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Urea Nostalgia

Shiraz Petrochemical Company proves need for lower oxygen content in 2005

Shiraz Petrochemical Company proves need for lower oxygen content in 2005

Starting in 1992, Safurex material (a super duplex material) was developed by Stamicarbon and Sandvik Materials Technology resulting if the fabrication of numerous HP Equipment items and complete HP synthesis sections. In case the HP stripper is made from Safurex and the carbamate condenser made from 25-22-2 stainless steel or Safurex, it is possible to reduce the oxygen content in the carbon dioxide from 0.6 vol% to only 0.3 vol% as has been proven for the first time at Shiraz Petrochemical Company in Shiraz in Islamic Republic of Iran. The lower oxygen content increases the capacity of the CO2 compressor, increases the conversion figures in the synthesis, reduces the ammonia emission figures and reduces the explosion risks.

 

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Giacomo Fauser (1892 – 1971)

Giacomo Fauser (1892 – 1971)

Giacomo Fauser was born in Novara on 11 January 1892. After classical studies, typical of that time, Giacomo Fauser enrolled at Milan Polytechnic and graduated in mechanical engineering on 23 December 1918, after the stagnation caused by the Great War. At that time the mechanical engineering studies contemplated also the design, construction and operation of chemical plants and these are the areas in which they would be distinguished Fauser. He started working very young and did the first experiments in the family foundry, realizing a electrolytic cell of water that would provide economic oxygen for autogenous welding. He developed the industrial production of ammonia by the process came to be known with the name "Fauser-Montecatini". Giacomo Fauser subsequently devised, in addition to that for ammonia, also to the processes for production of nitric acid (1923), ammonium sulphate (1927), ammonium nitrate (1931) and urea (1935). From those years, thanks to the results achieved, the company began to circulate the saying "Montecatini is Fauser and Fauser is Montecatini".

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John Bennet Lawes (1814-1900)

John Bennet Lawes (1814-1900)

More than 175 years ago, a scientific debate was raging in Europe over the importance of N for the growth of plants. British scientists Bennet Lawes and Joseph Henry Gilbert settled the debate when they published research showing that the addition of N fertilizers increased wheat yields in England. Fifty years later, industrialized nations were challenged with how to feed their growing populations and Great Britain was importing the majority of its wheat. In 1898, William Crooks, president for the British Association for the Advancement of Science, called for chemistry researchers to find solutions to aid in the manufacture of N fertilizers to help solve the coming food crisis.

 

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First Fertilizer

First Fertilizer

A new study reveals that these early agriculturalists were fertilizing their crops with manure 8000 years ago, thousands of years earlier than previously thought. So how did early farmers figure out that spreading manure was a key to farming success? Bogaard says that there are several plausible scenarios. Areas of "natural dung accumulation," where animals hung out, would have provided "patches of superfertile ground that early crops would have colonized," she points out, adding that "subsistence farmers are extremely observant of small differences in growth and productivity among their plots." Click here for more information.

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Umberto Zardi invented the kettle type carbamate condenser

Umberto Zardi invented the kettle type carbamate condenser

Mr. Umberto Zardi, president of Casale Group, has numerous patents registered. One we like to highlight: US patent 4,082,797 filed on April 20, 1976. This patent claims the invention of the horizontal kettle type high pressure carbamate condenser and at that time Mr. Umberto Zardi worked for Snamprogetti.

“In a urea-synthesis installation, the problem of the condensation of the ammonium carbamate is solved by providing a condensation zone composed of a horizontal tube bundle which is placed under the static pressure of a liquid head. The ratio of the liquid head height to the diameter of the circumference encompassing the outermost tube layer of the bundle of tubes is critical: it should be between 5 and 30, 10 being the preferred value.” The purpose of the liquid head is to assure an even distribution of gas and liquid at the inlet of the condenser.

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First Urea Plant in China

First Urea Plant in China

The first urea plant in China was the conventional Stamicarbon total recycle plant at Lutianhua in Luzhou, Sichuan. The license was sold to CNTIC in 1963 and the plant design capacity was two lines of 250 mtpd. The contractor was Continental Engineers in the Netherlands. Later this plant was debottlenecked and it remained in operation until very recently.

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First HP CO2 stripper with 25-22-2 tubes

First HP CO2 stripper with 25-22-2 tubes

After the first CO2 strippers were taken into operation having 316L Urea Grade heat exchanger tubes, it appeared that, short after the start up, these HP Strippers with 316L UG heat exchanger tubes were not resistant under the severe conditions present in a HP Stripper.

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First NH3 synthesis reactor

First NH3 synthesis reactor

High pressure reactor (steel) used for ammonia production. Following the Haber process. Built in 1921 by the Baden Aniline and Soda-Fabrik AG in Ludwigshafen am Rhein. Now re-erected on the premises of the University of Karlsruhe, Germany.

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Piet Kaasenbrood

Piet Kaasenbrood

In 1967 Stamicarbon revolutionized the urea process by the invention of the HP CO2 Stripper by Mr. Petrus JC Kaasenbrood. The HP CO2 stripper did lead to following three main benefits: 

1. the carbamate could be recycled at synthesis pressure so now extra water needed to be added to recycle the carbamate;
2. no medium pressure recirculation section was needed anymore and
3. with the condensation of strip gasses in the high pressure carbamate condenser low pressure steam could be produced, which could be used in the downstream sections leading to a reduction of the steam consumption of a urea plant of about a factor two.

US patent 3,356,723 describes the invention of the HP CO2 stripper:

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Mr. Hou Debang, founder of Chinese nitrogen fertilizer industry

Mr. Hou Debang, founder of Chinese nitrogen fertilizer industry

Mr. Hou Debang was born in 1890 and after graduating at Tsinghua University, he went to MIT and got a doctor degree at Colombia University in the United States. Mr. Hou Debang was one of the pioneers of the nitrogen fertilizer industry in China. In 1937 he helped establish the Nanjing ammonium sulphate factory and he is seen as the founder of the ABC (ammonium bi-carbonate) process, which was very popular in China with more than 100 plants. Click here for More Information

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First CO2 strippers

First CO2 strippers

In 1967 the first two CO2 Strippers were taken into operation by Stamicarbon. One in the DSM urea plant in The Netherlands 220 mtpd plant and the other one in the Salzgitter Urea plant in Germany, a 165 mtpd plant (refer to picture). The materials of construction for the heat exchanger tubes of these Strippers was 316L UG. The measured corrosion rate was between 0,15 to 0,4 mm per year on stream.

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Joseph van Waes

Joseph van Waes

In 1950’s Mr. Joseph van Waes  discovered that oxygen can reduce corrosion rates of stainless steels in urea synthesis conditions. Click here for more information.

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Carl Bosch

Carl Bosch

Mr. Carl Bosch developed the chemical high pressure method during the establishment of the new ammonia industry and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1932. Click here for more information.

Link to Carl Bosch Museum

 
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