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Process Performance Testing

Brimstone offers a valuable service to operators of sulfur processing units in the form of onsite diagnostic testing of amine, sulfur recovery, and tail gas treating units.  By sampling and analyzing the gas streams within these sulfur processing units and combining these results with plant operating data, it is possible to generate a comprehensive heat and material balance “snapshot” of the plant operation.  From this, Brimstone can provide a detailed evaluation of the operating characteristics and problem areas along with stage-by-stage and overall plant efficiencies.

The result of process performance testing is a comprehensive report that includes complete compositions, stream flow rates, and physical characteristics for all process gas streams.  Even more useful are the detailed evaluation and discussion of process streams, equipment, and operating strategies.  The performance report also includes detailed recommendations for improved operation. Common reasons for performance testing include diagnosis of operating problems, pre-design verification of feed and inlet streams, acceptance testing of newly built units, pre-turnaround planning, and establishment of baseline operating parameters.

Amine Processing Units

Brimstone provides onsite-testing services aimed at evaluating and troubleshooting a variety of sulfur processes including amine units. Analysis of key process streams allows material balances of the amine system. Comparison of these results to reliable simulations allows evaluation, troubleshooting, and optimization of the amine unit.

General benefits of amine system testing are attainment of treating and selectivity requirements, energy optimization and reduction of chemical losses. Specific goals of typical amine process system testing include:

  • verifying compliance with treated fuel gas sulfur content limits
  • determining compliance with treated gas sales quality requirements
  • optimizing steam consumption
  • detecting contaminants in the system feeds and reducing chemical losses
  • optimizing energy usage

Amine system performance testing by Brimstone typically includes detailed compositional analysis of the process gas streams, including the sour gas inlet, treated gas from the contactor, acid gas from the regenerator or stripper, and flash drum offgas. These analyses include trace sulfur species as well as bulk gases. Ammonia can also be analyzed for in the amine system gas streams. Through the application of unique sampling and analytical methods developed by Brimstone, these same tests can be run on liquid (LPG) contactors as well those that treat fuel gas.

Sulfur Recovery Units

Brimstone STS offers a valuable service to the operators of Claus sulfur recovery units in the form of on-site diagnostic testing of these sulfur processing units along with associated upstream and downstream processes.

Performance testing of sulfur recovery units can increase operating efficiency, minimize emissions, and increase time between turnarounds. The most valuable use of onsite performance testing is as a diagnostic tool to locate existing and potential operating problems.

Onsite sampling and analyzing of the gas streams within the Claus unit provides accurate compositions for all feed, interstage, and effluent gas streams. By combining these analytical results with plant operating data, a detailed heat and material balance “snapshot” of the plant operation can be generated. From this, many important operating parameters can be determined, including:

  • flow rates and physical characteristics for all process gas streams
  • overall and stage-by-stage plant conversion and recovery efficiencies
  • process stoichiometry (reaction furnace combustion air control)
  • ammonia destruction
  • formation and destruction of COS and CS2
  • fired reheater operation (oxygen leakage, acid/fuel gas metering)
  • sulfur entrainment
  • condition of Claus catalyst beds
  • reaction furnace burner condition
  • confirmation of analyzer and process sensor accuracy
  • optimization and troubleshooting of tail gas incinerator

Brimstone provides a comprehensive report that presents the topics discussed above along with problem identification and recommendations for improved operation.

In addition to conventional Claus units, Brimstone has significant experience with Process variations including Oxygen Enrichment, SuperClaus and EuroClaus, Sub-Dewpoint Claus units, Selectox and other selective oxidation systems.

Tail Gas Treating Units

Like the evaluation done for Claus sulfur recovery units, testing of tail gas treating units provides necessary information regarding operating efficiency, emissions, catalyst condition, and amine or redox system loading.

Performance testing of a tail gas treating unit involves the analysis of all feed, recycle and exit streams. This, when combined with operating data, provides the data necessary to accurately model the process and permit adjustments to achieve and ensure minimum emissions and maximum catalyst life. Specific topics evaluated in a tail gas unit performance evaluation include:

  • evaluation of tail gas heater condition and burn stoichiometry
  • condition and expected life of hydrogenation catalyst bed
  • determination of accuracy of hydrogen and CEM analyzers
  • detection of contaminant gases (oxygen, SO2) in H2S contactor inlet streams
  • determination of split between H2S and non-H2S sulfur compounds leaving H2S contactor
  • confirmation of analyzer and process sensor accuracy
  • optimization and troubleshooting of tail gas incinerator

Thermal and Catalytic Incinerators

Brimstone provides incinerator performance testing to allow verification of compliance with stack emission limits, and confirmation that the unit is achieving other design specifications. Both thermal and catalytic incineration systems can be evaluated through process performance testing by Brimstone STS.

Analysis of the appropriate incinerator process gas streams (incinerator inlet waste gas, effluent gas, and fuel gas) provides total stream compositions including bulk and trace sulfur species. These data sets allow evaluation of incinerator performance: either confirming proper operation or identifying operating problems and causes. Pinpointing the problem allows for immediate corrective action, or planning for the next scheduled turnaround.

Incinerator testing can and often is performed in conjunction with the regulated mandatory source emission compliance testing.

Other Processes or Facilities

Although most of the sampling and analytical techniques developed and used by Brimstone were originally aimed at testing sulfur recovery units, these methods have application in many other process and environmental areas.

Brimstone’s analytical testing is not limited to sulfur species and sulfur processes. Trace oxygen, hydrogen, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, and BTEX and other hydrocarbons are among the non-sulfur compounds that can be tested for using Brimstone methods.

Beyond the existing methods used by Brimstone, we are often able to develop new sampling and analytical methods to meet unusual requirements of clients.

In the past, Brimstone has worked in conjunction with other groups to develop process-specific analytical methods for SO3 and NH3 as well as sampling and analytical systems for extreme high-pressure sulfur-bearing streams.

Brimstone STS applies their analytical knowledge and expertise in the testing of a variety of chemical processes. In conjunction with plant personnel, we design test protocols to provide the necessary data to satisfy the process engineer’s needs. These can include product quality assurance data, process trouble-shooting information, process optimization data, pre- and post-turnaround performance and performance bench marking profiles.

Contact Mike Anderson at 1-909-597-3249 for information regarding the availability and design of these test programs to satisfy your process analytical needs.

6547 South Racine Circle

Suite 1600

Centennial, Colorado 80111

Tel: +1-909-597-3249

Fax: +1-909-597-4839

[email protected]

Contact Brimstone STS Limited Today!