400953 Root Cause and Resolution of Low Activity in a Tail-End Acetylene Converter

Tuesday, April 28, 2015: 8:55 AM
Salon D-E (Hilton Austin)
Tyler Conn, LyondellBasell, Channelview, TX and Nennette Richard-Jordan, Clariant Corporation, Houston, TX

LyondellBasell’s Channelview, Texas, site operates a 2 reactor tail end acetylene converter system with a full spare train.  In late 2013, the plant replaced the catalyst in one set of reactors, removing used OleMax 203 catalyst and installing fresh OleMax 207 catalyst, which LyondellBasell operates in multiple other reactors at different sites.  Upon putting the fresh reactor into service, the plant experienced multiple acetylene breakthroughs.    It was determined that the second reactor was non responsive and exhibiting low activity, which created unpredictable operation and acetylene slip from the system.

Personnel from LyondellBasell and Clariant (the catalyst supplier) worked together for several months to identify the root cause of the low activity.  Upon pulling the reactor off line and inspecting the piping systems, it was discovered that water had built up in the hydrogen reduction system due to a leaking steam valve.  The system was dried and catalyst was re-reduced according to supplier procedure and placed into service.  Currently the reactor is operating as expected with normal operating temperatures and high stability.

This paper will include schematics, operational data before and after root cause analysis, supplier recommended operational targets, and discussion on problem resolution methods.

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