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11.01.2012  |  Blume, Adrienne ,  Hydrocarbon Processing Staff, Houston, TX

Keywords: [biodiesel] [alternative fuels] [cyber security] [safety] [software] [valves] [water treatment] [petrochemicals] [ethylene]

Neste Oil makes progress on microbial oil plant

Finland’s Neste Oil recently completed the first phase of a pilot plant for producing microbial oil. The €8 million plant is expected to be completed in the second half of 2012. Commercial-scale production is anticipated by 2015, at the earliest.

The first phase will enable the growth of oil-producing microorganisms, and the following phases will concentrate on raw material pretreatment and oil recovery. The goal is to develop the technology so that it is capable of yielding commercial volumes of sustainable, efficient microbial oil for use as a feedstock for NExBTL renewable diesel.

The technology uses yeast and fungi in bioreactors to efficiently convert sugars from waste and residues into oil. A wide range of different materials can be used, such as straw and sidestreams from the pulp and paper industry, which makes feedstock optimization possible.

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Honeywell enhances cyber defense software

Honeywell has announced a certified application control and whitelisting solution to help prevent viruses and malware from attacking its Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) control system platform. Whitelisting (Fig. 1) protects from unwanted intrusions by permitting only applications and executable files that are considered safe and on an “approved list” to run, while blocking everything else.

  Fig. 1. Honeywell’s whitelisting solution circle

Whitelisting solutions have been deployed in business IT environments for years, but their introduction into automation control systems is relatively new. Two major Honeywell control systems customers have been extensively piloting the solution through rigorous testing in specialized, mission-critical environments and providing feedback on their experiences.

The solution is the result of an agreement between Honeywell Process Solutions and technology partner Bit9. Additionally, Honeywell’s Industrial IT Solutions offers a full spectrum of in-depth defense solutions and services to protect automation manufacturers.

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Netherlocks offers online valve testing

Netherlocks’s Fail Action Integrity Test Handling (FAITH) Partial Stroke Test system (Fig. 2) is now able to remotely conduct online tests of emergency shutdown (ESD) and high-integrity pressure protection system (HIPPS) valves. Operators can reduce degradation and ensure the proper operation of emergency valves from the safety of the control room.

  Fig. 2.  The FAITH system
  conducts online tests without
  process interruptions.

The FAITH system uses a simple design for reliable operation, and it integrates into a valve’s static and dynamic couplings. To eliminate the risk of overshoot or process interruption, the system’s mechanical steel blocking pins ensure that valves cannot be operated past the preset test angle. With the new remote testing feature, operators can conduct and monitor partial stroke tests of emergency valves without the need to manually access the FAITH system.

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AbTech wins innovator award

AbTech Holdings Inc., a developer and manufacturer of technologies addressing issues of water pollution and contamination, was recently honored as the 2012 Technology Innovator at the Third Annual World Shale Oil and Gas Summit in Houston, Texas. The award was presented in partnership with the American Gas Association and International Gas Union at the 2012 summit, held September 18–21.

AbTech’s produced water pretreatment systems combine available technologies with systems engineering and AbTech’s Smart Sponge de-oiling technology to remove oil and other contaminants from frac and produced water at natural gas production sites.

The pretreatment system employs a three-stage process for oil recovery, de-oiling and VOC air stripping, offering natural gas producers a complete solution that works with and protects any downstream produced water treatment systems being employed in the field.

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Servomex installs combustion analysis for Shell

Servomex recently installed a solution for combustion analysis on ethylene cracker furnaces at Shell Netherlands Chemie BV. The new flue gas analysis solution, which coincides with a furnace refurbishment program, enables optimization of the combustion control process, leading to improved fuel efficiency and reduced CO emissions.

SERVOTOUGH LaserSP 2900 cross-stack analyzers (Fig. 3) were installed across the 13-meter radiant sections of the ethylene cracker furnaces to monitor both O2 and CO within the flue gas. The LaserSP employs the Tuneable Diode Laser Spectroscopy (TDLS) technique to make a path-averaged measurement of the process gas concentrations close to the burners, enabling rapid process optimization.

  Fig. 3. The SERVOTOUGH
  LaserSP 2900 cross-stack

To protect the analyzer optics, it is common practice to flow purge gas over the windows of TDLS in-situ analyzers. In flue gas measurements, it has been necessary to employ dry N2 as the window purge gas as opposed to instrument air.

However, in partnership with Shell Moerdijk, the infrared scan range of the LaserSP was extended to include additional absorption lines that only appear at temperatures greater than 600°C. By using one of these “hot lines” to monitor the process O2, it is possible to use instrument air as the window purge gas, since the O2 in the instrument air, being colder than 600°C, is no longer detected at the process monitoring “hot” wavelength.

With two LaserSP analyzers installed in-situ on each ethylene furnace for the measurement of 0%–10% O2 and 0 ppm to 1,000 ppm CO, respectively, the combined solution is helping Shell Netherlands Chemie BV optimize process efficiency by reducing fuel consumption and process emissions, as well as by reducing installation and operational costs.

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Software upgrade optimizes crude oil buying

Aspen Technology Inc. recently introduced a new assay management functionality in Aspen PIMS software that optimizes crude oil feedstock purchasing decisions and increases profitability. Aspen PIMS is part of the aspenONE Petroleum Supply Chain software suite.

Traditionally, refinery planners maintain their own assay libraries and use disparate technologies, which can lead to inaccurate and inefficient planning. The new functionality from Aspen Technology now allows planners to add, modify and recut assays directly in Aspen PIMS, thereby enabling them to quickly evaluate more scenarios with greater accuracy.

Aspen PIMS’ assay management capabilities allow users to import assay data from external sources and more efficiently manage their crude feedstocks. Guided, automated workflows increase productivity, while alerts notify planners for the next step in the process to shorten their learning curve.

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Portable analyzer aids in gas quality measurement

In response to requests from customers, Michell Instruments has developed a transportable version of its hydrocarbon dewpoint analyzer (Fig. 4). The key function of the new version is to enable engineers to provide a fast response for investigations into the quality of natural gas, wherever it is needed. It is also certified for use in hazardous areas.

  Fig. 4. Michell Instruments’
  transportable hydrocarbon
  dewpoint analyzer.

The Transportable Condumax II measures hydrocarbon and water dewpoint—key indicators of the quality of natural gas—in the same way and to the same accuracy as the online version. The analyzer is fitted into a robust transport case with a rudimentary sampling system suitable for performing supervised measurement sequences. The ease of use reduces the reaction time of test measurements, as well as the cost.

A typical application for the Transportable Condumax II is an investigation into the performance of hydrocarbon reduction processing by natural gas producers. Gas pipeline transmission operators usually have online hydrocarbon dewpoint analyzers installed at the entry and delivery points of their pipeline network. However, the analyzer allows for quality checks to be made at any point within the pipeline.

Additionally, electricity companies that operate gas turbines need to be sure of the superheat margin between the dewpoint and delivery temperature of the fuel gas to avoid damage caused by liquid condensate in the gas and to avoid environmental levies on emissions. The Transportable Condumax II enables checks of the hydrocarbon and water dewpoint of the natural gas entering the fuel gas system.

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Flame detector obtains certification

The Multi-Spectrum Infrared (MSIR) FL4000H flame detector from General Monitors (Fig. 5) has been certified by the Building Research Establishment Group (BRE Group) to the EN 54-10 standard of the European Construction Products Directive (CPD), a standard recognized worldwide to represent the highest levels of quality for flame-detection devices.

  Fig. 5.  General Monitors’
  Multi-Spectrum Infrared
  (MSIR) FL4000H flame

Certification to the EN 54-10 standard of the European CPD assures General Monitors’ customers that the FL4000H flame detector has undergone rigorous testing and has been determined to meet the highest quality standards. It also makes the FL4000H eligible for use in countries that conform to European safety standards.

Featuring a next-generation MSIR sensor that incorporates neural network technology, the FL4000H provides reliable flame monitoring with false-alarm immunity, a wide field of view, and one of the longest detection ranges available.

The flame detector’s algorithm is based on artificial neural networks that are mathematical models that correlate certain patterns of infrared radiation with the incidence of flame. The optical IR sensor array and the neural network function together as an adaptive and intuitive decision-making mechanism, resulting in a reliable scheme for discrimination between actual flames and false-alarm sources.

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Paralloy to cut petrochemical furnace costs

Doncasters Paralloy is now offering Paralloy H39WM+, developed to increase the performance of petrochemical furnaces while simultaneously reducing furnace operating costs. Stronger and more ductile than its predecessor, Paralloy H39WM+ features enhanced creep strength and carburization resistance, meeting stringent criteria for modern steam reforming furnaces and pyrolysis cracking coils.

Paralloy H39WM+’s properties enable Doncasters Paralloy to offer the tubes with thinner walls, which reduces thermal gradient and, therefore, thermal stresses within the walls on startups and shutdowns. Thinner walls also give improvement in the rate of heat transfer and provide energy savings.

Increases in tube skin temperatures and tube operating pressures offer reformer designers a number of advantages, including the opportunity to explore new chemical reactions in the reformer, the chance to increase the yields of some chemical products, and an increase in overall productivity. HP

Select 9 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS

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