Hydrogen (steam reform) Process by CB&I Howe Baker

Application: Production of hydrogen for refinery hydrotreating and hydrocracking or other refinery, petrochemical, metallurgical, and food-processing uses.

Feedstock: Light hydrocarbons such as natural gas, refinery fuel gas, LPG/butane and light naphtha. Product: High-purity hydrogen (99.9+%) at any required pressure.

Hydrogen (steam reform) Process by CB&I Howe Baker

The feed is heated in the feed preheater and passed through the hydrotreater (1). The hydrotreater converts sulfur compounds to H2S and saturates any unsaturated hydrocarbons in the feed. The gas is then sent to the desulfurizers (2). These adsorb the H2S from the gas. The desulfurizers are arranged in series and designed so that the adsorbent can be changed while the plant is running.

The desulfurized feed gas is mixed with steam and superheated in the feed preheat coil. The feed mixture then passes through catalyst-filled tubes in the reformer (3). In the presence of nickel catalyst, the feed reacts with steam to produce hydrogen and carbon oxides. Heat for the endothermic reforming reaction is provided by carefully controlled external firing in the reformer.

Gas leaving the reformer is cooled by the process steam generator (4). Gas is then fed to the shift converter (5), which contains a bed of copper promoted iron-chromium catalyst. This converts CO and water vapor to additional H2 and CO2. Shift converter effluent gas is cooled in a feed preheater, a BFW preheater and a DA feed water preheater. Hot condensate is separated out. Process gas is then cooled in a gas air cooler and a gas trim cooler. The cooled stream flows to a cold condensate separator where the remaining condensate is separated and the gas is sent to a PSA hydrogen purification system (6).

The PSA system is automatic, thus requiring minimal operator attention. It operates on a repeated cycle having two basic steps: adsorption and regeneration. PSA offgas is sent to the reformer, where it provides most of the fuel requirement. Hydrogen from the PSA unit is sent off plot. A small hydrogen stream is then split off and recycled to the front of the plant for hydrotreating.

The thermal efficiency of the plant is optimized by recovery of heat from the reformer flue gas stream
and from the reformer effluent process gas stream. This energy is utilized to preheat reformer feed gas
and generate steam for reforming and export. Hot flue gas from the reformer is sent through the waste-heat recovery convection section and is discharged by an induced-draft fan to the stack.The boiler feed water deaerator and preheat circuits are integrated to maximize heat recovery. A common steam drum serves the steam generation coils and process steam generator for steam production via natural circulation.

Supplier: CB&I Howe Baker


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