling and rapid prototyping in catalyst development.

This paper will describe work carried out by Johnson Matthey and in collaboration with academic partners in developing and evaluating catalyst shapes and features such as complex geometries or surface textures.  It will also touch on how utilising modern additive layer manufacturing techniques can allow for rapid prototyping, which can in turn accelerate experimental validation of computational models. 

We will present comprehensive data showing the development of Johnson Matthey’s QUADRALOBETM family of shapes that continue to be market leading 20 years after the launch – over which time it they have been proven to improve efficiencies and run length on hundreds of  SMR’s.   We will additionally present on the development of the latest shape to be introduced into the HTS area, the Johnson Matthey F-Shape. 

Andrew Richardson, Principal Researcher, Johnson Matthey PLC

11:15 - 11:55
Novel CO2 reforming technology for production of CO-rich synthesis gas at a minimum steam-to-carbon ratio

Important bulk chemicals such as hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol are produced in a multiple step process. The first step is typically conversion of natural gas, or a similar feedstock, to produce hydrogen or synthesis gas (a mixture consisting of mainly hydrogen and carbon monoxide). This is followed by the actual synthesis and purification. The synthesis gas production step is often carried out by reforming of the feedstock with mixtures of steam and carbon dioxide (henceforth referred to as CO2 reforming).

CO2 reforming is an environmentally interesting process, as it offers a way of utilizing CO2, which is a polluting greenhouse gas, and in many industries often considered as a waste product. CO2 reforming is a process which can be designed with overall negative CO2 emissions, or in other words can be designed to utilize more CO2 than what is emitted. It is therefore expected to play an important role in combination with CO2 capture technologies.

An increase in the amount of CO2 added to the process will result in an increased fraction of CO in the produced synthesis gas. Synthesis gas with H2/CO ratios in the range of 0,5–3 can be produced. These CO-rich gasses are typically utilized in the production of functional chemicals and synthetic fuels.

This paper describes a new high temperature CO2 reforming process where preheated CO2 is added directly downstream of a main reformer and then equilibrated in an adiabatic reactor. The technology makes use of the high temperature of the reformer effluent to circumvent carbon formation while at the same time maintaining an overall minimum steam-to-hydrocarbon carbon ratio, depending on process specific conditions. This new technology is a promising solution within the area of CO2 utilization, converting CO2 to valuable synthesis gas with a high content of CO, but without the traditional limitations requiring large amounts of steam addition. It can be used to retrofit an existing unit towards more CO production or included in new projects and is an excellent match in cases where excess CO2 is available. In the presentation, the new technology will be described, and the benefits will be illustrated with specific examples.

Marené Rautenbach, , Haldor Topsoe A/S

11:20 - 12:00
SAFUREX® milestone: 1.5 million years of Safurex® HEX pipe in production

Sandvik and Stamicarbon have introduced Safurex® as a ultimate corrosion resistance material for the urea synthesis in 1996 and is the basis of a long lasting partnership. This so-called super duplex stainless steel is specially designed for the urea synthesis in a long tradition of revolutionary innovations. Today more than 80 plants worldwide have included around 200 pieces of high pressure equipment in Safurex® with a strong focus on safety, reliability and performance.  

The paper demonstrates the fruits of a long lasting relationship and the commitment to improve the design of urea plants every day with innovative developments and a pioneering attitude to accomplish challenges necessary to take the next step. 

A remarkable milestone for Safurex® is clarified in relation to the failure frequency of tubes applied in HP tube and shell heat exchangers while it is demonstrated how core technical material knowledge and knowledge on ammonium-carbamate corrosion is validated and the relevance of high quality production standards work hand in hand.

Alex Scheerder, Principal Engineer, Stamicarbon
Barinder Ghai, Regional Technical Marketing Manager, Sandvik Materials Technology

12:00 - 12:40
How to improve safety and reliability of the high-pressure synthesis section of urea plants

In 2017, and introduced global open source risk registers for ammonia and urea plants.

On July 1, 2020, the Risk Register Safety Risks in Urea Plants contained already 135 safety risks.

Detailed analyses concludes that most safety risks are associated to the high pressure synthesis section.

This paper describes what are the most critical safety risks and provides recommendations for prevention and mitigation measures.

Mark Brouwer, Director,

12:05 - 12:45
ReforMax® LDP Plus series & ReforSafE™ - Enhancing steam reformer performance for higher efficiency and increased safety of plant operations

This paper details the first commercial references of the novel steam reforming catalyst ReforMax 330 LDP Plus, demonstrating a significantly lower pressure drop in the reformer tubes and a strong poison resistance. Furthermore, Clariant’s reformer service ReforSafE™ was applied to evaluate the performance of the catalyst and to ensure a safe and efficient overall operation of the syngas plants.

Building on the successful operations of our well-proven Primary Reforming Catalysts, Clariant recently launched the next catalyst generation with the innovative LDP Plus shape – ReforMax® 210 LDP Plus and ReforMax® 330 LDP Plus.  This shape enhancement leads to approximately 20% less pressure drop compared to the traditional LDP shape and offers plants a solution for efficiency improvement or debottlenecking with no changes to the reformer tubes. The pressure drop decrease results in energy savings or alternately, if the plant rate is limited due to front end pressure drop, the LDP Plus shape allows higher throughputs, provided that all other systems and unit operations can accommodate the higher front-end rates.

To demonstrate the superior performance of the ReforMax LDP Plus series, key performance indicators of the first commercial references at Yara Tertre, and El Dorado are presented, proving significantly lower pressure drop and higher resistance against coking.

To evaluate overall condition and performance of the steam reforming furnace in the three reference plants Clariant’s reformer service ReforSafE™ was applied.

ReforSafE is available in different service levels (standard, premium, and premium plus) that start with a quick tube wall temperature check and catalyst performance evaluation and culminates in comprehensive reformer evaluations using thermal imaging and gold cup equipment to provide a 3D temperature profile across the furnace, allowing recommendations of burner adjustments, correction models for tube emissivity, and deriving of the thermal efficiency of the furnace.

The combination of Clariant’s new reforming technologies allowed all two customers to increase the efficiency and the safety of their operations.

Christian Berchthold, Global Marketing Manager Syngas, Clariant
Norbert Ringer, Global Methanol Industry Director, Global Industry Expert Syngas, Clariant

12:50 - 13:30
Successful revamp of vintage Kellogg Ammonia plant for Dorogobuzh, JSC for capacity increase to 2100 MTPD

In the period from 1973 to 1988, 45 TEC and GIAP Ammonia plants were constructed in Soviet Union. All these plants used Kellogg (KBR as it is now) or similar GIAP ammonia process and had nameplate capacity 1360 or 1420 MTPD of ammonia. For the years almost all plants were modernized to capacity of 1500-1800 MTPD. The analysis of equipment & piping margins shows, however, that the already achieved capacity of about 1800 MTPD is not the limit for these plants. New technologies can boost the capacity to next level of 2100 MTPD of ammonia and above, which is close to state-of-art grass-root plants.

The Acron Group was the first ammonia producer on post-USSR territory who not just choose offered by KBR a new revamp approach but a very fast and efficient implemented it at successful revamp project of TEC ammonia plant in Dorogobuzh. This unit had nameplate capacity of 1360 MTPD, achieved before current revamp capacity of 1725 MTPD and achieved guaranteed capacity of 2100 MTPD with simultaneous energy savings by 9% in December 2019. Moreover, because of implemented measures the plant reliability was enhanced that is proved by uninterrupted operation of the plant since start-up.

The project team included KBR as Licensor and Basic designer, Novgorod GIAP (Acron Group) as General Designer, Dorogobuzh (Acron Group) as general manager and supervisor for construction.

The project was implemented within 2.5 years. It included state-of-art KBR design solutions as KRESTM and Cold Wall Add-on Ammonia converter as main design features for modernization of reforming and synthesis sections, respectively. In total about 60 positions of equipment were installed and modernized; approximately 10 km of new pipelines was installed, and more than 650 MT of steel structures were erected. Main part of works was performed during normal plant operation and only tie-in of new equipment was done during normal plant turnaround within 42 days. Upon stabilization of performance after start-up the plant achieved all guaranteed figures.

This Dorogobuzh ammonia revamp project is the first successful revamp project in Russia and FSU for capacity increase above 2100 MTPD with enhancement of plant reliability and reasonable investments and can be considered as a benchmark for future revamp projects of vintage TEC and GIAP plants.

This paper will cover various project milestones and design aspects of the project including troubleshooting and lessons learned during commissioning of the project.

Alexander Ivanov, Chief Technical Leader, KBR

12:55 - 13:35
Shortening in situ of two bimetallic strippers: Extension of the operational life and reliability by refurbishment

Two bimetallic urea strippers which had been in service for more than 20 years were reaching the end of their operational life due to corrosion at the bottom tubesheet that affected the tubesheet overlay, the tube protrusion and the tube-to-tubesheet weld joints.

This paper details a unique refurbishment operation that extended the units’ life and reliability by several years and consisted in removing and restoring the tube protrusions and tube-to-tubesheet joints at the bottom tubesheet by shortening the stripper length of 40mm.

As a further added value, the bottom tubesheet was not just restored to the original condition, but the tube protrusion was increased from the original 5mm that used to be the standard at the time the units’ were manufactured to the modern standard of 18mm, and the tube-to-tubesheet joints were welded by state-of-the-art automatic orbital GTAW procedure.

The whole job was performed in-situ without removing the strippers from their position, at a cost of roughly 10% that of a new unit.

Mauro Orsini, CEO, Axo Welding
Ishwar Chandra Jha, Executive Director, IFFCO AONLA

13:35 - 14:15
How an high quality lubricant maintenance program may improve compressor performance and reliability

Compressors are an important machinery asset in the production of fertilizers and are integral in their ammonia and nitric acid production lines. Reliable compressor performance is dependent upon having a high quality, well maintained lubricant. These compressor lubricants are placed under a lot of thermal stress and may be exposed to process gases, which can cause rapid fluid deterioration. These chemical changes in the lubricant manifest themselves into mechanical challenges in the compressor set, such as vibration, bearing temperature increases and valve sticking in hydraulically manipulated controls.

This paper examines the nexus between these chemical changes in the fluid and mechanical impacts to the machinery. Furthermore, best-practice condition monitoring strategies and maintenance actions are suggested for integration into a fertilizer plant’s reliability program.

Filippo Colucci, Regional Sales Manager Europe, Fluitec

13:50 - 14:30
ShiftMax® 217 – Safe operations under harsh conditions

This abstract will describe an incident within OCI-Geleen involving the Low Temperature Shift catalyst vessels and this unit's safe operations after severe watering occurred.

OCI Nitrogen in Geleen, The Netherlands was operating ShiftMax®  217 since 2012, and in November 2015 they faced a severe condensation issue in their LTS converter. OCI and Clariant worked closely and diligently to understand the cause of the wetting of the complete catalyst bed. A special dry-out and start-up procedure were implemented to minimize damage to the catalyst. Despite the severe incident, only a minor change in the temperature profile and no rise in pressure drop over the catalyst bed could be observed. The catalyst will be replaced in 2020 after 8 years of runtime. 

Furthermore, the presentation will entail an outlook on the next generation of Clariant Low Temperature Shift Catalysts, ShiftMax® 217 Plus.

Christoph Krinninger, Sales Account Manager, Clariant
Andy Vluggen, Plant Performance Engineer / Project Manager, OCI Nitrogen

14:30 - 15:10
Commissioning of a new design for KBR converter retrofit: challenges, difficulties and solutions

Fertial Spa have successfully revamped their Kellogg ammonia plant in Arzew during the 2019. The main objective for this project was to improve energy efficiency of the unit by way of reducing synthesis loop pressure from 145 bar to 110 bar as well as increasing ammonia production by 20%.

Among variety of modifications, ammonia converter 105-D was retrofitted by KBR from original four axial beds quench converter (so called bottle-shaped) to a three-bed three interchanger axial-radial flow design with a total change of the reactor internals to a new design. The new KBR vertical 3 bed axial-radial arrangement utilises the same 3rd bed series arrangement (Beds 3A/3B) which is a feature of the KBR horizontal converters.

Over the implementation period of the project, Fertial faced several challenges particularly on ammonia converter that included very limited confined space inside the reactor required to carry out interchanger and basket installations, welding procedure, catalyst loading, etc. Over this period Fertial followed strictly safety standards on permit issuing procedure including risk analysis on confined space entry to eliminate or minimize potential risks.

Another important challenge faced by Fertial was the mindset of operation staff who had been running the original 4-axial bed quench converter for the last 35 years and new converter configuration was totally different. That mindset together with uncertainty on catalyst bed temperature indicators’ location and readings was mainly the challenge during initial commissioning of the unit including catalyst reduction. .

Eventually ammonia converter was successfully commissioned and soon hit 100% load at 110 bar.

Mohammed Bendjana, Regional Sales Manager, Johnson Matthey
Sofaine Rachi, Head of Process and investment project Department, Fertial

14:35 - 15:15
Highly efficient catalysts reduce nitrous oxide emissions from nitric acid production

When basic chemicals such as nitric acid are produced for fertilizers, the process releases nitrous oxide into the atmosphere as a byproduct. This greenhouse gas has roughly 300 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide and is thereby a major factor in global warming. More than 60 million tons of nitric acid are produced around the world annually, with an estimated 500,000 tons of nitrous oxide generated as a byproduct – equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions from over 60 million mid-sized cars.

An innovative catalyst system thus offers a suitable, well-established system solution for reducing nitrous oxide emissions to lowest emission limits. Highly efficient catalysts from Heraeus and Lukasiewicz Research Network – New Chemical Syntheses Institute can significantly reduce nitrous oxide emissions up to 95%. Heraeus and Lukasiewicz Research Network – New Chemical Syntheses Institute are installing as partners this reduction technology in existing nitric acid plants around the world.  

Heraeus offers the possibility to reduce N2O emissions by primary abatement. Due to our well-known FTC-technology, the primary N2O abatement with the catalytic gauze system is fully customizable, making it suitable for full, as well as for partial loads. Therefore, the system helps our customers to meet the latest abatement requirements in the demanding N2O emission markets in combination with secondary or tertiary solutions. Besides catalytic gauzes, Heraeus offers together with its partner Lukasiewicz Research Network – New Chemical Syntheses Institute Secondary Catalyst Systems for further N2O emission reduction.

This presentation will show examples of success of reduced N2O emissions at high process efficiency values in Europe. These successful results could be achieved with the combination of Heraeus reliable Gauze Catalyst System and high-quality Secondary Catalyst from Lukasiewicz Research Network – New Chemical Syntheses Institute.

These innovative catalyst systems highly support to reach the global climate goals and help for the fight against global warming. 

Oliver Henkes, Senior Technical Service Manager, Heraeus Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG

15:15 - 15:55
Neutralization process control in ammonium nitrate reactor using excess of ammonia and nitric acid sensor

Control of pH is of extreme importance in the neutralization reaction process of Nitric Acid and Ammonia to produce Ammonia Nitrate. Many accidents, including explosions with fatalities, have been reported related to problems in the pH control of Ammonia Nitrate reactors. The state of the art for this control is a standard pH probe measuring pH of a sample, usually at 10% of concentration and at a temperature lower than 100oC. The sample needs to be diluted and refrigerated to avoid crystallization and damage in the pH electrode. Based on the sampling system, the pH measure is delayed, it is quite unreliable and attention-demanding; typical failures of the system are crystallization of the sample, uncontrolled dilution water, uncontrolled cooling and delays of the response.
In Fertiberia-Sagunto the pH control of the reaction is of greater importance due to the designed working conditions at high temperature (180oC) and at low pH (close to 1). The original pH control (standard system plus tritrometer) was not safe enough and caused many problems in the pH control system of the reactor. Fertiberia has installed a new control system concept based on sensors that measure free nitric acid or ammonia content. They are installed directly in the exit pipe of ammonium nitrate solution from reaction, at high temperature. This system gives an instant response of the excess content of the reactants, without delays and directly translatable to pH. One year of operation have proved the reliability of this control system and the consistency of the results.

15:25 - 16:05
Successful application of a selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) system for NOx emissions reduction in a Steam Methane Reformer

Recent regulations have required Syngas producers and other refinery/petrochemical end-users to tighten Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions from fired heaters, which has prompted end users to explore best available options for their application to achieve NOx emission reductions for their existing furnaces with minimal modifications. There are several methods of NOx reduction in furnaces that can be considered, such as mechanical or process changes that reduce the creation of NOx, installation of Low NOx burners, Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), and Selective Non-catalytic Reduction system. Selection of the correct technology(s) to achieve the required emission limits must consider numerous variables such as cost of installation, shutdown time, operation and potential production limitations or bottlenecks, etc. Often, a combination of technologies results in the most favorable solution. Both SCR and SNCR systems use ammonia (in aqueous or anhydrous form) to reduce NOx emissions. For each system there are considerations that determine the capability of achieving the targeted NOx and ammonia (NH3) slip such as the temperature range for effective reaction, the pressure drop available, the ability to mix the reactants, and the residence time at appropriate temperature. Historically, the application of an SNCR system for NOx reduction in Steam Methane Reformers (SMRs) – the type of fired heater discussed in this paper – has been limited for the above reasons. However, advances in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Modeling have allowed for study and experimentation of the variables involved in determining suitability for a particular installation that BD Energy Systems has successfully executed. This presentation and paper discusses the history of a particular SMR and a CFD study to determine the suitability of an SNCR system for required NOx emission reduction and NH3 slip, and optimization of the design that resulted in a successful installation and performance.
Alfred Faller, Technical Service Manager, BD Energy Systems
Daniel Barnett, Vice President of Engineering, BD Energy Systems

16:05 - 16:45
Installation of an early warning solution for gas leaks at OCI, CHEMELOT

Ammonia is one of the best-known chemicals regarding safety measures for handling and storage in order to prevent hazardous releases. Yet no reliable measures have been developed for early warning and situation assessment in case of such incidents. The inherent risk was taken into account upon construction of todays facilities. Many of which are at least 40 to 60 years old. But growing productivity demands and ever-growing neighbouring cities constantly increased this risk. Warning for ammonia releases becomes an ever more urgent problem considering increasing worldwide demands for ammonia. And the prospect of ammonia playing a major role in the transportation and storage of hydrogen fuel as green fuel  will eventually catapult the demand for ammonia storage and ammonia production to new heights .

Automated early detection of gas leaks and tracking of moving gas clouds in case of an incident – this combination of risk prevention and incident mitigation was the design task for the early warning solution that was installed at CHEMELOT chemical park in Geleen, The Netherlands. In the first phase the scanfeld early warning solution safeguards the OCI melamine and urea complex. The site in close vicinity to a densely populated campus requires the warning of a release incident at any point within minutes. Once ammonia is in the air, the propagation of the moving cloud must be tracked and mapped live until it reaches the fence. The remote monitoring solution covers large areas and can locate a gas anywhere within sight. The early warning solution is based on spectroscopic analysis (FTIR spectroscopy) that allows safe identification and mapping of hundreds of different chemicals – both flammable and toxic – from large distances of up to 4 km.

While the detection and visualization of an ammonia cloud was the primary target of the first phase installation, the design goal of the solution is to eventually cover the entire CHEMELOT north site. By the time of the Ammonia Safety Symposium we will be able to show the first results.

René Braun, CEO, Grandperspective GmbH

16:10 - 16:50
1500 MTD NA plant commissioning and start-up with remote assistance during Covid-19 pandemic

Casale is the licensor and the EPC contractor of a 1500 MTD Nitric Acid plant in Navoiy, Uzbekistan.

The last phase of the site installation and the subsequent commissioning and start-up were successfully completed during the unexpected COVID 19 pandemic. The consequent strict restrictions on traveling imposed forced Casale and the End-user to think creatively and rapidly devise and implement creative approaches to accomplish the last phases of the project.

A reduced Casale staff at site granted the minimum necessary operability, while the Casale head office the manufacturers of key equipment  provided  assistance and support remotely.

This paper reviews such history of a successful plant start up despite the difficulties caused by Covid-19.
Giovanna Roviello, Senior Process Engineer, Casale SA
Luca Frediani, Senior Machinery Engineer, Casale SA

16:45 - 17:25
VDM Alloy 699 XA considerations on weldability: heat treatments, mechanical properties, and behavior under metal dusting conditions

A successful solution of current process challenges including the increase of efficiency degree is not possible without new materials. VDM® Alloy 699 XA is a newly developed alloy for application in the chemical process industry (CPI) exhibiting an excellent resistance under metal dusting conditions. Remarkable increase of metal dusting corrosion resistance in combination with its excellent workability, especially regarding the production of seamless tubes, makes this alloy a high potential candidate for CPI applications. However, not only end application properties such as corrosion resistance are a key indicator for a materials performance; an equally fundamental requirement is the user-friendly weldability of the material, which allows complex constructions under high restraint conditions, or maintenance by easy weld repair, which finally guarantees a long material life.

This paper is focused on the welding aspects, investigation of the properties of welds, and their performance under metal dusting conditions. Additionally, the impact of a post weld heat treatment (PWHT) on mechanical properties as well as a surface treatment of the weld-joint before exposed to metal dusting conditions are shown. These results should help dimensioning of weld constructions and maintenance work routine. In this connection, two welding procedure qualifications similar to ASME Sec. IX or ISO 15614-1, with and without a PWHT at 980°C/ 3 hours are discussed. Depending on the construction considerations and the application temperature, the PWHT helps to prevent a possible risk of stress relaxation cracking.  Moreover, besides investigations of microstructure and mechanical properties of welds, the influence of the surface treatment such as grinding or brushing of the weld and its effect on the mass loss under metal dusting conditions are studied and quantified. It was found that weld ground with grid 60 reduces the mass loss significantly in comparison to a brushed surface.

Tatiana Hentrich, Application Engineer Sales Oil & Gas and Additive Manufacturing,, VDM Metals International

16:50 - 17:05
The operation results of new PGM catchment filters type in UKL-7 plants

Krastsvetmet engineers have developed a unified design of platinum group metals (PGMs) catchment filters for UKL-7 units, which is installed in the existing oxidizer. The design was developed using CFD-modeling tools and has a number of advantages compared to standard filters, namely, a low pressure drop and high PGM catchment efficiency.
The results of industrial operation have indicated that the new design of the filters allowed to increase the amount of captured precious metals by almost 2.5 times in comparison with existing filters, while ensuring the PGM recovery rate at 30% of the primary PGM losses, and the low pressure drop allows maintaining the filters during an annual run without limiting plant capacity.

Alexander Dyukov, Head of Nitrogen Business, JSC Krastsvetmet

09:00 - 09:40
Failure of a 316H stainless steel HP steam superheater header

In April 2019, a syngas plant suffered a major failure of the steam superheater outlet header. The header suffered a rupture of a longitudinal seam  weld. The extremely rapid loss of containment resulted in significant damage to surrounding equipment and infrastructure. By good fortune, there were no personnel in the vicinity of the equipment at the time and no injuries occurred. There is no doubt however, that anyone close to the equipment would have been in severe danger and fatalities could have been expected. The incident resulted in a major plant outage lasting many weeks before the plant could be restarted.

The HP steam superheater in question is located in the convection section of the primary reformer. It is the first coil to be exposed to the flue gas exiting the reformer radiant section. The inlet and outlet headers were identical in design. It was the higher temperature outlet header that failed.  The header was orientated vertically and was located in a box on the side of the convection section duct. The box was separated from the main duct by a non-gas tight tube sheet. It is anticipated that flue gas flow through the header box would have been minimal. The operating temperature would therefore have been strongly controlled by the steam temperature. A review of DCS data indicated that no abnormal conditions had been experienced prior to the failure.

Similarly, the design of the header was found to comply with the requirements of the ASME code. This paper describes the investigation into the failure mechanism and the cause of the failure. The operating conditions meant that the possibly more obvious damage mechanisms such as creep and fatigue could be readily discounted. Similarly, corrosion mechanisms such as stress corrosion cracking were not credible due to the absence of a corrosive media. The most credible damage mechanism was stress relaxation cracking. There were however a number of factors that did not fit with the commonly accepted understanding of this mechanism.

The investigation focussed on the material of construction, 316H stainless steel, the fabrication method and the morphology of the fracture. The findings have resulted in significant design modifications to the replacement header that were made with the intention of eliminating this damage mechanism.

Charles Thomas, , Quest Integrity Group

09:20 - 10:00
Wooden cooling tower structural rehabilitation at Ammonia/Urea complex

Engro fertilizers limited is one of the leading urea manufacturers  in Pakistan. This paper comprehends structural rehabilitation of a 1960’s vintage wooden cooling tower at Engro’s Ammonia urea complex, relocated from Pascagoula, USA to Daharki, Pakistan in 1992. Subject cooling tower is of cross flow type, has capacity of 50,000 GPM with 06 cells and a common cold-water basin.

This paper describes the details of structural health assessment of the load bearing components of wooden cooling tower by destructive testing of selected samples and finite element analysis. Effect of cooling water chemistry and fungal attack on red wood is also discussed. Results are interpreted and translated into viable solution of strengthening the cooling tower structure by custom designed Fiber glass reinforced plastic (FRP) elements. Paper highlights the on-stream execution methodology adopted to ensure plant operation with no compromise on safety in a real challenging situation where 12 feet of cold-water basin filled with water at all times. this paper also entails the other Engineering and safety challenges faced during execution for benefit of other industries planning to execute similar jobs.

Structural strengthening of wooden cooling tower by FRP components has resulted in enhanced reliability of the structure which is evident by significant decrease in vibration of cooling tower fans and by elimination of sway in cooling tower. Beside the increase in reliability, the modification has also helped in increasing thermal efficiency of cooling tower by 8% resulting in more efficient plant operation.

Syed Muhammad Usman Aslam, Manager Civil Engineering, Engro Fertilizers

09:40 - 10:20
2000 MTPD Ammonia Plant with KBR Purifier™ Technology: How to improve energy efficiency and how to resolve a performance decline of Purifier package

PT Petrokimia Gresik, a fertilizer company in Indonesia, recently established a new 2000 MTPD capacity of ammonia plant with KBR PurifierTM Technology, and It was commissioned in 2018. During 2 years operation period, the overall plant was running fairly well however 2 main issues occurred: higher consumption energy and a limitation on plant utilization due to the performance decline of the purifier package.

The main problem of energy efficiency was caused by higher steam consumption than designed condition related to air compressor turbine where the vacuum pressure of surface condenser tended to be high since the commissioning period and it was successfully resolved in early 2020, while the decline in purifier performance began in mid-2019 (after the first turnaround) and it was successfully recovered by rapid decompression blow in June 2020.

This paper will describe how to reduce the steam consumption of the air compressor turbine by about 10 tph or equal to 0.38 MMBTU/Ton and how to restore the ammonia production rate which fell by about 8% and loss ammonia reaction inside the Ammonia Converter in extremely case due to the performance decline of purifier package. Several alternatives to find the best solution has been tried to overcome these issues. Since the purifier package is the heart of the ammonia KBR PurifierTM plant, these valuable experiences will be shared among the users or potential users who use or who have attracted a similar technology.

Ahmad Dzakil Fikri, Superintendent, PT. Petrokimia Gresik
Aditya Sigit Prasetya, Vice Superintendent, PT. Petrokimia Gresik

10:00 - 10:40
Overcoming chronic operational challenges of 1.3 MT single train Ammonia-Urea complex

Engro Fertilizes Limited is one of the leading urea manufacturers of Pakistan, producing 2 Million tons per annum, which fulfills one third of country’s urea demand. The company carries more than five decades rich experience of operating ammonia-urea fertilizer complexes. It has two plants, and its newly commissioned plant started prilling in 2010.

Since commissioning, the plant has undergone through various challenges which included  high pressure super-heater steam coil damage, secondary reformer effluent waste heat boiler leakage, frequent fouling of process air machine and other steam turbines, condensate polisher issues, cooling water mal-distribution, change in feed-stock composition leading to installation of feed gas enrichment unit. These pleading problems have not only resulted in production loss but also demanded capital-intensive solutions.

Extensive efforts have been carried out for their resolution. Engro’s engineering team devised in-house solutions through rigorous modeling and simulations covering steady state and transient conditions. Moreover, liaison with seasoned consultants was made and OEM inputs were solicited for root cause analysis.

This paper explicates the solutions adopted to overcome these chronic issues and shares our lessons learnt.

Adnan Ali, Deputy Manager Process Engineering, Engro Fertilizers

10:35 - 11:15
Comprehensive incident management on natural gas pipe leaks: Case study in PT. Kaltim Parna Industri

A natural gas pipeline leak occurred on an Ammonia Plant. The direct cause of the failure was corrosion on the pipe surface which results in holes in the pipe around 2 millimeters of diameter. Plant management took a series of comprehensive actions to resolve the incident and maintain plant operations. The incident was manageable and the plant still running on safe conditions.

The paper focusing on discussing the act during the incident, how to prevent escalation of the hazard, operational stabilization, mitigation scenario, resolution, and recovery action. Safety mitigation conducted to manage and control the hazardous gas by installing a gas ejector to direct the gas to a safe place (vent stack). Several safety equipment installed on the site such as portable fire monitor, fire extinguisher, and fire curtain. Operational mitigation includes reviewing a number of possible scenarios, starting from if the leakage increases until when a fire is formed. Each scenario has its own set of work procedures that must be carried out during the emergency. Mechanical mitigation carried out to maintain the mechanical integrity of the pipe and prevent further failure by installing a box clamp. Then the next recovery plan is to replace the damaged pipe and conduct a more stringent corrosion monitoring program around the area.

Comprehensive actions taken have been able to maintain plant operating conditions at a safe level without unscheduled shutdown. Incident management is necessary to prevent further problems. Even a small problem that couldn’t be managed well, could lead to catastrophe.

Ardyan Kusuma Jaya, Process Engineering Superintendent,, Kaltim Parna Industri, PT

10:55 - 11:35
Wet Electrostatic Precipitator (WESP) dedusting for AN/CAN based fertilizer plant

Many industries may be required to reduce the amount of particulates they release into the environment.  These requirements typically depend on application field, location of plants, type and quantity of dust.

The technologies for the dedusting of industrial plants are as follows:

  • Scrubbers
  • Filters
  • ESP
  • Wet ESP
  • Dry ESP

The Standard technology used for Fertilizer industry are Scrubbers and Filters.

Scrubbers are mainly involved in plant where required removal efficiency is quite low, due to the high consumption of energy. Filters are mainly involved in plant with low flow rate to be treated and not sticky dust.

Dry ESP technology is massively used in power plant technologies and metallurgical industry, as a final dedusting system for off gases.

Up to now, Wet ESP technology is well adopted in off gas mist SO2 and SO3 treatment plants.

Generally ESP technology is a Low Operation Cost, high efficiency, low pressure drop and temperature resistance technology.

Low maintenance effort is the main advantage,  especially if compared to Scrubbers and Filters, that require a huge maintenance protocol based on replacement of filtering media and cleaning activities.

Disadvantages would be related only to the  high investment cost and relatively huge dimension of plants.

The New project for a new CAN/ASN fertilizers production plant was conditionally approved by Czech state authorities in 2013. The outlet dust limit was strictly set by environment Authority to the level below 8 mg/Nm3, and no water discharges were admitted, even if disposed to water treatment plants.

The Company Lovochemie a.s. chose to adopt the WET ESP technology, even if there was no references worldwide, on fertilizer plants. No application of WET-ESP in fertilizer industry was known.

In 2013 the project for a new production line started. In 2016 order for Wet ESP was placed to AWS Corporation S.r.L.

The Wet ESP technology was "ad hoc" designed in order to match a good combination between operation costs, reliability of operations, efficiency, safety and zero emission philosophy.

In 2017 the gas treatment plant was started-up successfully.

Alessandro Gullà, Sales Manager & Marketing Coordinator, A.W.S. CORPORATION SRL

11:15 - 11:55
Advance Process Control (APC): Striving for real time optimization at 2194MTPD Ammonia plant

Engro fertilizer, a pioneer in fertilizer sector of Pakistan, has been operating Ammonia Urea Complex for over 50 years. This paper encompasses Advance process controller (APC) installation at Ammonia unit of one of the largest single train Ammonia-Urea complex having capacity 3835 MTPD of urea in collaboration with IPCOS, the market leader in APC installation across the globe.

This paper details the various steps involved in APC implementation starting from pre-testing, challenges faced during DCS modifications done on stream without hindering plant operation and commissioning experience of APC without single process upset on one of the largest ammonia plants. It also highlights the aspects that need to be taken into account to ensure successful installation and operation of APC after commissioning.

After commissioning of the system, the data analysis indicated great stabilization in plant operation giving consistent ammonia production with breaking the highest ever single day ammonia production number in history of Engro’s plant operation. Moreover, because of limitation on waste heat boiler duty, APC greatly managed to keep all operating parameters within limits defined by boiler vendor to ensure safe plant operation while reaping maximum benefits available.

Safi Ullah Khan, , Engro Fertilizers

11:35 - 12:15
Why does industrial NH3 oxidation require complex gauze structures? A CFD modelling approach leading to a better catalytic gauze and reactor design

In the last three decades the advent of the fast computers combined with the development of accurate numerical algorithms for solving physical and chemical problems allows us the performing of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations on complex industrial catalytic gauzes and large flow distribution simulation for industrial reactors with included detailed surface kinetics. Motivated by large industrial importance heterogeneous catalytic oxidation of ammonia with oxygen on Pt/Rh gauzes (first step of nitric acid production in the Ostwald process) is a perfect example for the application of aforementioned technique. The production of nitric acid via Ostwald process is one of the largest and most important industrial processes in the field of basic chemicals with an annual world production of over 80 million tons [1]. Despite numerous publications, there seems to be no published work that applies the existing reaction mechanisms in a flow simulation of the platinum gauze reactor. Since the reaction is known to be strongly heat- and mass transfer controlled, simulations which combine the surface chemistry, flow, diffusion and heat conduction are the key to the better understanding of the process and developing of new catalyst and optimization of the whole process of nitric acid production.

A mechanistic model of ammonia oxidation on platinum previously published by Kraehnert and Baerns was implemented in a CFD simulation using the rate mapping approach. Simulations were performed for industrially used gauzes produced by Umicore. The main results obtained by the simulations can be summarized as follows

  • Realistic temperature and concentration distribution in gauze package.
  • The N2O Selectivity varies along the perimeter of each wire. The front side of the wire has a higher selectivity as a rear side.
  • In a complex industrial gauze, the selectivity on the individual wires depends on the relative position of the wires in the gauze pack and is determined by local mass transfer effects.

Finally, the simulations have shown, that the complex industrial gauzes designs have lower N2O selectivity compared to conventional woven gauzes (Figure 2).

Furthermore, it was possible to perform simulations of the industrial scale reactor including the chemical reactions in the catalytic zone obtaining suitable results. To tackle the challenge of different scales of gauze (µm scale) and ammonia oxidation reactor (m scale), the kinetics of a simplified gauze geometry have been investigated and the results have been stored in look-up tables. Then, the results of fluid calculations of the process gas inside the reactor have been coupled to the look-up tables to examine the consequences of the gas flow distribution in the reactor. 

The current study provides for the first time CFD simulation coupled with detailed surface kinetic mechanism of ammonia oxidation on complex industrial gauzes and in the industrial ammonia burner. It can explain the observed influence of the geometry on the performance of the catalytic gauze. 

As a result of implementation of this modelling approach a novel enhanced catalyst has been developed with increased efficiency and lower N2O emission.

Artur Wiser, Manager Product and Process Development, Umicore
Johannes Dammeier, Senior Process Engineer, thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions

12:10 - 12:50
Digital solutions for fertilizer plants

Digital products and services provided by thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions combine the vast engineering and process know-how gathered as EPC contractor during decades of engineering and commissioning of process plants worldwide with state-of-the-art data-driven methods and artificial intelligence. Objective is to provide solutions for the operational challenges our customers face and to achieve a continuous and measurable improvement of their plant, e. g. by increasing reliability and uptime, optimizing efficiency and production as well as improving the overall operation and maintenance planning.

Connectivity to the plant using thyssenkrupp’s data logger and optional data storage in our cloud are the basis for our digital products and services, e. g. remote condition monitoring. Our process experts and data scientists analyze the data and provide regular reports including recommendations for operation and maintenance. Optimization potential is determined using a digital twin of the plant.

Additionally, thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions offers a set of operator training sessions with different key aspects. Using the ammonia plant simulator, the operator can learn how to react in critical situations, such as trips or failures, and also test the reaction of the plant to different scenarios without any risk.

With the best digital services, thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions can help to analyze, stabilize and optimize the customers plant during its lifetime.

Dr. Katja Poschlad, Process Engineer, thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions AG

12:50 - 13:30
Increase your profit with advanced technical service

Chemical plant processes are complex and filled with potential sources of inefficiency. In today’s competitive landscape, minimizing these sources has become more and more important to be a successful player on the market. One way to minimize inefficiency is continuous optimization, which is something that can be built in the daily routines with procedures for monitoring of the firing of the reformer and temperature optimizations in the ammonia converter as examples. Other activities require in-depth knowledge and specific experience, a knowledge that is possible to get by partnering with a company that can offer both process and catalyst know-how, a company like Haldor Topsoe A/S.

An Asian ammonia producer struggled with some bottlenecks limiting their production. After performing a plant optimization together with a team of Topsoe engineers, it was possible to increase the production by 3%. This boost in production, which meant higher profits with no additional investments, was the result of a successful collaboration between the customer and Topsoe.

Operation at a loop pressure higher than design costs energy resources, and this was something an Indian ammonia producer had identified. Unable to pinpoint the root cause, they reached out to Topsoe for help. A team of Topsoe specialists helped identifying the reason and after the problem had been rectified, the loop pressure decreased by 4 bar and back to the expected level.

New times require new ways of thinking. In the light of the current challenging Covid-19 situation, Topsoe has developed remote services in order to assist customers, also when it is not possible to travel. This includes assistance with loadings, activations, and start-ups. We would now like to take the opportunity to share how advanced technical services, performed remotely or at site, can help decreasing downtime and increasing profit.

Johan Jönsson, Technical Service Manager, Haldor Topsoe

13:50 - 14:30
Industrial heat pump applied in a distillation process – A case history of energy efficient methanol stripping using MVR technology

Thermal separation processes like distillation require high energy inputs. Industrial heat pumps utilizing Mechanical Vapors Recompression (MVR) Blower technology unlock process energy savings. This case study shows how incorporating MVR Blowers reduces CO2 emissions and energy costs in a methanol stripping process.

There are different types of heat pumps using absorption, chemical systems and compression cycles. The compression cycles are differentiated into closed loops – the classic heat pump cycle – and the semi-open loops: thermal vapor recompression (TVR) and mechanical vapor recompression (MVR).

Waste heat recovery in industrial processes covers methods to re-use lost heat from industrial processes. The selection of heat recovery methods and techniques largely depends on key factors such as the quality, quantity and the nature of heat sources in terms of suitability and effectiveness. The identification of the waste heat sources is an important aspect when looking into heat recovery methods for industrial processes in order to achieve optimum results and efficiency. Heat pumps are devices for heat recovery shifting waste heat up to a useful temperature level and thus creating new potentials for energy savings.

The goal of implementing an industrial heat pump is to recover waste heat from the chemical plant to significantly improve overall efficiencies and to recycle it for process heating. Therefore, PILLER offers two solutions: the direct compression of process vapor by MVR blower technology and the compression of low-pressure steam generated by the waste heat source.

An MVR system compresses vapors evaporated from the process itself. The pressure rise of the compressed vapor increases the condensation temperature. This allows to reuse the heat of vaporization for process heating. For distillation columns the compressed overhead vapor is usually directed to the reboiler, supplying the column with heat.

In MVR processes, turbo blowers are often favored over turbo compressors due to higher reliability, easier integration, shorter lead times, lower investment and maintenance cost. PILLER is specialized in MVR Blower Technology with more than 3,500 installations worldwide. The presentation will outline the latest achievements.

Case Study: High energy efficiency methanol stripping with MVR technology

With an annual production of over 100 million tons, methanol is currently one of the most important basic chemicals worldwide. About 85% of it is used as starting material for synthetic products or as a solvent. The rest is used in the energy sector as fuel or a fuel additive. Besides the raw material input, the purification process is energy consuming and cost intensive.

This case study focuses on a methanol stripping process. By implementing an industrial heat pump, based on the PILLER MVR Blower technology, energy cost savings and a reduction of CO2 emissions can be achieved. In figures, this means a COP of 6.3 and reducing the final energy consumption by 84 % compared to single stage column with live steam heated reboiler.

Dr. Steffen Kuberczyk, Global Sales Director, Piller Blowers & Compressors GmbH

14:30 - 15:10
New Cold-End Heat Exchanger for furnaces for the exhaust temperature reduction below the acid dew point

The current penalties imposed to CO2 emissions force industries to reduce the exhaust temperature to 90-100°C, which results in the raise of the furnace’s efficiency by at least 3-5%. APEX Group presents a solution for this new challenge, by using our new polymer composite plate-type Heat Exchanger.

In industrial processes, heat exchangers are often applied as air preheaters for furnaces, which constitutes as the process heart of an industrial plant. For example, in syngas, ammonia, methanol and hydrogen plants, Steam-methane Reformers (SMR) are widely used. And due to the pre-heated air, the efficiency of the combustion process is greatly increased. Overall, the installation of a heat exchanger as part of a  furnaces system (e.g. SMR) considerably reduces the operational expenses (OpEx) and CO2 emissions due to a lower fuel consumption. The Heat Exchangers are usually designed to have a minimum metal temperature close to, but above the acid dew point (in the range of 120 - 140°C) to avoid condensation of H2SO4 and as a result corrosion of the heat transfer surface. Presently, due to the strict restriction on CO2 emission, the exhaust temperature is forced to be reduced to 90-100 ?. At these temperatures being well below the acid dew point, the condensation of H2SO4 on the heat transfer surface of the air preheater is unavoidable. 

The concept of further reduction of the flue gas temperature was, up to now, limited due to material issues. We applied our in-house expertise from over 500 plate-type heat exchangers in the past 20 years to develop a highly efficient plate-type heat exchanger from a polymer composite resistant against acid corrosion. The new developed Cold-End Heat Exchanger will be able to lower exhaust temperature to a new level.

The presentation will describe the new polymer composite plate-type heat exchanger in detail and will discuss the necessary requirements for the implementation of such. 

APEX Group designs, sells and constructs heavy-duty plate-type Heat Exchangers for handling large volumes of gases for heat recovery and gas treatment applications. The operation principle consists of cold gases (e.g. air) and hot gases (e.g. flue gas) flowing through alternating parallel channels in a cross or (most efficiently) countercurrent arrangement.

Dr. Jens Kitzhofer, R&D Manager, APEX Research B.V.

16:05 - 16:45
Innovative ammonia-methanol co-production process from world leaders

This paper describes the groundbreaking ammonia-methanol co-production process developed and licenced by KBR and JM, that combines their market-leading ammonia and methanol technologies.


The co-production process is based on well-proven technologies utilizing KBR’s proprietary PURIFIER™ ammonia process and JM’s methanol process. Both KBR’s ammonia technology and JM’s methanol technology showcase a long history, deep experience, continuous improvements and leading-edge performance. KBR has licensed, engineered or constructed 244 ammonia plants worldwide.  JM has supplied the methanol industry with leading technology and catalysts for over 45 years and has licensed over 100 grassroots methanol plants during this period.

Ammonia is primarily used in the production of urea for fertilizer, with methanol and its derivative products primarily used to produce formaldehyde, acrylic and other polymers, synthetic fabrics, adhesives, paints, fuels and other products in pharmaceuticals and agrichemicals. The co-production of methanol and ammonia in a single plant offers many advantages including reduced capital expenditures (CAPEX) and lower operating expenses (OPEX).

The KBR and JM co-production process makes the most of the possible synergies between the two processes, maximizing the savings in CAPEX and OPEX while offering the highest levels of safety, flexibility and reliability.

In addition to the new Ammonia-Methanol Co-Production process development for new builds at world scale the two companies have considered process modification schemes that allow existing ammonia plants to produce methanol which can be desirable for on-site UFC manufacture at remote sites as UFC import is otherwise  constantly a need in the urea granulation process.

John Brightling, , Johnson Matthey

16:45 - 17:25
Combine modern tower packing and rate based simulation to accurately predict performance

The removal of acid gases is an important step in the ammonia and syngas processes.  Improved modeling and performance of absorbers and regenerators can be achieved with rate based mass transfer algorithms and the latest random packing technology.  Rate based models overcome the deficiencies of equilibrium based calculations such as the need to estimate deviation from true equilibrium and packing or tray efficiency.  RATEFRAC® software models the actual mass transfer column internals, not just a theoretical representation. 

The lasted advancements in random packing have resulted in improved effective surface area for mass transfer, higher capacity and lower pressure drop compared to previous generations.  These benefits can be used to reduce tower size and cost or increase throughput.  The differences between equilibrium and rate based models will be presented as well as a brief overview of the RATEFRAC® software.  The software will be used to highlight the performance improvements that can be achieved using the latest generation INTALOX® ULTRA random packing.

Patrick Quotson, Product Manager, Packed Tower Systems, Koch-Glitch