MATHESON delivers gas products and solutions to the refining and energy sector including gas-phase and liquid-phase products, plant design, construction, and plant operations management.
Your requirements for gas consumption may be large enough to justify an onsite syngas (HyCO) plant or air separation unit. Or, your requirements may be for over-the-fence supply of oxygen or nitrogen, a specialized gas management sub-system, or simply a cylinder of an EPA Protocol Standard.
While virtually any gas, from acetylene to xylene, can have an application in the energy industry, the gas products of greatest interest for large consumption volume are:
Refineries often produce their own hydrogen, but frequently may not produce the needed volume and purity. Onsite hydrogen plants and pipeline hydrogen can supplement the hydrogen produced by the refinery.
Onsite hydrogen production capabilities range from less than 0.1 mmscfd to over 100 mmscfd. Plant design is optimized to give an appropriate gas cost based on capital, feedstock, and operating expenses.
Hydrocracking and Hydrotreating
Hydrogen is required to remove sulfur and contaminants from gasoline and diesel as well as to convert components of crude oil into useful products.
Hydrogen is a feedstock in hydrogenation reactions used to produce a number of chemicals and petrochemicals.
Sulfur Recovery and Acid Gas Plants
Hydrogen can be added to the tail gas treating unit (TGTU) of a sulfur plant when the streams to be treated are leaner (i.e., less H2S).
Carbon monoxide is gas utilized as a feedstock in the production of a number of chemicals including acetic acid, polycarbonates, and polyurethane intermediates.
Hydrogenation, ammonia, methanol, FT, MTR, oxoalcohols, and acetate acid are just a few of the chemical production processes that can benefit from an economical supply of H2, CO, or syngas.
SMR (Steam Methane Reforming) and ATR (Autothermal Reforming) are both appropriate for gaseous feedstocks. If feedstock is liquid or solid, then POX (Partial Oxidation) technology is required.
If heavy liquids or solids are the feedstocks, the only option is to use gasification. It is non-catalytic reaction that affects conversions at high temperatures. Extent of feed conversion is highest (very low methane slip in raw syngas product) compared to SMR and ATR due to much higher operating temperatures. Due to solids or very viscus liquid feeds, the feed preparation and handling sections for such plants as well as processing schemes tend to be quite elaborate and capital intensive.
Raw syngas is cooled from 1500°F at the reformer exit to about 100°F and then separated into pure H2, CO, or syngas product streams as required. Separation technologies include CO2 scrubbing using amines, water CO shift, H2 PSA, CO VSA, membranes, and HyCO cold box.
When only one product is required out of H2, CO, and syngas, then the production of steam and by-product streams is minimized by process optimization as site-specific economics dictate.
The desired ratio of H2 and CO in syngas can be controlled by adjusting the process.
If process requirements do not justify onsite production, hydrogen may be supplied for bulk onsite storage as a cryogenic liquid or delivered in tube trailers in gas phase.
For laboratory, testing, or specialty applications, MATHESON supplies hydrogen and carbon monoxide in high pressure cylinders in a variety of purities, with custom mixtures also available.
Oxygen comprises nearly 21% of the air around us, and is produced using a technique known as air separation. Air separation may take place at extremely low temperatures (using a facility known as a cryogenic Air Separation Unit, ASU), or at near-ambient temperatures (non-cryogenic air separation). See our Air Separation Technologies page.
ASUs can produce oxygen in purities from 90 to over 99.5%. Higher purities can be achieved with post-separation purification.
Oxygen can be produced onsite, delivered by pipeline, delivered by bulk trailer into cryogenic storage vessels, or delivered into smaller MicroBulk containers.
Oxygen is offered in cylinders (including multi-packs). High pressure tube trailers are another option for some applications.
FCC Enrichment and NOx Reduction
Oxygen can be added to the regenerator of a fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) to improve yields, assist with coke burning and heat balance, and to reduce cyclone velocities. This can also reduce NOx and CO emissions.
Additionally, oxygen is used to produce ozone, which is required in the LoTOx NOx removal equipment incorporated into many FCC units.
Sulfur Recovery and Acid Gas Plants
The use of oxygen in a sulfur recovery unit (SRU) can increase plant capacity and help with contaminants and low hydrogen sulfide streams. Oxygen can also be used to boost temperature. Oxygen use can be intermittent or continuous.
Oxygenation of Wastewater
Oxygen is used to treat wastewater streams. The use of oxygen in place of air is often required by environmental regulations, and can also be used to improve efficiency, productivity and costs.
Petrochemical Production Applications
Oxygen is a required feedstock in many chemical manufacturing processes, including ethane cracking, ethylene oxide, titanium dioxide, propylene oxide, MEG, vinyl chloride monomer and vinyl acetate monomer production.
Many of these compounds are the backbone of the petrochemicals industry, so a safe, economical and reliable supply of oxygen is a necessity. Oxygen can also be used in oxidation and liquefaction processes, to produce syngas, and for air enrichment.
Nitrogen is the most plentiful element in the air around us: slightly more than 78% of ambient air is nitrogen. Like oxygen, nitrogen is produced by either cryogenic or non-cryogenic air separation. See our Air Separation Technologies page for a comparison of the two air separation approaches.
Air separation is capable of producing nitrogen at purities exceeding 99.99%. Post-separation purification can be used to achieve higher levels.
Nitrogen can be produced onsite, delivered by pipeline, delivered by bulk trailer into cryogenic storage vessels, or delivered into smaller MicroBulk containers.
Nitrogen is offered in cylinders (including multi-packs). High pressure tube trailers are another option for some applications.
Oil and Gas Exploration and Production – Mid-Stream and Transmission
Nitrogen is used to support oil and gas exploration, extraction, and processing. Nitrogen fluid pumping can provide cost, performance, and environmental advantages when used as an alternative to conventional hydraulic fracturing.
Pressure and Leak Testing, Purging and Blanketing, Emissions Control, Instrumentation and Safety
An inert gas such as nitrogen finds a multitude of applications in a refining or chemical facility. Nitrogen can be used to pressurize new, repaired, or modified tanks, pipelines or vessels to check process integrity and leak tightness.
Plant tanks and storage vessels can be purged and blanketed with nitrogen to displace air and flammable vapors for both safety and quality purposes. Nitrogen can be used to maintain an inert atmosphere to prevent product degradation by contaminants, moisture, or oxygen.
MATHESON can arrange to provide nitrogen and turnaround services to help your chemical plant get back up and running as quickly as possible. Using state-of-the-art equipment and MATHESON gases, we can provide cooling, heating and purging services on a short-term or intermittent basis.
Chemicals and Petrochemicals
Nitrogen is used as a reactant in the manufacture of ammonia (NH3) and other chemicals.
Nitrogen can be used to transfer liquid products to and from railcars, tanker trucks, or storage vessels without requiring pumps, mechanical compressors or external power sources.
Dry, inert nitrogen is ideal for transferring toxic fluids, flammable materials, and those materials that might become corrosive when contacted with moisture.
Liquid nitrogen can be used along with cryogenic recovery equipment to remove and recover volatile organic contaminants from process streams. Liquid nitrogen is also used in processes to remove nitrogen from natural gas.
Nitrogen (or liquid CO2) can be used to freeze a section of a pipeline’s contents. The frozen section, or plug, permits work such as valve repairs.
The use of liquid nitrogen is often preferred over mechanical refrigeration as a refrigerant for temperature control in a variety of processes, including solvent recovery and chemical processes.
Argon is the third largest component of air, with a concentration at just less than 1%. Like oxygen and nitrogen, argon is produced by cryogenic air separation. Air separation is capable of producing argon at purities exceeding 99.99%. Post-separation purification can be used to achieve higher levels.
Argon is typically produced at an ASU and delivered to the end user. It can be delivered by bulk trailer into cryogenic storage vessels, or delivered into smaller MicroBulk containers.
Argon is also offered in cylinders (including multi-packs). High pressure tube trailers are another option for some applications.
Welding and Construction
An inert gas such as argon finds a multitude of applications in a refining or chemical facility. Argon is most often used as a welding gas to protect the weld area. It is also used in construction where an inert gas is required. It can be used in place of nitrogen to pressurize new, repaired, or modified tanks, pipelines or vessels to check process integrity and leak tightness.
Argon is also often used in reactions when an inert atmosphere is needed. It is used in this way for the production of titanium and other reactive elements. Argon is used in fluorescent tubes and low-energy light bulbs and in the production of double-pane windows.
As much as we hear about carbon dioxide in the news, CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is roughly 0.04%, effectively disqualifying the atmosphere as a resource for CO2 collection. Instead, carbon dioxide is produced as a byproduct of the industrial production of ammonia and hydrogen.
Carbon dioxide can be produced onsite, delivered by pipeline, delivered by bulk trailer into cryogenic storage vessels, or delivered into smaller MicroBulk containers.
Carbon dioxide is offered in cylinders (including multi-packs). High pressure tube trailers are another option for some applications.
Oil and Gas Exploration and Production – Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)
The use of carbon dioxide is emerging as a leading approach for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) at “mature” oil fields.
Carbon dioxide can be used for pH control in wastewater treatment.
Liquid Carbon Dioxide
Liquid carbon dioxide can be used along with cryogenic recovery equipment to remove and recover volatile organic contaminants from process streams.
Liquid carbon dioxide (or liquid nitrogen) can be used to freeze a section of a pipeline’s contents. The frozen section, or plug, permits work such as valve repairs.
The use of liquid carbon dioxide (or nitrogen) is often preferred over mechanical refrigeration as a refrigerant for temperature control in a variety of processes, including solvent recovery and chemical processes.
MATHESON Will Help You Choose the Best Gas Supply Solution
One solution is that gas products can be delivered to your facility by truck or tanker.
In larger scale applications, a gas product delivery solution may be by production in an onsite plant or an over-the-fence solution by pipeline.
But in the real world, solutions for gas product delivery are much more than simply getting the product to your doorstep.
You can depend on MATHESON expertise for the design and configuration of storage facilities, piping, flow and pressure control, and other critical system and sub-system design considerations.
For onsite production or pipeline delivery operations, solutions include consideration of:
- Site planning
- Technology assessment
- Plant and subsystem design
- Component specification and selection
- Construction planning and management
- Plant and subsystem testing
- Ongoing plant operations
- Plant and subsystem maintenance and upgrades
- Facility ownership / operations / lease-back
Solutions can also encompass new product development and commercialization to meet your specific needs through R&D, analysis, and scale-up.
Onsite Production of Syngas, Hydrogen, and CO
The production of syngas (or either of its components: hydrogen and carbon monoxide) is typically done onsite using steam methane reforming (SMR), autothermal reforming (ATR), or partial oxidation (POX). Read more about HyCO/Syngas
Onsite or Near-Site Production of Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Argon
Production of oxygen, nitrogen, and argon is done by air separation. Cryogenic air separation is capable of producing large quantities of high purity gas and/or liquid phase product, which is then easily stored or used.
Non-cryogenic air separation is conducted near ambient temperature, so the product, oxygen or nitrogen, is always gas phase. Production quantity and purity in non-cryogenic air separation are not as high as the quantity and purity attainable with cryogenic air separation.
Onsite or Pipeline?
Syngas production, whether by SMR, ATR, or POX is nearly always onsite. Air separation may be onsite (produced on-premises), near-site (delivered by pipeline), or off-site (delivered by truck).
MATHESON expertise can work for you in the development of onsite gas production facilities:
- Cryogenic Air Separation
- Non-cryogenic Air Separation
- Steam Methane Reforming (SMR)
- Autothermal Reforming (ATR)
- Partial Oxidation (POX)
- Compressed Dry Air (CDA)
- Cryogenic Liquid Storage
- Gas Storage
- Gas Production Subsystems
- Feasibility evaluation
- Construction services
- Startup services
- Operation (including staffing)
While entirely parallel with the requirements of conventionally-sourced fuels, biofuels production may involve development and scaling challenges.
The MATHESON Team can help with biofuels production startup, growth planning, and expansion cycles.
Production scale for biofuels may be smaller; and production scale may be dynamic, as throughput increases.
Biofuels production sites may be moving from production development to commercial production, and scaling challenges may be part of the growing pains.
Utilize applied combustion knowhow to control gas injection for optimum H2/CO ratio; improve operational stability with varying feeds; and increase energy efficiency
Select and implement processes for removing contaminants such as sulfides, chlorides, NOx, particulates etc., with advanced approaches in gas purification and molecular separation
Use field-tested gas application technologies to optimize process productivity for thermochemical, FT synthesis, or microbial fermentation processes
Deploy cost-effective hydrogen supply via high pressure tubes or low cost onsite generation; and focus on improved process efficiency and lower gas consumption
Provide gas focused efficiency improvements in these established industry processes; offer knowhow in catalytic gas processes
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
Optimize equipment design and process conditions by analyzing material and energy flows and using computational fluid dynamics tools
Use controlled gas atmosphere knowhow to influence reaction rates in wide-ranging biological processes, from bacterial/catalytic fermentation to algae growth
Evaluate lower cost and more effective multi-component separation technologies as alternatives to typical high energy distillation for the processing of high purity product
Employ efficient protective atmosphere and vapor recovery in reactors and product tanks for lower costs and improved operational safety