Refinery Hydrogen


uop-hydrogen-page art

Watch PSA Technology

PSA Series Part 1: Hydrogen Purification Overview

50 Years of Innovation in Hydrogen Processing

The first industrial application of Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) went on stream in 1966. Today, more than 1,000 Honeywell UOP PSA systems have been designed, fabricated and delivered worldwide, representing about 25 million Nm³/h of pure hydrogen produced.

Download PSA Revamp case study

Download PSA summary paper

Learn how Honeywell UOP can help you efficiently operate your hydrogen network

From process unit revamps to catalyst changeouts, we have many solutions to reduce net hydrogen consumption and reduce your hydrogen costs.

Watch PSA Technology

PSA Series Part 2: Revamps

Watch PSA Technology

PSA Series Part 3: Innovation and the Purity Guard System

Dependable pure hydrogen

View Larger ImagePurify & Recover

UOP offers the most reliable processes to produce high purity hydrogen to help you 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

Polybed PSA and Polysep Membranes are typically found in multiple locations within the refinery flowscheme.

Which technology is the best fit for my hydrogen purification and recovery application? The specifics of your hydrogen application (flow rate, pressure, product purity, etc.) are used to select the optimum technology solution.

The UOP Polybed PSA System is a cyclical process in which the impurities in a hydrogen containing steam are adsorbed at high pressure and subsequently rejected at low pressure. The hydrogen produced is at just slightly below the feed pressure and is typically upgraded to 99.9+% purity with hydrogen recoveries of 60 to >90%. UOP has provided more than 1000 Polybed PSA Systems in more than 70 countries. The vast majority of the Polybed PSA Systems have been in hydrogen service. View the standard PolyBed PSA System flow scheme

The economic justification for a PSA unit will depend on the H2 content of the feed stream and the how the customer values chemical hydrogen versus hydrogen as fuel. Generally the following rules apply:

  • Hydrogen feed concentrations > 55% are easily economically justified.
  • Between 40 and 50% H2 can be economically upgraded dependent on site specific requirements
  • Below 40% H2, economics become more difficult to justify.

The UOP Polysep Membrane System separates a gas mixture by the differences in permeation rates of various gases through the polymeric membrane. The more permeable gas (hydrogen) is enriched on the permeate side of the membrane, while the less permeable gas enriches on the feed side of the membrane. The membrane separation of these gases is a pressure driven process and requires a high feed pressure. The hydrogen product stream is produced at a lower pressure by taking a pressure drop across the membrane. The non-permeate stream is available at essentially feed pressure. The membrane process is continuous, and produces permeate and non-permeate streams at constant flow, pressure and purity.

The membrane process is the most economical process for high pressure purge gas upgrading. The membrane system is normally designed to produce hydrogen at 300-600 psig, 92-98 vol-% purity, and 85-95% hydrogen recovery. The product delivery pressure is chosen to allow the product to enter one of the stages of the make-up hydrogen compressors. Since the Polysep Membrane system was commercialized in 1985, UOP has provided more than 80 Polysep Membrane systems. View the standard PolySep Membrane System flow scheme.

Available 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.

Contact us for more information.

More hydrogen for downstream use

View Larger ImageMembranes

UOP offers the advanced technology and products that can help you maximize your hydrogen production for downstream use. There are multiple options to suit your unique needs and configuration:

  • A new or revamped UOP CCR Platforming Process unit to process more feed or operate at a lower pressure can produce more hydrogen
  • A reload to your CCR Platforming unit with the UOP CCR Platforming catalysts designed for maximum hydrogen yields.
  • A reload to your Platforming unit with the UOP CCR Platforming catalysts designed for higher activity to enable you to process more feed and make more hydrogen.
  • Integrating a UOP CCR Platforming Process unit with a Polybed PSA system with tail gas recycle can significantly improve hydrogen available.
  • Steam reformer hydrogen production can be increased by revamping the associated Polybed PSA system.
  • Steam reformer hydrogen production can be increased by reloading the associated Polybed PSA system with high performance.

Contact us for more information on how to get more Hydrogen for your refining needs

Efficiently use your hydrogen resources

View Larger ImageHydrogen Recovery & CompressionUOP offers many processes and catalysts that maximize the efficient use of hydrogen while meeting your processing objectives.

  • The flash gas from your UOP Unicracking and Unionfining process units is often sent to a UOP Polybed PSA System for hydrogen recovery and reuse
  • High pressure purge gas from the UOP Unicracking and Unionfining process units can be sent to a UOP Polysep Membrane System to recover the hydrogen for reuse
  • UOP Unicracking catalysts can minimize the production of lower value light hydrocarbons (LPG) which in turn will reduce your hydrogen consumption.
  • UOP Unicracking catalysts are designed to selectively add hydrogen to products to meet processing objects. The selective use of hydrogen enables UOP Unicracking catalysts to meet your processing objectives with minimum hydrogen consumption.
  • The UOP Unionfining Catalysts can be used to meet your product requirements with the most efficient use of hydrogen.

Contact us for more information.

Jump To: Downloads

Hydrogen Management studies to create value & improve your margins

Optimization Studies

Today’s refineries face the tremendous challenge of meeting an increasing demand for cleaner fuels. To meet these new fuel specifications, you need more hydrogen, pure and simple. UOP has creative solutions to address your hydrogen needs while also maximizing profitability.

Because of its system-wide effect on throughput, product quality, conversion, yield and catalyst life, hydrogen has a major impact on your profit margin. By combining hydrogen network analysis with an in-depth understanding of the role it plays in hydrogen-consuming processes, we help you leverage opportunities and maximize profitability.

We go beyond simply reducing hydrogen costs. Our methodology analyzes the refinery hydrogen balance as a network problem. We set minimum hydrogen requirements and define improvements using refinery-wide hydrogen network models, and hydrogen generation and purification process models. Our approach can set minimum consumption targets and determine where you can make network improvements.

When Can You Benefit the Most?

When you plan major hydroprocessing changes, or when a design basis is set for new/revamped hydroprocessing units, it’s time to look at how all your resources and processes will work together. UOP’s Hydrogen Management Studies analyze your hydrogen balance as a network to help determine which solutions will optimize the use of hydrogen through your entire complex or refinery.

We help you set minimum hydrogen requirements and identify where to make improvements. We then evaluate whether improvements to your existing hydrogen purification units are enough to meet your goals. If not, we may recommend that you look at alternatives for new purification.

We combine analyses of the hydrogen process and purification systems with a thorough understanding of the role of hydrogen partial pressure in the downstream processes and its impact on your business. We run an H2 network model to determine how optimization and “what-if” scenarios will impact your business.

Can we identify any hidden potential profit? Will the recommended process improvements sustain the projected benefits over time? Our studies have the answers you need.

Contact us for more information.