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  • Writer's pictureSara McIntosh

How to Eliminate H2S & SO2 Maintenance Related Emissions at Sulfur Handling Units in Refineries

Vapor Point Assists Client with Blowdown During Turnaround
Vapor Point Provides Emissions Control Solution for Client During Maintenance Activities

The EPA and state enforcement agencies have enacted stringent regulations directly impacting flare operations, while also imposing new National Ambient Emissions Standards. Federal and State Agencies have emphasized a highlighted effort to reduce H2S and ultimately SOx emissions from thermal destruction control devices. Refinery Ja rules address the reduction of sulfides to flare systems, which translates to significant operational downtime and unplanned interruptions leading to additional costs and loss of production at refineries.

The refining industry is challenged with developing alternative technologies to control hazardous and regulated emissions such as H2S and other sulfur containing compounds. The direct impact of regulatory action is on the shoulders of those responsible for the planning, execution, and management of unit operations, planned maintenance, and turnaround activities.

Vapor Point Has Equipment to Meet Numerous Pressure and Flow Rates - Can Handle Jobs Big and Small
Vapor Point Has Equipment to Meet Numerous Pressure and Flow Rates - Can Handle Jobs Big and Small

How are H2S and SO2 removed?

• Portable thermal destruction – Requires AMP permits, can produce NOx and SOx

• Specialized activated carbon – creates need for offsite waste disposal

• Amine treating- capital extensive and typically only used as a process

• Liquid scrubbing - requires proper handling and disposal

Challenges to Sulfur Removal

• Operating conditions of the refining units - liquid carryover, high temperatures, elemental sulfur

• Personnel safety - high exposure risks to toxic/harmful effluents, breathing air requirements

• H2S monitoring - handheld meters typically range from 0 to 200 ppm, Drager / Sendidyne tubes have ranges of effectiveness

Mobile H2S and SO2 control technologies can be applied as an extension of the process and turnaround activities, to eliminate the refinery’s reliance on their thermal combustion control devices. This results in improved worker safety, reduced work interruptions and delays, and the elimination of concerns with Ja regulations. Vapor Point’s proven processes were developed with input from refining personnel who needed alternative technologies that would offer operational flexibility eliminating the various sulfur contaminants. Benefits of Sulfur Removal

• Safer working conditions - decrease in breathing air requirements

• Reduced downtime during turnarounds

• Minimize SOX Production

• Reduced corrosion potential in flare lines and other system components

• Commercial and marketing opportunities for cleaner fuels

• Compliance with newer and more stringent regulations

Vapor Point's Mobile System is Ready to Assist with Your Needs
Vapor Point's Mobile System is Ready to Assist with Your Needs

Numerous units within the refinery process have had great success using Vapor Point’s alternative control system including crude units, coker units, delayed coker units, reformer units, sulfur recovery units, pipestills, hydrocracker units, flare drums, and amine units. The H2S controls have been significant even when the flares are available – the removal of H2S reduces the SOx emissions seen at the flare, which allows for a faster introduction of H2S-free vapors to the flare resulting in less downtime. Time after time, Vapor Point’s emission control systems and custom engineered process vessels have met the needs of the refining industry on field implementations.

Vapor Point’s proven alternative to flare use virtually eliminates H2S and SO2 as we deliver dramatically reduced downtime, greater efficiencies and lower costs. Read our case study to learn about a safer, more cost-effective method for eliminating H2S and SO2 maintenance related emissions at SRU sulfur sumps, coker, and other sulfur handling units of refineries.


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About the Author:

Sean Kirkpatrick joined Vapor Point in 2012 as the Chief Operating Officer. Sean applies this rare combination of technical and management expertise to ensure that Vapor Point's internal operations work seamlessly in support of our clients' environmental initiatives. He also works closely with clients to design and implement innovative vapor control systems that meet regulatory compliance and protect their workers. Contact:

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