Steam reforming based hydrogen plants involve complex and energy intensive, multi-stage operations to convert hydrocarbons into high purity hydrogen. In a complex refinery, these plants are relied on to make hydrogen for hydroprocessing units in which the hydrogen is becoming of greater value to the overall operation. The barriers to achieve this reliability are increasing for the operator. For feed purification, high level sulfur specs on natural gas pipelines, varying sulfur speciation and levels in natural gas sources, and use of high-hydrogen refinery off-gases with heavier tails can result in condition changes, spikes, and transients in operation that challenge this reliability. For the steam methane reformer (SMR), heat transfer limitations across the reformer tubes, carbon formation and poisoning, rate changes in response to hydrogen demand, and increase in pressure drop in response to shutdowns and operation also challenge this reliability.
New purification and reforming technologies that deal with and remove these barriers for the hydrogen plant operator will be presented; these technologies can be implemented in existing plants with little to no capital expenditure. Experiences, support work and case studies will demonstrate how these barriers to reliability are being removed. For new plant designs, these technologies can miminize cost by removing vessels or decreasing the size of the plant, providing process simplification and intensification to hydrogen production as ever increasing demand for hydrogen and pressure on costs in the refinery make these technologies an attractive option.
See more of this Group/Topical: Topical 6: 16th Topical Conference on Gas Utilization