The sulfur recovery unit discussions at Refcomm® in Galveston presented a broad outlook of the growth in sulfur capacity and related operational issues. One speaker, Dr Peter Clark, emphasized that sulfur underpins the entire food supply chain by way of sulfur based fertilizer. Sulfur is the limiting element in agriculture. Dr Clark is directly affiliated with the Alberta Sulphur Research Ltd institute (ASRL).
ASRL is supported and governed by a broad cross-section of the petroleum-based energy industry and specific sulfur production and supply businesses from Canada, The United States and much of Europe as well as The Middle and Far East. It is affiliated with the Chemistry Department at the University of Calgary and continues to serve as a contact point between industry and academia. Dr Clark’s global view of the SRU industry took note that 95% of the world’s sulfur production comes refining, gas processing and oil sands.
In another presentation by Randy Hauer at Ametek, he noted that at the start of the sulfur recover process (downstream from the hydrotreater), the Claus sulfur recovery unit (SRU) and associated tail gas treating unit (TGTU) provide a good example of a system where analyzers are becoming more prevalent in order to provide real time full compositional analysis to mitigate upsets. Hauer went on to discuss the benefits of analyzers, including acid gas analyzers.
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