Increasingly strict environmental and product-quality regulations and the trend towards processing blends of heavier asphaltenic crudes with LTOs in many cases have resulted in higher hydrocracking and hydrotreating capacities. This has resulted in higher hydrogen volume requirements as well as higher hydrogen purity.
Efficient use of hydrogen is a necessity with higher hydroprocessing throughputs and severities reported in 2015. During the production of hydrogen in a steam methane reformer (SMR) plant, CO2 is also produced. In fact, the SMR process in centralized plants emits more than twice the CO2 than hydrogen produced. To avoid CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, CO2 can be concentrated, captured, and sequestered.
Sequestration concepts and technologies are relatively new while SMR is a mature technology, but the problem with SMR technology for baseload hydrogen production is that it is operating at or near its theoretical limits. To deal with these challenges, hydrogen technology licensors have introduced improvements to various sections of SMR units and hydrogen purification units, such that a refining facility can plan on increasing H2 production from their existing hydrogen production assets on a very cost-effective basis. Information relevant to these developments can be searched and downloaded from the “Archives” section of www.refineryoperations.com.