August 2005

Petrochemical Developments

Improve CO2 removal from ammonia plants

New developments raise the profitability and reliability for existing and grassroots units

Nair, M. P. Sukumaran, Special Secretary to Government of Kerala, and Chairman, Chemical Engineering Division Board of the Institution of Engineers

Profitability for hydrogen and ammonia plants depends heavily on the efficiency and reliability of carbon dioxide (CO2) removal from process gas. Over the last 30 years, several innovations have evolved regarding CO2-removal units. New methods have dramatically increased absorption efficiency, reduced CO2 slip to a few parts per million by volume (ppmv), lowered energy requirements for CO2 regeneration and mitigated corrosion of plant equipment. In addition, emerging technologies now apply nontoxic and environment-friendly solvent systems and activators for absorption, have shifted from physical to chemical modes for absorption or a combination of both, improved mass transfer through better

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