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1 -Amine Unit: Absorption

Loop / Process Description


The gas feed, containing CO2, is contacted counter-currently with lean solvent (typically 15-30% DIPA
in water) entering the top of the absorber (40C) under flow and temperature control. The purified
product leaves the absorber at the top, via a knock-out drum. The pressure in the absorber is about 5
bar, and the absorber is filled with trays or structured packing.

The temperature of the lean solvent is kept sufficiently high to avoid condensation of hydrocarbons in
the column. If hydrocarbons are allowed to condense in the absorber, severe foaming of the solvent
can occur.

Material used
The absorber column, overhead piping and the treated gas drum are normally manufactured out of carbon
steel with a corrosion allowance of 3 mm.

Internals and structured packing are normally made of stainless steel 304L.

General Materials Engineering Considerations


The internal corrosion of the absorber column can be monitored by the inspection of the bottom outlet
nozzle/piping. Internal inspection of the absorber column is only required on an opportunity basis when
cleaning/visual inspection is required on the internals from an operations point of view. On this opportunity
inspection, the feed gas inlet/absorption region in the column is of most interest, due to a slightly higher
operational temperature as a result of the absorption heat of the process.

Corrosion under insulation can be a problem in the amine unit with temperatures in the range 60-120C.

Forms of Degradation and Applicable Inspection Techniques


Corrosion under insulation
- CUI detection
- Insulation damage

Amine corrosion
- wall loss

Amine SCC
- crack detection and sizing

Sulphide SC(for H2S-rich streams)


- crack detection and sizing
- hardness testing

CO2corrosion(for CO2-rich streams)


- wall loss
2- Amine Unit: Rich solvent draw-off
Loop / Process Description
Rich (or 'fat') solvent leaves the absorber column under level control and is routed to the solvent regeneration system
either directly or indirectly via a rich solvent flash vessel.

Material used
The piping lean/rich heat exchangers are normally manufactured out of stainless steel. The flash vessel is normally
manufactured out of carbon steel with a corrosion allowance of 3 mm. The lean/rich heat exchangers on the rich side are
normally manufactured out of carbon steel with stainless steel cladding.

General Materials Engineering Considerations


The stainless steel components do corrode by their contact with the rich solvent, therefore attention is required. The carbon
steel flash vessel will corrode through contact with the rich solvent and requires inspection.

The lean/rich heat exchangers are subject to flashing conditions on the rich side and can foul due to the build-up of heat stable
amine salts or heavy hydrocarbon ingress in the system.

Corrosion under insulation can be a problem in the amine unit with temperatures in the range 60-120C.

Forms of Degradation and Applicable Inspection Techniques


Corrosion under insulation
- CUI detection
- Insulation damage

Amine corrosion
- wall loss

Amine SCC
- crack detection and sizing

Sulphide SC(for H2S-rich streams)


- crack detection and sizing
- hardness testing

CO2corrosion(for CO2-rich streams)


- wall loss
3- Amine Unit: Fuel Gas System
Loop / Process Description
The flash vessel route is used when treating high pressure gas streams or when solvents are being
used with a physical component in its formulation. In this flash vessel entrained and dissolved
hydrocarbons are flashed off. The flash gas is normally routed to the plant fuel gas system. The
flash gas may need to be treated to meet the fuel system H2S specification. Alternatively the flash
gas may be re-compressed and recycled to the feed gas.

Material used
The piping are normally manufactured out of carbon steel with a corrosion allowance of 1 mm. In some cases stainless steel is
applied.

General Materials Engineering Considerations


For the carbon steel case in non-condensing conditions there should be no problem, so the performance of the heat-tracing
should be monitored. Where stainless steel is applied there should be no problems.

Corrosion under insulation can be a problem in the amine unit with temperatures in the range 60-120C.

Forms of Degradation and Applicable Inspection Techniques


Corrosion under insulation
- CUI detection
- Insulation damage

Amine corrosion
- wall loss

Amine SCC
- crack detection and sizing

Sulphide SC(for H2S-rich streams)


- crack detection and sizing
- hardness testing

CO2 corrosion(for CO2-rich streams)


- wall loss
4- Amine Unit: Rich hot solvent
Loop / Process Description
This is the piping from the lean/rich heat exchanger up until the regeneration column.

Material used
The piping is normally manufactured out of stainless steel.

General Materials Engineering Considerations


The stainless steel components do corrode through contact with the rich solvent, therefore attention is required.

Corrosion under insulation can be a problem in the amine unit with temperatures in the range 60-120C.

Forms of Degradation and Applicable Inspection Techniques


Corrosion under insulation
- CUI detection
- Insulation damage

Amine corrosion
- wall loss

Amine SCC
- crack detection and sizing

Sulphide SC(for H2S-rich streams)


- crack detection and sizing
- hardness testing

CO2 corrosion(for CO2-rich streams)


- wall loss
5- Amine Unit: Solvent regeneration and
reboiler
Loop / Process Description
In the regenerator, the rich descending solvent is heated to approximately 110-120C
(125C for Sulfinol) and stripped of acid gases counter-currently by steam. The steam is
generated in a reboiler by boiling the (semi-) lean solvent taken from the bottom of the
regenerator. The reboiler is usually heated by low-pressure steam. In cases where steam
is not available either a hot oil system is used to supply heat to the reboiler or a direct-fired
furnace reboiler is used instead.

Material used
The regenerator bottom section, reboiler and piping are normally manufactured out of carbon steel with a
corrosion allowance of 3 mm.

General Materials Engineering Considerations


The bottom outlet of the regenerator is representative of the corrosion conditions of the bottom section of
the column. The inlets and outlets of the regenerator reboiler are inspection points for monitoring the
corrosivity of the loop. Special attention is required for the flashing zone in the reboiler when severe
corrosion is found in the outlets of the reboiler.

Corrosion under insulation can be a problem in the amine unit with temperatures in the range 60-120C.

Forms of Degradation and Applicable Inspection Techniques


Corrosion under insulation
- CUI detection
- Insulation damage

Amine corrosion
- wall loss

Amine SCC
- crack detection and sizing

Sulphide SC(for H2S-rich streams)


- crack detection and sizing
- hardness testing

CO2 corrosion(for CO2-rich streams)


- wall loss
6- Amine Unit: Lean solvent
Loop / Process Description
Solvents are stripped from acid gases in the
regenerator by steam generated in the reboiler. The hot
regenerated lean solvent is pumped via the bottom of
the regenerator, which serves as a buffer vessel, via the
lean/rich amine heat exchanger, to the lean solvent air
or water cooler from where it flows to the absorber.

A slipstream of the circulating lean solvent (10-


20%) is passed through a mechanical filter to
control the suspended solids concentration in the
solvent. Suspended solids are considered to be
a major cause of foaming in absorbers and
regenerators. The filtration system is usually
located between the lean/rich solvent heat
exchanger and the solvent cooler to take
advantage of the lower solvent viscosity.

The lean solvent should be on the shell side of


the lean/rich amine heat exchanger.

Material used
The piping and lean amine cooler, storage tank are normally manufactured out of carbon steel with a
corrosion allowance of 1 mm. The lean/rich solvent heat exchanger on the lean side is normally
manufactured out of carbon steel, except for the stainless steel tubes.

Plants using seawater as the cooling medium may have aluminium brass tubes and the carbon steel
clad/overlay-welded with aluminium bronze.

General Materials Engineering Considerations


The lean solvent loop is normally not very corrosive, however there are a few points to consider. The lean
solvent can be corrosive in locations of high flow velocities, since the remaining CO2 (trace) in the lean
amine provides a small scale on the side of the carbon steel, which can be removed by the high flow rates
(flow restrictions/reducers).

The solvent condition requires monitoring, with respect to the heat stable amine salts, oxygen ingress, acid
formation (solvent degradation) and iron pick-up in the system.

Corrosion under insulation can be a problem in the amine unit with temperatures in the range 60-120C.

Forms of Degradation and Applicable Inspection Techniques


Corrosion under insulation
- CUI detection
- Insulation damage
Amine corrosion
- wall loss

Amine SCC
- crack detection and sizing

Sulphide SC(for H2S-rich streams)


- crack detection and sizing
- hardness testing

CO2 corrosion(for CO2-rich streams)


- wall loss
7- Amine Unit: Regenerator overhead
Loop / Process Description
The water-saturated overhead vapours from the regenerator, consisting of expelled
gases, steam and residual hydrocarbons, are passed via an air or water cooled
condenser to a reflux vessel (accumulator). The condensed water is separated from the
acid gases in the accumulator and pumped back to the top of the regenerator, where it
serves as a water wash to reduce solvent entrainment. The acid gases then leave the
reflux vessel for disposal or further treatment.

These disposal facilities depend on the nature of the acid gas. For example, a H2S rich
acid gas product is normally routed to a Claus sulphur recovery unit. A CO2rich acid gas
on the other hand, can either be vented to atmosphere or incinerated if it contains
significant concentrations of hydrocarbons or H2S.

Material used
The top of the regenerator and the reflux accumulator are normally manufactured out of carbon steel with a
stainless steel cladding. The piping and the regenerator condenser are normally manufactured out of
stainless steel.

General Materials Engineering Considerations


The top of the regenerator column and the overhead circuit may experience high concentrations of
CO2containing gas, which is not a severe service for the stainless steel equipment.

Corrosion under insulation can be a problem in the amine unit with temperatures in the range 60-120C.

Forms of Degradation and Applicable Inspection Techniques


Corrosion under insulation
- CUI detection
- Insulation damage

Amine corrosion
- wall loss

Amine SCC
- crack detection and sizing

Sulphide SC(for H2S-rich streams)


- crack detection and sizing
- hardness testing

CO2 corrosion(for CO2-rich streams)


- wall loss