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Comment PDF Separation Processes

Troubleshooting and Solving a Sour-Water Stripper Problem

By Jeremy Ponting Fluor Ltd. Henry Z. Kister and Richard B. Nielsen Fluor Corp. |

A recent book by Lieberman [1] stresses that to combat the environmental crisis that our planet is facing, it is essential to make existing units work adequately and efficiently. Equipment that malfunctions or limps along limits production and does not permit good energy and equipment utilization. This, in turn, leads to higher environmental degradation, not to mention plant downtime and lost production costs. Lieberman concludes that good troubleshooting and adequate repair of malfunctioning units is central for efficiently utilizing our resources. Towers that strip components out of water (so this water can be re-utilized or disposed of) are common in the process industries. In petroleum refineries and gas plants, the main components stripped out are hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, and the tower is referred to as a “sour water stripper.” The technology for stripping sour water has been established for decades. It was an engineer, Beychok [2], who wrote the leading text on the subject as far back as 1967. Yet almost five decades later, there are many sour-water strippers that do not operate adequately and efficiently. Many “war stories” of sour water strippers that failed to achieve their design objectives are…
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