December 2015 – Due to global tightening on sulfur emission regulations, chemical plants worldwide are facing the task of either upgrading existing sulfur processing units or installing new units to meet regulations. Sulfur recovery requirements, depending on the local permit requirements, are generally 99% and upwards.
Traditional Sulfur Recovery Units (SRU) have a thermal reactor (Claus furnace) followed by catalytic reactors (Claus beds). This enables 94-97% sulfur recovery after 2nd or 3rd Claus bed. Since >99%+ recovery has more or less become a norm for mid-to-large scale SRUs, a Tail Gas Treating Unit (TGTU) is employed which is amine or direct oxidation based.
In the article, a novel approach to sulfur recovery is discussed which is catalytic based. The thermal reactor has been replaced with a catalytic reactor followed by 0-1 Claus beds. For the TGTU section, a proprietary direct oxidation technology is used. Results are decreased CAPEX (> 25%) and ,most importantly, a minimization of the operational issues encountered with the traditional approach. Two different variants are offered: only acid gas AND acid gas along with sour water stripper gas processing. > 99%+ sulfur recovery and 99.9%+ sulfur removal can be guaranteed. Further, due to reduced refractory requirements, startup and shutdown time has been significantly reduced.
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