Project Synopsis

Define technically feasible process alternatives and develop a preliminary FEL-1 level design for a process to purify a newly available dirty hydrogen stream and recycle it back into the client's refinery operations.

Project Summary

The client, a small petroleum refinery, had identified an opportunity to recover hydrogen from a hydrotreater purge stream within the facility.  The goal was to purify the stream and recycle it back to the unit.  Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client to define technically feasible alternatives for the design of the process and develop the most practical solution.  Specifically, PROCESS completed the following tasks:

  • Developed a process design basis document that detailed baseline information governing the upgraded system design such as existing equipment limitations, utility information, purification specifications, and inlet flow details.
  • Performed a detailed technical alternatives evaluation to identify potential alternative purification and recycle solutions. PROCESS identified over half a dozen technologies in more than twice as many configurations but quickly narrowed it down to four (4) potentially technically feasible flow options that included revamping an existing decommissioned Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) unit at the client site.  PROCESS then completed the following:
    1. Provided flow diagrams and pros and cons for each solution. PROCESS iterated with the client, updating the flow diagrams as needed, to continue developing the solutions as the client’s plans for future facility configuration, purified hydrogen destination, and hydrogen purity expectations changed as the project evolved
    2. Developed the one (1) optimal solution which used hydrogen membrane technology for separation in more detail, including calculating the steam rate required for the new preheater to the membrane itself and validating the existing compressors and exchangers for recycling the purified hydrogen
  • Obtained a quote for the client on the hydrogen membrane skid from a vendor and included the pricing in an equipment list.
  • Generated a detailed final report containing a Process Flow Diagram (PFD), heat and material balance (HMB), equipment evaluations, preliminary pipe sizing, and future testing recommendations.

PROCESS relied on its in-depth knowledge of fluid dynamics, heat transfer, and separations in the execution of these tasks.

Industry Type

Petroleum Refining


Utilized Skills

  • Technical alternatives evaluations
  • Refinery revamp

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