June 14, 2017
Nitrogen and hydrogen are thrust together by chemically induced processes to produce large quantities of ammonia. Used as a fertiliser, the synthetically manufactured compound is also present in refrigerant gases and many other useful chemical products, including metal treatment reagents. The role of an ammonia plant condensate blowdown vessel in this processing chain is to supply these large quantities of liquid ammonia, so let's talk about this special vessel type.
If the "Nitrogen Cycle" is to be maintained, the agricultural sector is expected to acquire large amounts of this gaseous element. Of course, nitrogen makes up seventy-eight percent of our atmosphere, but it isn't naturally absorbed into the soil. Instead, we use ammonia-based (NH3) fertilisers, which means a volatile source of hydrogen must be secured. This explosive gas is stored in tanks, chemically released from light hydrocarbons, and generally extracted from commonly landlocked gases. As for the nitrogen, that's right there, in the atmosphere.
Extracted from coal or naphtha, natural gas or asphalt, the hydrogen extract combine with nitrogen in a fixed bed reactor. Catalysts and heat and pressure facilitate chemical reactance, at which point the mix is exposed to a series of fluid absorption cells and a special N2 washdown procedure. The condensate blowdown vessel hosts these complex mechanical innards while providing a reinforced vessel lining that endures despite the presence of numerous catalysing agents and scrubbing assemblies. Essentially, the pressurised "blowdown" stream is washed free of contaminants as it condensates, then the compound is further enriched by passing the liquid through a nitrogen-dense bath.
The stout vessel profile is loaded with inner assemblies, so exterior ports and instrumentation connections are typically provided. Blowdown, as the term implies, is a dynamic force that arises when great pressures are applied, so the vessel design, although loaded with precisely engineered parts, must be designed to withstand substantial transient loads. After all, that flushing action is driving forward several combustible liquids, plus CO, CO2, and a few accelerated contaminant streams, all of which will be scrubbed clean after further chemical processing.
Blowdown tanks are commonly employed in boiler systems. Ammonia plant condensate blowdown vessels, however, are primarily used in large chemical processing facilities, the kind of industrial sites that store natural gas and other hydrogen-rich materials. As such, great design acuity and superior manufacturing skill are mandated here, for these monolithic chambers are working with explosive gases to produce ammonia, a compound that's undoubtedly useful but also capable of causing harm.
Fusion - Weld Engineering Pty Ltd
ABN 98 068 987619
1865 Frankston Flinders Road,
Hastings, VIC 3915
Ph: (03) 5909 8218
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