IRPC '12: Refiners must better manage hydrogen, says Indian Oil

By Ben DuBose
Online Editor

MILAN, Italy -- Increasing demand for hydrogen in refineries and its high production cost are making it imperative for refiners to profitably re-use many hydrogen-rich streams, executives with Indian Oil said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the IRPC 2012 conference, Debangsu Ray said that an out-of-the-box approach is key to avoiding the need for expensive purification technologies.

“A major part of the benefit can be achieved by simple piping changes,” Ray said.

Indian Oil says it is currently saving $15 million per year at its Panimat refinery from this exercise.

“Low-purity hydrogen from process units can effectively supplement the incremental hydrogen requirement,” Ray said.

“Hydrogen management is all about recovering and re-using low-purity hydrogen, which otherwise would have been wasted without major investment.”

However, a critical review of all of the affected processes and an understanding of the tradeoffs are essential to effectively implementing the process, he noted.

For example, careful consideration must be given to have minimum impact on hydroprocessing objectives.

Indian Oil approaches the problem by identifying sources of hydrogen-rich streams in terms of both quality and quantity, while also looking for “sinks”.

From there, the company customizes its intake of impure hydrogen, as per the requirement of its consumer units.

In the end, the re-used hydrogen is a critical component of upgrading facilities used to process heavier crudes, which are increasingly prevalent in today’s market.

IRPC 2012 runs through Thursday. For more details, visit the HPInformer blog or the event website.

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