Hydrogen Purification

UOP Polybed PSA and Polysep Membrane technologies are used in multiple applications to help produce high purity hydrogen.

Hydrogen can be produced on purpose or can be a valuable by-product. Regardless of how it’s produced, it must be recovered and purified to be useful in downstream processing. UOP technologies can be used in many applications to recover and produce valuable hydrogen.

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Hydrogen technologies for multiple applications

View Larger ImageH2 Selection MatrixThe choice of hydrogen purification and recovery technology will depend on your feed stream characteristics and your processing objectives.

UOP Polybed™ PSA and Polysep™ Membrane Systems are used in many applications for the recovery and purification of hydrogen.

  • Steam Reformers (Hydrogen Plants)
  • Refinery Streams (Platforming, Unionfining, Unicracking)
  • Ethylene Off-Gas
  • Methanol Off-Gas
  • Partial Oxidation / Syngas
  • Coke Oven Gas
  • Ammonia Off-Gas
  • Chlorine Off-Gas
  • Styrene Off-Gas
  • Oleflex Off-Gas
  • Steel Industry Gas (DRI)

To date, UOP has provided more than 1,000 Polybed PSA Systems and more than 70 Polysep Membrane Systems worldwide.

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Dependable pure hydrogen with 99.9% on-stream reliability

View Larger ImageSteam Reforming

Steam reforming of light hydrocarbons, such as natural gas, under a steam atmosphere, is the dominant technology for production of syngas, and thus, of hydrogen. The hydrogen produced by this process requires purification before it is used in downstream processes.

The gas produced by the steam reforming reaction first passes through a shift reactor, where carbon monoxide converts to carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Leaving the shift reactor, the gas contains approximately 75 vol-% hydrogen, together with carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and some unconverted methane (plus nitrogen, if this was present in the feed to the steam reformer).

The gas from the shift reactor is sent to the PSA unit that will remove any unconverted methane, together with the carbon monoxide and the carbon dioxide.

The PSA system produces a pure hydrogen product (up to 99.999 vol-%) and a low-pressure gas stream, the tail gas. The tail gas contains all of the impurities present in the feed gas and some of the hydrogen used for regeneration of the adsorbent. This tail gas has a heating value of 1,000 to over 2,000 kcal/Nm3 (106-212 BTU/SCF), depending on the feed gas composition. It is used as fuel gas for the steam reformer furnace where it provides 50 to 90% of the total heat input.

UOP Polybed™ PSA systems are designed to reliably get the highest purity hydrogen to help you meet new clean fuel regulations and realize more valuable products per barrel of crude oil.

For downstream processing, the high purity hydrogen from PSA units simply provides superior performance and a better bottom line. Even a small percentage increase in the amount of hydrogen recovered in your unit can mean a significant profit increase.

  • Proprietary UOP adsorbents enable higher hydrogen recovery and give you more hydrogen per unit of feed, reducing your operating costs.
  • More than 99.9% on-stream reliability to help prevent any downtime or lost profits
  • Supplied as modular equipment to ensure rapid delivery
  • Fixed pricing for accurate forecasting of project expenses

We’ve installed more than 1,000 PSA systems in more than 70 countries, and have revamped more than 250 existing PSA units, demonstrating higher capacity and higher recovery.

Pre-commissioning, commissioning, after market debottlenecking, troubleshooting, upgrades and revamp and optimization services are also available.

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Hydrogen to meet clean fuel specs and get more per barrel of oil

View Larger ImageHydrogen Network

UOP offers processes designed to reliably produce the high purity hydrogen you need to meet new clean fuel regulations and realize more product per barrel of crude oil.

For downstream processing, the high purity hydrogen from UOP Polybed™ PSA and Polysep™Membrane systems simply provide superior performance and a better bottom line.

Within the refinery, Polybed PSA and Polysep Membrane systems are typically used to recover and purify hydrogen from the following sources:

  • Steam Reforming (Hydrogen Plants)
  • Catalytic Reforming Net Gas
  • Hydrocracker and Hydrotreater Purge Gases
  • Hydrocracker Flash Gas

Increase hydrogen yields in your reformer

Catalytic reforming, like the UOP CCR Platforming™ process, is a significant source of hydrogen in almost every refinery around the world. Lower reactor pressures promote higher yields of hydrogen, aromatics and reformate. Recent designs for new UOP CCR Platforming Process units have optimized reactor operating pressures to maximize increase yields of valuable liquid products and hydrogen. CCR Platforming units also offer the flexibility of higher severity operation for increased hydrogen production.

UOP has developed an integrated design for new CCR Platforming Process units and Polybed PSA systems to substantially increase hydrogen and LPG recovery that would otherwise be lost in the PSA unit tail gas. The PSA unit tail gas is recycled to the recontacting section of the CCR Platforming Process unit which significantly increases the recovery of both hydrogen and LPG.

Frequently the performance of the catalytic reforming process and the production of hydrogen can be improved by replacing the catalyst. UOP offers a full range of catalysts for the Fixed Bed and CCR Platforming Processes.

Efficiently use hydrogen in your hydroprocessing unit

Hydroprocessing units are typically the largest hydrogen consumers in the refinery. The UOP Unionfining™ and UOP Unicracking™ processes have been developed to meet processing objectives while efficiently using hydrogen. During the unit design, the process configuration and operating conditions (unit and hydrogen partial pressure, recycle gas rate, catalyst volumes, make-up gas rate, make-up gas purity, purge gas rate etc.) can be optimized to accommodate the existing or future refinery hydrogen systems and to enable recycling or reusing purge gas streams.

Frequently a Polybed PSA or Polysep Membrane System will be integrated into the design in a hydroprocessing unit to maximize the efficient use of hydrogen. The flash gas from these units is often sent to a Polybed PSA system for hydrogen recovery. High pressure purge gas can be sent to a Polysep Membrane system to recover the hydrogen for reuse.

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Increased hydrogen purity for improved performance

View Larger ImageEthylene Off-Gas

Purification of hydrogen within the ethylene plant meets two purposes: internal demand (for acetylene conversion and hydrogenation), and export hydrogen. Within the ethylene plant, the de-methanizer column overhead stream provides the best source of hydrogen. After treatment in the cold box where most of the hydrocarbon components are removed, the stream contains 80-95 vol-% hydrogen. The balance is carbon monoxide, methane, and traces of other hydrocarbons.

UOP’s Polybed™ PSA system can extract high purity hydrogen from this stream using a cost efficient and simple process scheme. The Polybed PSA system produces dry hydrogen at greater than 99.9 vol-% with a carbon monoxide specification of less than 10 ppm.

The higher hydrogen purity allows the ethylene plant’s acetylene converter to operate at a lower temperature, leading to a longer catalyst life and lower green oil formation. Since the PSA system removes all the methane and carbon monoxide, the cryogenics system can be eliminated or designed for lower hydrogen purity in the overhead, resulting in a less complex and less expensive cold box. Since the PSA system operates at the low temperature at which the stream exits the cold box, often as low as 10°C (50°F), no feed conditioning is required.

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Skid mounted and modular equipment reduce costs, minimize schedules and increase quality

Hydrogen PSA

UOP has a proven record of on-time delivery of high quality Polybed PSA and Polysep Membrane Systems. On-time. On-spec. No excuses.

  • UOP Polybed™ PSA and Polysep™ Membrane Systems are provided as skid mounted and modular equipment.
  • UOP does the detailed design and project management for the construction of each Polybed PSA and Polysep Membrane System.
  • Fabrication is carried out by a select group of rigorously qualified sub-vendors, and PSA unit valves must pass a rigorous series of lab and field tests prior to commercial use.
  • The Polybed PSA and Polysep Membrane Systems fabricators are selected only after passing a carefully monitored UOP qualification process. Our suppliers receive regular audits to monitor their quality systems and results.
  • UOP conducts a thorough inspection of the Polybed PSA and Polysep Membrane systems during all phases of fabrication. Inspectors are trained to assure compliance with UOP requirements that exceed code.
  • The high operating reliability of UOP Polybed PSA and Polysep Membrane Systems is ensured by the rigorous application of our quality management process during project execution, the use of proven hardware components, and a continuous design and operating experience feedback system.
  • UOP services provide you with the pre-commissioning, commissioning, debottlenecking, troubleshooting, upgrades, revamps and optimization services for flawless start-up, smooth operation and optimal performance.

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