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February Chementator Briefs

By Gerald Ondrey |

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Ammonia catalyst

Clariant Catalyst (Munich, Germany; www.clariant.com) and Casale SA (Lugano, Switzerland; www.casale.ch) have developed a new ammonia synthesis catalyst for sustainable CO2 reduction. Based on Clariant’s AmoMax 10 — a wüstite-based alternative to traditional magnetite-based catalysts — the AmoMax-Casale catalyst is said to have a significantly higher activity than previous catalysts. Developed using Clariant’s catalyst expertise and Casale’s ammonia converter-design know-how, AmoMax-Casale delivers an up to 30% higher efficiency factor, thanks to a larger active surface area than previous generations of AmoMax, thereby significantly lowering the energy consumption of an ammonia plant.

The catalyst’s higher activity allows operation of the ammonia synthesis loop with considerably less pressure, which means the plant consumes less energy to produce ammonia, and hence generates less CO2 emissions. The higher catalyst activity means higher conversion, so the plant will consume less energy for the recirculation of the process gas in the reactor loop.

The combination of a more active catalyst with the Casale design of converter internals makes the difference, says Clariant. A typical ammonia plant producing 1,600 ton/d, would potentially save $300,000/yr on energy costs. Furthermore, AmoMax-Casale is capable of increasing the ammonia production capacity by up to 5%, says Clariant.

The catalyst has already proven its performance in its first industrial reference at an ammonia plant in the Americas. That plant was upgraded to a Casale three-bed interchanger using the AmoMax-Casale catalyst in late 2019, and is already reporting energy savings of 50,000 kcal/m.t., which translates to an expected reduction of $700,000/yr in costs, and 6.148 tons in CO2 emissions.

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