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08.01.2011  | 

Keywords: [syngas] [synthetic fuels] [flow computer] [metering] [delayed coking] [refining technology] [diesel engine] [turbocharger] [gas detectors]

Fischer-Tropsch process commercialization accelerates

The high throughput experimentation (hte) company has extended its collaboration with BP International Ltd. in the field of Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis. The BP Conversion Technology Centre is continuing to work with hte in the field of FT catalysis and process. The FT process is used to convert syngas into synthetic fuels and lubricants, and due to the global resources situation, is gaining importance. Syngas itself can be formed from gaseous or solid-carbon sources such as natural gas, coal or biomass.

hte has provided in-house developed testing capacities, as well as an experienced project team. Over the collaboration period, hte’s technology platform has been continuously refined and advanced for the FT synthesis reaction, allowing BP to perform numerous rapid and precise data measurements in support of catalyst and process scale-up. Used systematically, this data rapidly generates information on reaction kinetics, the fundamentals of startup and activation, and the impact of key process parameters. This builds confidence in BP’s implementation of its FT technology across various potential applications and feedstocks.

BP and its partner Davy Process Technology are now actively looking to license this process to third parties. Using high-throughput methods, the researchers have built the fundamental understanding and kinetic information required to apply their proven FT process to a wide range of project opportunities with greater confidence.

hte’s work in this area makes an important contribution to catalyst quality control. Acting as an independent laboratory, hte evaluates catalyst batches ranging from catalyst powder up to commercial catalyst formulations. BP and hte are now set to extend their successful cooperation in the field of FT for another year.

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Digital flow computer offers improved performance

The Summit 8800 digital flow computer from KROHNE, Inc., features a touch-screen graphic display and is reported to offer dramatic performance, handling and interoperability improvements over standard flow computers. An extensive feature set supports the latest developments in metering, data handling and system maintenance at an extremely competitive price. The Summit 8800 is ideal for various custody and process applications, including metering oil, gas, wet gas, steam and water; bulk chemicals batching; heat-exchanger metering and logging; and more.

Unsurpassed network support allows users to minimize service costs and implement automatic remote metering. Automatic performance monitoring increases accuracy and reduces recalibrations.

The Summit 8800 offers improvements, such as a dedicated microprocessor with a fast ¼-second processing cycle for each input/output (I/O) board, rather than using one shared processor. Internal operations are based on time-tested Application Builder software. A removable multigigabyte memory card stores data with enough capacity for several years of flow information.

Other features include the user-friendly scroll-and-click navigation and touch-screen control; the large, easy-to-read color display, with multicolor traffic-light guidance; and network security is enhanced with multiple, redundant Ethernet ports, while wide-area communication is possible using a range of common protocols.

The digital flow computer’s modular design allows users to plug in up to eight I/O or communication boards as needed for multiple flow streams, analyzers or additional network communications.

  Fig. 1. Summit 8800 digital
  flow computer.  

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Bechtel expands licensing technology portfolio

With the purchase of ConocoPhillips’ leading delayed-coking technology, Bechtel Corp. is said to be uniquely positioned for growth in the refining industry. The ThruPlus delayed-coking technology is a proprietary process for upgrading heavy oil into high-value, light hydrocarbon liquids. The technology was developed and improved by ConocoPhillips during its more than 50 years of owning and operating units. It reportedly achieves higher unit throughput, higher service factors, superior liquid yields and improved unit reliability.

“The purchase of the ThruPlus technology is a natural progression of our work with ConocoPhillips, and it allows us to deliver high-quality, technologically superior coking units, more efficiently and cost effectively,” said Jack Futcher, president of Bechtel’s Oil, Gas and Chemicals unit. “The technology sets Bechtel apart by enhancing our capability to carry a project from concept to completion.”

Bechtel and ConocoPhillips formed an alliance in the 1990s that combined Bechtel’s expertise in engineering, cost optimization, procurement and construction with ConocoPhillips’ operating experience and technology expertise in delayed coking. The new process will be part of Bechtel Hydrogen Technology Solutions, Inc.’s licensed refining technology portfolio.

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Efficient two-stage turbocharging engine

With the market launch of its new, two-stage-turbocharged MAN 18V48/60TS engine, MAN Diesel & Turbo is said to offer increased turbocharging efficiency, contributing to the engine’s overall efficiency and power density. The newly developed HFO-run engine also meets World Bank 2008 guidelines for exhaust emissions at higher efficiency.

  Fig. 2. MAN 18V48/60TS

Two-stage turbocharging is a modular system that enables retrofitting at most MAN Diesel & Turbo 18V48/60 power plants. The introduction of two turbochargers in sequence provides a new dimension in engine performance, NOx reduction and operating flexibility. As such, the 18V48/60TS is said to set a new benchmark for diesel engines in its class.

Just a few modifications differentiate the 18V48/60TS engine from the standard engine. These include:
• Modified fuel-injection nozzles for the higher power-output range
• A three-ring piston with higher compression ratio
• Modified camshaft for enhanced Miller timing
• An additional exhaust-gas bypass valve to avoid smoke during startup.

The high-pressure turbocharger is directly mounted to the engine with the low-pressure turbocharger located upstream on its own steel frame. The combustion-air and exhaust-gas piping between both turbochargers is fitted with compensators, ensuring complete insulation from vibrations.

Turbochargers offer lowest fuel-oil consumption. The excess combustion air from the turbochargers provides greater operating flexibility. The high-charge air pressure can be used for enhanced Miller cycling, delivering significant fuel savings. It can be leveraged to increase engine power output while further reducing NOx emissions.

At the power output of 1,050 kW/cylinder, the 18V48/60TS diesel engine has a very low, specific fuel-oil consumption of 171.1 g/kWh, referenced to engine power output without engine-mounted pumps, at ISO 3046 conditions with a tolerance of 5%. This is equivalent to a heat rate of 7,305 kJ/kWh or a pure engine efficiency of 49.2%.

Referenced to an electrical genset power-output, assuming a generator efficiency of 97.5% and with engine-mounted pumps, the heat rate emerges as 7,607 kJ/kWh or 47.3% electrical genset efficiency. This efficiency rate for four-stroke diesel engines makes the 18V48/60TS engine one of the most cost-effective in its class.

The excess combustion air can alternatively be leveraged to increase the engine’s power output up to 1,200 kW/cylinder. Although this does not save fuel, it does allow for a greater reduction of NOx emissions within a wide operation range. NOx emissions of 1,480 mg/Nm³ make the 18V48/60TS engine one of the cleanest diesel engines in its power range.

Flexibility. Like the standard engines in the 48/60 series, the 18V48/60TS engine can be operated with a wide range of different fuels, including:
• High-viscosity fuel oils (700+cst)
• Marine diesel and gasoil.

Two-stage turbocharging enables the 18V48/60TS engine to operate continuously at shaft power outputs from 18,900 kW up to 21,600 kW. In a stationary-power scenario, for example, this would allow power providers to operate engines at a normal load of 18,900 kW, taking advantage of the low fuel-oil consumption and allowing the possibility of a spinning reserve up to 21,600 kW.

Two-stage turbocharging technology. The 18V48/60TS engine deploys MAN Diesel & Turbo’s tried and tested TCA88 and TCA77 standard turbochargers in sequence. The TCA88 is located upstream and provides the low-pressure turbocharger, while the TCA77 forms the high-pressure turbocharger, next to the engine. In this configuration, both turbochargers can achieve pressure ratios in the range of 6 bar at higher efficiencies compared to a single-stage turbocharged system.

Despite the two-stage turbocharger modular system being an engine add-on, the 18V48/60TS does not require any more space than an engine with a single-stage turbocharger system.

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Safety system obtains FM approval with NFPA 72: 2010

The Eagle Quantum Premier (EQP) safety system from Detector Electronics Corp. (Det-Tronics) has earned certification to NFPA 72: 2010. Reported to be suitable for industrial applications requiring a hazardous-location-rated protection system, the EQP system provides flame and/or gas detection, alarm signaling, notification, extinguishing agent release and/or deluge operation. Components are integrated on a fault-tolerant digital communication network.

  Fig. 3. EQP safety system.    

“NFPA 72: 2010 sets standards for gas detectors that are used in executive actions, such as initiating automatic- or manual-protective procedures,” said Bill Crosley, Det-Tronics market development manager. “Certification means the Det-Tronics gas detectors on the EQP network fully meet the applicable requirements of NFPA 72: 2010 for use in fire-alarm systems.”

The new certification joins the list of others previously obtained for the EQP system. These include:
• BRE/Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) approval to EN54 (fire alarm system/detection) and EN12094 (extinguishing)
• US Coast Guard approved to 46 CFR 161.002.

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