April 2006

Special Report: Petrochemical Developments

Minimize acid content from reactor exit gases

Plagued with operating problems from solid benzoic acid accumulation, this Canadian operating facility successfully converted the venturi scrubber into a packed tower/ quench unit

Boucher, F., Lachapelle, L., Interquisa; Normandin, A., Mesar/Environair Inc.

At a Canadian purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant, process gas from the main reactor – primarily nitrogen and carbon dioxide – are scrubbed and then used as the transport medium to move product to storage hoppers and other mill services. A venturi scrubber was installed originally to clean up the process gas. Unfortunately, this system suffered from numerous operating problems associated with residual benzoic acid found in the reactor-vent gas. In the system, benzoic acid was sublimating, thus creating problems with downstream equipment. As shown in this case history, the process engineers revamped the scrubbing operation. In place of the venturi, a pack tower and quench unit

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