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HP Innovations

03.01.2014  |  Blume, Adrienne ,  Hydrocarbon Processing Staff, Houston, TX

Keywords: [analyzers] [instrumention] [fuel cell] [sensors] [models]

Bitumen blowing unit converts residues to asphalt

Poerner Ingenieurgesellschaft’s Biturox oxidation process (Fig. 1) converts suitable feedstock blends to road and industrial asphalt/bitumen. Feedstocks include a blend of main feed components (i.e., vacuum residues, solvent deasphalting pitch and heavy atmospheric residues) and flux components (i.e., VGO, HVGO, slop wax and extracts). The feed blend is optimized to obtain a proper composition to reach the target product quality.

  Fig. 1.  Poerner Ingenieurgesellschaft’s Biturox oxidation
  process converts feedstock blends to asphalt.

The feed components are blended in the feed-blending section and charged via a heat exchanger to the Biturox reactor. The reactor is a vertical pressure vessel equipped with an inner cylinder and a baffle system. To reach high efficiency of the reaction between the feedstock and oxygen, a large reaction surface of air bubbles is required. For that purpose, the reactor is equipped with a three-stage agitator to disperse the incoming air into the liquid. To ensure a small air bubble size through the whole height of the liquid column in the guiding cylinder, the bubbles are collected by coalescing plates under each agitator disc stage to disperse them again and to renew the reaction surface.

The chemical reactions between the feed components and the oxygen are overall exothermic. A stable process with exact temperature control is accomplished by the injection of process water into the process air pipes at the top of the reactor. The cooling effect is achieved by evaporation of the injected water. As the temperature of the hot product coming from the reactor is typically higher than the feed temperature, the hot product is utilized for feed preheating in the heat exchanger. When deeper product cooling is required, a product trim cooler is installed.

The reactor offgas, consisting mainly of nitrogen and steam, is led to the offgas treatment section to remove waste components, such as hydrocarbons, hydrogen sulfide, thiol and carbon monoxide. The offgas is routed through a knockout drum to separate the condensed hydrocarbons, an incinerator to combust the waste components, a heat recovery section designed for steam production or hot oil heating, and a scrubber section for desulfurization. The treated flue gas is vented to atmosphere that meets local environmental requirements.

The Biturox reactor offers intensive and efficient gas dispersion, uniform gas and liquid distribution, efficient oxygen utilization, a short reaction time and stable process liquid temperature. These conditions enable the production of stable and homogenous bitumen, using feedstocks from a wide range of crude oils. The internal cooling by means of process water injection avoids local overheating and prevents coke formation and deposits in the reactor.

Poerner has licensed over 45 Biturox oxidation units worldwide, with a total approximate capacity of 11 MMtpy. The company has performed approximately 300 pilot tests based on prominent crude oils.

Select 1 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS

System monitors wear metals in oils

SPECTRO Analytical Instruments has introduced a condition-monitoring system (Fig. 2) based on its SPECTRO GENESIS inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer. The system presents price, performance and productivity criteria for condition-monitoring laboratories and oil blenders.

  Fig. 2.  The SPECTRO GENESIS condition-monitoring
  system analyzes lubricating oils for the presence of metals
  and contaminants.

The GENESIS system assesses component wear trends by analyzing lubricating oils for the presence of metals and contaminants that may accelerate wear. This early detection allows users to prevent equipment failures and helps optimize maintenance programs.

Using updated detector technology, the system’s full-spectrum analysis covers the elemental range needed for additive, wear and trace analysis of lubricating oils. It offers particular sensitivity for light elements, such as sodium, magnesium, aluminum and silicon, while offering high sensitivity for wear and trace elements. It also provides fully simultaneous analysis, achieving rapid sample cycle times of 90 seconds or less, independent of how many elements must be analyzed.

Additionally, SPECTRO GENESIS features low costs for operation, consumables and investment. As an example, a typical flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS) instrument analyzing 16 elements might sequentially handle 180 samples in eight hours. Independent of the number of elements present, the SPECTRO GENESIS system can analyze up to 320 samples in the same eight-hour time frame.

The SPECTRO GENESIS condition-monitoring package features straightforward design and operation. Constructed of lightweight aluminum, it fits standard laboratory benchtops, and is available immediately worldwide.

Select 2 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS

Real-time infosystem measures energy use

Emerson Process Management and RtTech Software plan to jointly develop an enhanced energy-management information system to provide real-time monitoring, analysis and detection of excessive energy consumption by plants.

The two companies will work together to enhance RtTech’s RtEMIS platform to accommodate Emerson’s first-principles models for primary energy equipment. With the combination of RtEMIS and Emerson’s process models, users will be able to analyze and compare three critical data points: (1) the amount of energy a system is designed to use, (2) the amount of energy the system has used over time, and (3) how much energy the system is consuming at the moment.

Many energy-management systems are designed to allocate energy costs at the end of the month. Few systems monitor energy in real time; compare usage against a theoretical benchmark; and analyze system performance by unit, area and across an entire plant. Emerson’s system dashboards and reports will increase the visibility of site energy metrics, providing performance-improvement tools to users.

Select 3 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS

SwRI adds flow component test cell

A cell for testing valves and other pressure-containing and pressure-controlling products has been added to Southwest Research Institute’s (SwRI’s) flow component testing facilities (Fig. 3). The new test cell is identical to one completed in July 2012, and was added to meet increasing demand for the test services.

  Fig. 3.  Southwest Research
  Institute’s new test cell will
  analyze valves and other
  pressure-related products.

To ensure the safety of pipelines, refineries, offshore platforms and chemical processing plants, it is necessary to test valves and other devices operating under high pressure to established standards.

The cell is capable of evaluating products up to 30,000 psi with gas hydraulic pressure. Other capabilities include cryogenic testing to –320°F, elevated temperature testing up to 750°F, fugitive emissions testing and thermal cycling, among others.

The cell measures 15 ft wide by 15 ft deep by 25 ft high, and has a 5-ton crane, a crew access door and a large equipment door. The cell is also designed to withstand a blast load in the event of a catastrophic pressure release.

Select 4 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS

New technology pinpoints pipeline scaling

The Flowrox Scaling Watch is a new product designed for the precise measurement of scale in pipelines and other fluid-control environments. Scaling is a common problem in the minerals and metallurgy, oil and gas, power plant, pulp and paper, and municipal wastewater industries, where production rates can be adversely affected by the hardening of iron, salts and other minerals in pipes and valves.

The device is a wafer piece of pipeline engineered for insertion between two flanges for a precise fit. It allows the detection of scale, which is often the result of the hardened mineral deposits that can reduce the flow of fluids through a pipeline.

The device uses electrical capacitance tomography (ECT) technology, which allows operators to see inside piping systems without stopping the process or opening up the pipeline, and enables 3D imaging and measurement of nonconductive media inside process pipelines and tanks. In addition, the device utilizes a patented algorithm that creates a 3D image of the process fluid in the piping, generates trend data and shows free volume inside the pipe and the growth rate of the scale over time.

Among other features, the Flowrox Scaling Watch can show the scale thickness, scale profile, growth rates over time, composition and free-flow volume—all of which allow engineers to understand areas where pipes are prone to scaling. The Flowrox Scaling Watch is a predictive, rather than reactive, device, and allows its operators to address scale issues before they reach critical levels that can cause downtime or costly damage.

The device is manufactured in carbon steel, type 316/316L stainless steel and titanium to meet the needs of industries with significant scaling issues that can result in high maintenance costs. Scale is often a major reason for a decrease in production and revenue in oil wells, affecting valves, pumps and tubing, among other pipeline components. The installation of a Flowrox Scaling Watch can help lower pumping costs, lead to fewer unexpected shutdowns of the process due to pipeline clogs, and reduce chemical usage or optimization of chemicals.

While the Flowrox Scaling Watch is not designed to detect scale on the entire length of the pipeline, it measures scale in the precise spot where it is installed—usually in a section or segment where the heaviest scaling is known to occur.

Select 5 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS

3D software shows complete explosion analysis

DNV GL’s new Phast 3D Explosions software module enables advanced and detailed 3D modeling of explosion hazards, increasing both the accuracy of the evaluations as well as the availability of information about the speed of vapor cloud explosion (VCE) analyses.

Phast software is used by governments, industries and academic institutions to help understand the hazards posed by process activities. It is used to model safety aspects of design options for proposed new facilities and for operational changes to existing facilities. The software examines the progress of a potential incident from the initial release of hazardous substances to far-field dispersion, including flammable and toxic effects. The analyses take numerous parameters into consideration, including variables such as wind direction and speed.

Phast 3D Explosions software can be used in a number of applications, including occupied building analysis, facility siting, escalation assessment, plant layout optimization, determination of design accidental loads on structures and equipment, definition of exclusion zones and demonstration of regulatory compliance.

Key features of Phast 3D Explosions software include:

  • Detailed VCE modeling that explicitly considers the interaction of the flammable cloud and identified regions of congestion and confinement in three dimensions, resulting in a more realistic assessment of blast potential
  • Combined hazard contours (Fig. 4) that support the development of comprehensive contours associated with a range of scenarios, weather and outcome types—allowing for direct and ready communication of results
  • Consideration of directional effects, such as wind direction, that influence the magnitude of the resulting hazard, as well as the potential for interaction between a dispersing flammable cloud and regions of congestion and confinement. The ability to place emphasis on directions of interest helps improve understanding of these influences.

  Fig. 4.  DNV GL’s Phast 3D Explosions software module
  enables complete 3D modeling of explosion hazards.

Select 6 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS

Miniature temperature sensors save space

New temperature sensors (Fig. 5) from WIKA are intended for use in tight spaces, such as ventilation ducts (Model TF40) and small outside areas (Model TF41). The measuring elements of both sensors are inserted into a UV-resistant plastic housing that measures just 44 mm × 32 mm × 30 mm. The new instruments, classified with ingress protection 65, are compatible with all common control systems.

  Fig. 5.  WIKA’s miniature
  temperature sensors are
  intended for use in the
  renewable energy, HVAC
  and refrigeration industries.

Model TF40 is tailored to the needs of air conditioning and ventilation technology. Optional equipment includes a plastic mounting flange and a thermowell. Model TF41 is primarily suitable for the fields of renewable energy, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration. For this model, there is an additional, clip-on protective module to prevent erroneous measurements as a result of strong incident sunlight in outside applications.

Select 7 at www.HydrocarbonProcessing.com/RS

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