David B. Engel - NexoSolutions
Amine and sour water stripper units are used to remove acid gases such as H2S and CO2 from gas and liquid streams. The removed acid gases are then directed to a sulphur recovery process for further disposal. Sulfur Recovery Units (SRU) using the modified-Claus reaction are essentially designed to convert H2S to elemental sulfur. However, SRU units are susceptible to damage by a number of contaminants in their feed gas such as hydrocarbons, BTEX and amines among others. These contaminants will originate from the amine and sour water stripper units if procedures and systems for their minimization or removal are not in place. In particular, undesirable hydrocarbon contaminants enter most amine units and sour water strippers causing several operational and performance problems. These contaminants travel downstream and negatively affect the SRU. This paper discusses the various feed contaminants to both amine and sour water stripper units in terms of their sources and effects on sulfur recovery plants. Particular attention is given to hydrocarbon contamination affecting the entire process.