August 2020

Maintenance and Reliability

Preventing and treating amine solvent foaming in tail gas treatment units

Amine systems in refineries and gas processing plants are used to remove H2S, CO2 and mercaptans (RSH) from gas streams.

Vyver, S. V. D., Eastman Chemical

Amine systems in refineries and gas processing plants are used to remove hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbon dioxide (CO2) and mercaptans (RSH) from gas streams. A typical amine system consists of an absorption column, where the sour gas is contacted counter-currently with an aqueous amine solution, and a regeneration column, where the acid gases are released again. One of the endemic problems of this technology is foaming—essentially, the continuous formation of gas bubbles that have a sufficiently high surface tension to remain as bubbles. Monitoring and managing foam formation are needed to reliably operate amine systems. Stable foams should be avoided because they can lead to reduced throughp

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