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Methanol Plant Capacity Enhancement

Nov 08 2010 01:30 PM | Guest in Process and Reactions *****
Plant Re-Commissioning with Isothermal Reactor

Following the replacement of the quench reactor with the Isothermal reactor from Linde, the plant was ready for start up.  The following details the activities associated with start up after the changes were made.

Basic and Detail Engineering - Design Fundamentals

The original plant was designed by Linde with process licensing from ICI. Linde performed the basic engineering for the loop modification and the detailed engineering for the new Isothermal reactor.  Based on the data for the new design conditions, a debottlenecking study on the distillation section was carried out in-house by our Technical Services department.  Major pre-fabrication work and in-plant erection of the loops which were to be replaced was completed before the final shutdown of the plant.  A shutdown schedule of 11 days was planned.

Outline of the Pre Commissioning Activities

The piping loops were identified and broken down into various process loops per the P & IDs. The plant was broadly classified into three independent sections: synthesis loop, makeup gas loop, and distillation loop.  This helped prioritize tasks such that the synthesis and related loops were made ready first.  The loops, which were erected before shutdown, were prepared for commissioning by flushing / blowing. Based on the service, the plans for flushing / blowing were prepared and discussed with the mechanical and instrument groups to streamline the activities. All instruments in the circuit were removed from the lines.

The following procedures were used:

For gas lines: Gasket blowing with plant air was carried out starting from 1.0 barg up to 3.5 barg repeatedly, until there was no rust / dust in the line. This was followed by nitrogen passivation / drying.

For  liquid lines: Air blowing followed by water flushing was carried out. This was followed by nitrogen passivation / drying.

For steam lines: Gradual warming of the header before insulation was applied for grease removal and rust flushing through the trap bypass.  Then steam blowing at full capacity was carried out for half an hour by diverting the open end at a safe location. The header was allowed to cool. This cycle was repeated again till clear condensate was discharged in the trap bypass.

For Running Machines: There was a pair of process pumps in each service. One pump online and one spare.  With the higher capacity, some pumps were replaced for higher capacity. The main crude feed pumps and refining column reflux pumps were replaced.  With spare pumps, the plant operation was not interrupted during the pump changes. Each replacement took 12 days and included the modification of the base, pipeline, motor, and other ancillary pieces.

Likewise, four control valves were replaced via proper coordination between the operations and project teams.  The prefabricated loops were also washed or blown and then dried with nitrogen. These were kept inert and sealed at their ends until they were to hooked up during the shutdown.  This also helped reduce the pre-commissioning time for the plant.  The start-up boiler feed water circulation pump was commissioned and stabilized prior to shutdown as soon as the errection of the reactor steam drum system was completed.

Both Methanol-I and SGGU operate independently.  It was not necessary to shutdown SGGU for the commissioning of Isothermal reactor in the Methanol-I synthesis loop.  The natural gas compressors in the SGGU plant get cooling water from the Methanol-I plant header.  Since cooling tower was to be taken offline, temporary arrangements to supply an alternate water source was planned to keep the natural gas compressors in the SGGU running.  This was implemented prior to shutdown, avoiding a stoppage of the SGGU plant.

Processes and Reactions Articles


Very Informative and helpful,gave me a Process Engineers view on Industries practical problem and de-bottlenecking being the most important among them.
Thank You Sir !