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Dateline: January 10, 2006

Technically Speaking


CO2 expansion
Airgas Inc. will invest $7.5 million to expand its Star, Mississippi, liquid carbon dioxide plant by an additional 850 tons/day, boosting total production at the site to 2,000 tons/day. San Antonio, Texas-based Salof Refrigeration will build the new facility for Airgas, with completion scheduled for August 2006.

New ethanol plant
BioFuels Solutions will build a second 110 million gallon/year ethanol plant in Wood River, Nebraska.  This plant will be almost identical to the first plant currently being built in Fairmont, Minnesota.  The company announced the Fairmont plant two months ago and expects to begin construction during the first quarter of 2006.

Glass minerals facility
Minerals Technologies Inc. will build a new facility in Cleburne, Texas, for the production of its Synsil line of products, a new composite mineral for the glass industry.  The plant will be the second 200,000 ton/year unit for the company, which began construction of the first plant in Chester, South Carolina, in March of last year.

Fuel additives capacity added
Lubrizol Corp. has added production capacity at its Bayport, Texas, manufacturing facility to serve the growing market demand for its gasoline detergent additives. The expansion will enable Lubrizol to meet global demand.

Plant closure
DuPont Performance Elastomers (DPE) has reaffirmed its decision to close its Louisville, Kentucky, neoprene manufacturing plant in December 2006 despite shortages for the material in New England resulting from hurricane-induced production problems.  The United Steelworkers International Union had hoped to convince DPE to keep the plant open because of severe need for neoprene.


Sugar deliveries begin
A program to supply ethanol-doped petrol seems to be finally picking up.  Sugar mills have started making deliveries of dehydrated alcohol to the country’s largest refiner, Indian Oil Corporation, which is reported to have placed orders for about two months’ requirement. Other refiners are expected to place their orders soon.

PTA plant
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp, Japan’s biggest chemicals maker, will spend $370 million building a purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant in Haldia to meet increasing demand for the chemical used to make polyesters.  The plant will be on-line by June 2008.  This plant will be in addition to an already existing 470,000 tons/year PTA plant in Haldia. 

Financing for petroleum cluster
RPM Inc. has offered to invest $1 billion within the next few months to develop a large petroleum cluster in India.  The current global dynamics of the petrochemical industry offer an attractive immediate entry opportunity for India, especially with the access to feedstock and proximity to high-growth markets, like China.

Technically Speaking

How can I determine a good optimum operating temperature for our amine regeneration unit?

A good place to start is at BRE's website at:

There, you’ll a wealth of amine information regarding natural gas sweetening. Bryan Research and Engineering are past experts in Amine plants and their operation as well as modifications. You can download ALL the free technical articles they offer. You will gather a lot of knowledge and information about the amine process and what others are doing with it and about it.

The best temperature you should run any amine system at (in the base of the reboiler) is the lowest temperature that you can get away with while maintaining your required production rate, your minimum of corrosion, the recommended amine solution loadings (with respect to CO2 and H2S), avoiding any foaming, and keeping your reboiler duty down.

The lower the temperature is in the reboiler, the less the rate of amine degradation you will experience - and, as a result, the less the system corrosion. Pure amines don't "corrode" carbon steel; degraded amine by-products are the culprits for the resulting corrosion. That's why all operators strive and fight to keep their amine solutions "pure", filtered, and at as low a temperature as they can justify. Amine re-distillation stills and activated carbon adsorbers are just some of the "purification" techniques used to maintain the amine solution at a reasonable pure level to avoid corrosion and foaming. Based on what you are saying, you must be operating pretty close to your specific "optimum" condition. Optimum conditions will vary from amine plant to amine plant. A lot depends on the type of feed, the tye of amine, the strength of the solution, the basic process design constraints, the reboiler type and temperature, the reflux rate, and other factors.

Source: Art Montemayor, CERP Message Board

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