The Seven Deadly Sins of Sulphur Recovery


Introduction - The availability of information regarding the operation and optimization of Claus sulphur recovery units has increased significantly over the past years. For individuals involved in the day to day operation of the Claus unit, however, the sheer volume of information can often be overwhelming, and it is difficult to determine what is of direct importance to the plant performance.

This paper attempts lo reduce the topic of sulphur plant optimization down to its basics. Viewed in this way, it can be seen that there are only seven key items that can reduce sulphur plant efficiency, the Seven Deadly Sins of Sulphur Recovery. Each of these seven sins is analyzed in detail, providing some indication of typical losses in each case based on test results obtained by Sulphur Experts. Additionally, 'worst case' examples from Sulphur Experts' files showing the potential for efficiency losses in each of these cases are also presented. This paper can be used as a simple checklist by sulphur plant operators and engineers to determine the potential for efficiency losses in their own facilities, and conversely the potential for optimization of recovery efficiency.

The Starting Point - Ideal and Practicable Efficiencies
In order to show the effect of the Seven Deadly Sins on recovery efficiency, it is important to first establish the maximum capability of the Claus process. The ideal capability, which has been determined in the past using the SulsinT simulation program and ideal operating conditions (Figure 1), represents the true maximum capability of the standard Claus process . The ideal values presented in Figure I are not achievable on a regular basis, however, they do represent the true upper limit for the Claus process and should be considered as the goal of the sulphur plant operator.

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