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State of the Art Sulphur Recovery in a Developing Country

Presented By

Scott Kafesjian - Wood.


courtesy of Wood.This presentation will highlight the design, startup, and early operation of a state-of-the-art sulfur recovery unit in a developing nation in Latin America.

Rapid population and economic growth have fueled a sharp increase in the country’s vehicle fleet (48% increase between 2007 and 2012), raising concerns about air quality. The government has prioritized modernization and upgrade of the countries refineries, with funding provided from a combination of public investment through bonds, loans from international funding agencies, and investment banks, and the refinery owners in the case of non-government owned refineries.

Emission standards for vehicles, as well as fuel quality requirements, have been implemented. As a result, sulfur in diesel fuel will be limited to 50 ppm starting in 2016. These limits are implemented to limit the sulfur content of transportation fuels to those allowed by Euro IV regulations.

To meet the regulatory limits, the largest refinery in the country has installed a middle distillate hydroprocessing unit. The sulfur removed from the fuels will produce H2S that will be separated using amine treating, and some H2S will be present in sour water as part of the hydroprocessing unit. A new amine regeneration unit and sour water stripper separate the H2S, from which elemental sulfur will be recovered in a Claus unit. The Claus unit is followed by a hydrogenation/amine tail gas treating unit. Atmospheric emissions of SO2 must meet the standards of the International Finance Corporation (World Bank), maximum 150 mg/Nm3 (corrected to 3% O2 on a dry basis). Amec Foster Wheeler’s sulfur technology was selected for the Claus unit and tail gas treating unit.

The countries residents will benefit from the reduced emissions from mobile sources, as well as from the refineries themselves. Currently, refinery acid gas containing H2S is disposed of by combustion in a refinery heater with no emission controls.

The presentation will review the design philosophy, handling of fugitive vents (sulfur pit), and the steps taken in the design to meet the World Bank emission level while complying with the client’s decree to use standard MDEA in the TGTU.

Startup and initial operating results will be presented. Performance test run information will be presented to highlight the unit operation.

Scott Kafesjian, Wood.Scott Kafesjian is the Director of Sulphur Technologies for Wood, formerly Amec Foster Wheeler. Scott has over 28 years of experience in the technology, design, commissioning, startup, troubleshooting, and revamp of sulphur recovery projects worldwide. He enjoys cycling, snow skiing, hiking, photography, and is visiting the southern hemisphere for only the second time.


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