Largest petrochemical project in China selects Honeywell UOP hydrogen technology

Published: 15 March 2020 - 6 a.m.
By: Martin Menachery
Honeywell UOP announced that Zhejiang Petrochemical Co (ZPC) will use four Honeywell UOP Polybed pressure swing adsorption (PSA) units to supply high-purity hydrogen for the second phase of an integrated refining and petrochemical complex in Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province. The complex is one of several new large industrial sites that are part of China’s current national economic development plan.

Zhejiang Petrochemical earlier awarded petrochemical process technology licensing, engineering design and catalysts for the first two phases of the project to Honeywell UOP. When completed, the new plant will be the largest crude-to-chemicals complex in China and one of the largest in the world, manufacturing petrochemicals to make plastic resins, films and fibres, as well as fuels.

More petrochemical manufacturers and refiners in China are choosing UOP’s PSA technology because it is an extremely competitive and reliable source of high purity hydrogen,” said Bryan Glover, vice president and general manager, petrochemicals and refining technologies at Honeywell UOP.

“High-purity hydrogen is a critical element in the efficient operation of these complexes because all of the conversion technologies in them depend on it.”

UOP announced the first phase of the ZPC project in 2017, including technologies for hydroprocessing and heavy oil upgrading, and production of aromatics for plastic resins, films and fibres. ZPC awarded the second phase of the project in January 2019, doubling the plant’s aromatics capacity to about 12 million metric tonnes per year. With more than 50% of its crude capacity converted to petrochemicals, it will move China closer to self-sufficiency in paraxylene production and be a major new source of propylene and other products.

Polybed PSA systems are skid-mounted, modular units complete with hardware, adsorbents, control systems and embedded process technology, enabling quick and efficient installation to reduce cost and downtime.

The PSA process uses proprietary UOP adsorbents to remove impurities at high pressure from hydrogen-containing process streams, allowing hydrogen to be recovered and upgraded to more than 99.9% purity to meet refining needs. In addition to recovering and purifying hydrogen from steam reformers and refinery off-gases, the Polybed PSA system can be used to produce hydrogen from other sources such as ethylene off-gas, methanol off-gas and partial-oxidation synthesis gas.

Since its introduction in 1966, UOP has improved Polybed PSA technology with new generations of adsorbents, enhanced cycle configurations, modified process and equipment designs and more reliable control systems and equipment. Today, Honeywell UOP has installed more than 1,100 Polybed PSA units in more than 70 countries. As a result, Polybed PSA is a proven technology with dozens of large-scale unit references globally.

The Zhoushan facility is the largest integrated refining and petrochemicals project in the world. It includes two complexes, together containing two UOP VGO Unicracking units with a total capacity of eight million metric tonnes per year (mmta), and two diesel Unicracking units with a total capacity of seven mmta. The complexes also include RCD Unionfining and RFCC units, each with a capacity of five mmta, four CCR Platforming units with a total capacity of 15.2mmta, a Butamer unit with a 400kmta fresh feed rate, four LD Parex trains with a total capacity of 8.8mmta, and a C3 Oleflex unit with a capacity of 510kmta.

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