March 2016

Maintenance and Reliability

Detect boiler leaks upstream of the shift reactor in H2 plants

This example shows a simple method by which boiler leaks can be detected before it is too late.

Ramakumar, K. R., Johnson Matthey Process Technologies

In a typical hydrogen (H2) flowsheet, water gas shift (WGS) reactors are normally located after the steam reforming section. Common products of steam reforming include carbon monoxide (CO), which the WGS reaction converts to produce additional H2, as shown in Eqs. 1 and 2, making WGS reactors important for increased H2 production: CO + H2O = CO2 + H2; ΔH = –41.1 kJ/mol      (1) The reaction is exothermic, and high conversions are favored by low temperature and high steam-to-dry-gas ratio. Ammonia plants usually operate a two-stage system; a high-temperature shift (HTS) followed by a low-temperature shift (LTS), with a suitable form of inter-bed cooling. H2 plant designs feature a number o

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