June 2013

Special Report: Process/Plant Optimization

Recover from a steam reformer tube rupture

Most operational problems in the hydrogen plant occur at the steam reformer. The steam reformer is typically operated at high temperatures (810°C process gas) and high pressures (20 atmg) to maxi..

Most operational problems in the hydrogen plant occur at the steam reformer. The steam reformer is typically operated at high temperatures (810°C process gas) and high pressures (20 atmg) to maximize economics. Under such severe operating conditions, the steam reformer can be exposed to more operational problems during process variable changes, startup, shutdowns or unexpected unit trips than any other process equipment. A top-fired steam reformer at a Middle East refinery encountered tube rupture on six tubes during a process temperature increase. All six ruptured tubes failed with cracks at 1⁄3 length of the tube from the top, since the tube wall temperature at this point w

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