The Haldor Topsoe Convection Reformer, HTCR is based on the convection principle which allows for the design of very compact and efficient reformers. This HTCR concept is industrially proven and is operating successfully in several hydrogen plants worldwide.
Typical applications for HTCR hydrogen plants
A desire to improve plant economy through a better utilization of oil fractions combined with stricter legislation has already increased the demand for hydrogen in refineries significantly. In many cases the additional hydrogen demand will exceed the amount of hydrogen available even after process optimization and require access to additional hydrogen production capacity. Other applications for medium sized hydrogen plants include specialty chemicals and the metallurgical industry.
The HTCR process is an option for grassroots hydrogen supply or as an add-on unit in parallel to an existing plant ideal for revamp purposes. HTCR is the optimal choice for hydrogen requirements in the range 5,000-50,000 Nm3/h hydrogen.
HTCR reformer design
The HTCR reactor consists of a vertical, refractory lined vessel, containing the tube bundle with several bayonet tubes. Each bayonet tube is surrounded by a flue gas guiding tube, and the heat flux is adjusted by a proprietary flue gas control device. Below the vertical section is a horizontal combustion chamber containing the burner.
The HTCR process
The HTCR process may use natural gas, LPG, naphtha or refinery off-gas as feedstock which is processed in the following four steps:
- Desulfurization of feedstock
- Convective reforming in a HTCR reactor
- Shift conversion
- Purification by Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA)
A main characteristic of the HTCR is that it absorbs about 80% of the heat release of the burner into the process. This compares to about 50% in a traditional fired tubular reformer with radiant heat transfer. The main fuel for the burner is PSA off-gas and it is possible to balance the steam generation in the process which results in a plant without export of steam.
A HTCR plant is designed for automatic operation between 30 and 100% of rated capacity and is characterized by a very fast load response. The start-up, normal operation and shut-down is carried out by a PLC. Industrial experience has demonstrated that the process is very easy to operate and the requirements for supervision and maintenance are minimal. Actually we have examples of HTCR plants being operated unattended for extended periods of time.
The HTCR Twin™ process
The HTCR Twin™ process, allows construction of plants with low energy consumption. This is obtained by using two HTCR reformers operating in parallel.
The HTCR Twin™ process is ideal for capacities in the range of 15-30,000 Nm3/h of hydrogen and depending on the plant configuration even higher capacities can be achieved.
Comparing the HTCR process to a conventional process, the total savings in hydrocarbon consumption is up to 20%. The corresponding savings in operational costs are very significant which is of particular interest in an environment with increasing energy prices. It should be noted that the higher energy efficiency of the HTCR process will lead to a corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions.
Skid-mounted design of HTCR hydrogen plants
The convection principle allows for the design of compact reformers. The HTCR plant is to a large extent supplied as a preassembled skid-mounted unit minimizing erection time and erection costs as compared to a traditional plant. The layout has been optimized for easy access to all parts of the plant while maintaining the small footprint made possible by the compact design of the HTCR unit.
The different types of catalysts used in the HTCR hydrogen plant are state-of-the-art catalysts developed and produced in-house by Topsoe. The catalysts are used in hundreds of process plants worldwide and will ensure an outstanding performance with respect to performance and lifetime.
Operation and reliability of HTCR hydrogen plants
HTCR hydrogen plants are designed for automatic operation between 30 and 100% of the design capacity and are characterized by a very fast load response. The start-up, normal operation and shut-down is controlled by a PLC. A separate PLC is designated for the safety shut-down control system. Industrial experience has demonstrated that the process is very easy to operate and the requirements for supervision and maintenance are minimal. Actually there are HTCR plants being operated unattended for extended period of time. Industrial feedback show that today the on-stream factor for a HTCR plant typically exceeds 99%.
HTCR hydrogen plants are designed according to the highest safety standards without compromising the overall efficiency and reliability.
Advantages of HTCR and HTCR Twin™ processes
- Zero steam export and up to 20% less hydrocarbons consumed leading to substantially lower operating costs
- A HTCR plant is to a large extent supplied as a preassembled modular plant minimizing erection time and erection costs
- A well proven and safe concept that ensures easy operation and a fast load response of the HTCR plant