A petrochemical plant in Southern Europe experienced several operating issues in its amine acid removal unit. These issues included:
- Recurring corrosion from the presence of monoethanolamide and other amine degradation products
- Off hydrocarbon content specification from the CO2 stream
- Excessive fouling from hydrocarbon polymerization, especially in the regeneration sections re-boiler and the lean/rich heat exchangers
- Poor removal of CO2 from the fuel gas
Each year the plant had to shut down the unit to clean the plant and completely replace the amine solution, resulting in a loss of production and an increase in operational cost. Seeking an alternative solution, the client asked Veolia to implement corrective actions that would enable the amine unit to achieve a run length of three years.
After performing an onsite survey, Veolia recommended a Max-Amine* Global Service strategy consisting of the following corrective actions:
- Moved to a formulated amine blend – using process simulation, Veolia identified the optimum amine blend to minimize hydrocarbon absorption and maximize CO2 removal.
- Introduced an antifoulant – Veolia analyzed deposition samples and determined the main cause of fouling to be the polymerization of styrene. A Styrex* antifoulant was injected into the system.
- Introduced a corrosion inhibitor – a Max-Amine corrosion inhibitor was injected into the amine recirculation loop.
- Introduced an antifoam – a Max-Amine anti-foam was injected into the circuit to minimize foaming-related upsets caused by hydrocarbon contamination.
- Incorporated industry best practices – based upon extensive industry-wide experience, Veolia recommended adjustments to some operating parameters and producers. (i.e., a novel draining procedure for the regenerators reflux drum reduced hydrocarbon carryover to the CO2 stream)
Since implementing the corrective actions, the unit has now been running for over two years with no unscheduled downtime, no evidence of fouling, and significant improvement in CO2 removal efficiency.
The average annual savings endorsed by the client was greater than 200 K euro resulting in a return on investment (ROI) of greater than 400%.