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Appl. Sci. 2016, 6(11), 331; doi:10.3390/app6110331

The Effect of Fuel Mass Fraction on the Combustion and Fluid Flow in a Sulfur Recovery Unit Thermal Reactor

Department of Aeronautical Engineering, National Formosa University, Huwei, Yunlin 632, Taiwan
Academic Editor: Yuyuan Zhao
Received: 7 September 2016 / Revised: 11 October 2016 / Accepted: 26 October 2016 / Published: 2 November 2016
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Abstract

Sulfur recovery unit (SRU) thermal reactors are negatively affected by high temperature operation. In this paper, the effect of the fuel mass fraction on the combustion and fluid flow in a SRU thermal reactor is investigated numerically. Practical operating conditions for a petrochemical corporation in Taiwan are used as the design conditions for the discussion. The simulation results show that the present design condition is a fuel-rich (or air-lean) condition and gives acceptable sulfur recovery, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) destruction, sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions and thermal reactor temperature for an oxygen-normal operation. However, for an oxygen-rich operation, the local maximum temperature exceeds the suggested maximum service temperature, although the average temperature is acceptable. The high temperature region must be inspected very carefully during the annual maintenance period if there are oxygen-rich operations. If the fuel mass fraction to the zone ahead of the choke ring (zone 1) is 0.0625 or 0.125, the average temperature in the zone behind the choke ring (zone 2) is higher than the zone 1 average temperature, which can damage the downstream heat exchanger tubes. If the zone 1 fuel mass fraction is reduced to ensure a lower zone 1 temperature, the temperature in zone 2 and the heat exchanger section must be monitored closely and the zone 2 wall and heat exchanger tubes must be inspected very carefully during the annual maintenance period. To determine a suitable fuel mass fraction for operation, a detailed numerical simulation should be performed first to find the stoichiometric fuel mass fraction which produces the most complete combustion and the highest temperature. This stoichiometric fuel mass fraction should be avoided because the high temperature could damage the zone 1 corner or the choke ring. A higher fuel mass fraction (i.e., fuel-rich or air-lean condition) is more suitable because it can avoid deteriorations of both zone 1 and heat exchanger tubes. Although a lower fuel mass fraction (i.e., fuel-lean or air-rich condition) can avoid deterioration of zone 1, the heat exchanger tubes may be damaged. This paper provides a guideline for adjusting the fuel mass fraction to reduce the high temperature inside the thermal reactor and to ensure an acceptable sulfur recovery. View Full-Text
Keywords: SRU thermal reactor; fuel mass fraction; sulfur recovery; H2S destruction; SO2 emission; thermal reactor temperature SRU thermal reactor; fuel mass fraction; sulfur recovery; H2S destruction; SO2 emission; thermal reactor temperature
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Yeh, C.-L. The Effect of Fuel Mass Fraction on the Combustion and Fluid Flow in a Sulfur Recovery Unit Thermal Reactor. Appl. Sci. 2016, 6, 331.

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