May 2022

100th Anniversary

HP Flashback: Excerpts from the 1960s: Petrochemicals rise in prominence and new know-how in refining processes

Petrochemicals rise in prominence and new know-how in refining processes

Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Old units do explode!

A. Pipkin, January 1960

This is the full story of the explosion that rocked the refinery of Cities Service in January 1959—the result of a series of human errors. Who would have thought that such a potential hazard existed in a coking process operating for more than 30 yr?

How well do you supervise?

E. Bigham, February 1960

Good supervisors should know the limits of their authority and responsibility. However, more important than the amount of their responsibility is how well they perform it—more important than their authority is their ability to apply it.

How much can you save with the isocracking process?

W. Scott, J. A. Robbers, N. J. Paterson and H. M. Lavender, April 1960

This article provides material balances for typical refineries converting middle distillate to gasoline. These cases demonstrate the advantages of the isocracking process for control of product distribution and quality.

When metals poison cracking catalyst

C. Gossett, June 1960

This article is an investigation of the effect of poisons on fluid catalytic cracking yields. It details how the hydrogen producing factor can be used as a criterion for operating a commercial unit and provide a measure for selecting feedstocks and determining catalyst replacement rates.

Mechanical specification of trays

C. Glitsch, August 1960

Mechanical aspects of tray specification are as important as the process itself. After chemical process and metallurgical specifications have been drawn, the tray must be mechanically designed to meet these specifications. This article provides an analysis of the items to cover when specifying fractionation trays.

Which to use—Relief valve or rupture disc?

A. Puleo, October 1960

The main difference between a relief valve and rupture disc is obvious—one will reseat and the other will not. The questions are: Where to use one or the other and when to use both? What system factors affecting disc and valve performance should be considered? What problems inherent in the services themselves should be considered (i.e., leakage, pressure limitations and settings, capacity, among others)?

Which acetylene feed is best?

C. Lockwood, November 1960

This article compares the effect of methane, ethane and propane on overall manufacturing costs. The effect of fuel, oxygen and investment costs for various paraffin feeds are thoroughly discussed.

To engineering contractors: A checklist for project engineers

February 1961

Checklists can resolve many questions about a project in the shortest time. One of the most important lists in Phase 1 (the pre-contract stage) is the construction questionnaire. This article provides questions that should be answered about the construction site.

New uses spark propylene growth

C. Ponder, March 1961

Propylene, one of the first petroleum raw materials used in chemical manufacturing, is being studied by petrochemical manufacturers as though it were a new discovery. This exciting new look at propylene is due to the development of several new processes into commercial production. This trend can mean increasing demand for high-purity propylene.

Design tips for refinery tank farms

H. Younger, July 1961

Three variables control the design of refinery storage tanks, pumps and miscellaneous items: crude yields, sales estimates and refinery production forecasts.

This article shows how these variables are predicted, along with detailed examples on the design of storage tanks and accessories.

Don’t be confused by rotary pump curves

A. Zalis, September 1961

Some engineers throw up their hands in despair when a screw or gear pump operates at viscosities other than those shown on pump curves. This article provides a simple way to extrapolate rotary pump curves and find operating characteristics at other viscosities.

For ethylene oxide, it is uphill for the second billion

Gordon, October 1961

Process improvements and aggressive development of new markets point to steady growth for ethylene oxide on its way to 2 Blb/yr.

Is epoxidation in your future?

Gordon, April 1962

Epoxidation is in your future if you are interested in plastics and plasticizers made from abundant and low-cost materials. Major growth in epoxidation may be attributed to improved processing techniques, greater variety and quality of products.

Comparing cooling towers: European vs. U.S.

W. Hubenthal, June 1962

Industrial expansion globally has been witnessed within the cooling tower sector. This article provides a comparison of fundamental differences in cooling tower design between the U.S. and Western Europe.

Now—Make jet fuel from coal

Letort, July 1962

Jet fuel can now be made from coal using established catalysts and hydrogenation techniques. Ample supplies of coal tar fractions offer an additional source for high-energy jet fuels.

Management’s role in the creative ‘climate’

Wintringham, October 1962

This work details what management can do to set up a good corporate climate for encouraging and using the creative potential of engineers and how to develop young engineers along creative lines.

Polymethylbenzenes go commercial

T. Eby and P. E. Neman, March 1963

Five C9–C10 aromatics have reached the commercial market. Following cumene, pseudocumene, naphthalene, mesitylene and durene are more alkyl-substituted benzenes reaching for commercial status.

Make resins from styrene-butadiene

A. Eldib, June 1963

Now resins from styrene-butadiene can be made using sodium catalyst or emulsion copolymerization. This article provides data on costs, raw materials and process variables, together with uses and applications.

Which steel for refinery service?

H. Samans, November 1963

This articles describes selection and evaluation of carbon steel, ferritic stainless steel and austenitic stainless steel for refinery service above 650°F.

How to evaluate contract maintenance bids

D. Dobe, January 1964

In this article, the author suggests two checklists: One to evaluate eligible contractors and the other on precontract information to the bidders. Some of the items discussed include:

  • Whom do you invite to bid?
  • How do you select the contractor?
  • Conference vs. solitary briefings to bidders
  • Annual vs. as-needed contracts
  • Types of contracts.

Better lab practices in chromatography

Q. Walker, April 1964

These hints will help you make your chromatographic equipment safer, faster and more productive. They include tips on filament and fire protection, carrier gas purification, optimum column and temperature control, better pressure control and reorder operation.

What’s optimum exchanger pressure drop?

W. Lohrisch, June 1964

There is an optimum pressure drop in every heat exchanger at which the purchase price plus the operating costs are reduced to a minimum. Increasing fluid velocities increase heat transfer and pressure drop and lower the purchase price but increase pumping power requirements. What is optimum? This article provides equations and nomographs that consider physical properties of the fluid, purchase price of the exchanger, working hours, power costs, etc., to find the optimum pressure drop for a particular exchanger.

Practical design of flare stacks

R. Kent, August 1964

A key factor in flare stack design is in the escape time for personnel assumed to be at the stack base at the time of ignition. In this article, a basis is provided to limit the maximum heat radiation at the stack base. The effect of flame characteristics, gas flow, escape time, heat radiation and wind on stack diameter and height are covered in this design method.

Cut heat costs with chemical cleaning

H. VanSandt, December 1964

This case history shows that a refinery can cut fuel costs by $250,000/yr by picking up an additional degree of temperature in all its heat exchangers. Types of exchanger deposits are described together with techniques for removing them chemically, along with steps in chemical cleaning.

Petrochemicals: Big drive in ‘65

G. Sawyer, January 1965

With the usual ups and downs, and certain petrochemicals dragging, overall production, sales and capacity utilization look for the best year yet in 1965.

How to reduce hydrogen plant corrosion

L. Moore and D. B. Bird, May 1965

High temperature and wet carbon dioxide (CO2) were the major causes of corrosion in a U.S. hydrogen plant. Here are the details of how the problems were solved. Subjects discussed include Incoloy furnace tube corrosion from residual welding slag, high-temperature overstress and thermal fatigue, wet CO2 corrosion, chloride stress corrosion cracking of stainless steel in MEA service, hydrogen attack and denickelification of monel condenser tubes.

Camel LNG plant: World’s largest

G. Filstead, July 1965

The third liquefaction line is now in operation at Arzew, Algeria. It is the world’s first commercial scheme to liquefy natural gas for export. Here is how it is operating.

Design criteria for large urea plants

H. Cook, February 1966

A 1,500-metric tpd, single-train urea plant is now economically feasible. This article provides criteria for optimum design.

New catalyst for Sohio process

What’s HapPenIng, June 1966

The Standard Oil Co. (Ohio) will begin construction in the spring of 1966 on a plant in Lima, Ohio, to produce a new, alternative catalyst to be used in Sohio’s acrylonitrile process. Commissioning is scheduled for early 1967.

What’s the future for PVC?

Olivier, September 1966

Because it is so well established in the thermoplastic field, polyvinyl chloride should have an annual growth rate during the next 10 yr more than 12%.

Essential information for piping design

W. Judson, October 1966

Three major source documents are essential for good piping design: engineering flow diagrams, nomenclature and equipment elevations. This article explains each in detail, providing content and source of these essential documents.

“Clipping Method” for turnaround scheduling

K. Gimlin, January 1967

Job sequences are compiled on a written work order. Then, jobs for each craft are “clipped” from the work order and placed in job folders. These are transferred to a daily work schedule for each craft. As the turnaround progresses, changes in work requirements can be quickly rescheduled using the system.

How to handle a safety inspection

J. Whitehorn and H. W. Brown, April 1967

Periodic inspections are a key part of a good safety and fire protection program. This article provides a checklist to help personnel ensure their plant is getting the attention it needs.

Less sulfur in the air from fuels?

C. Mallatt, December 1967

Although the use of petroleum and natural gas fuels is growing, there is less air pollution from the sulfur in these fuels. In the U.S., investments in processes which desulfurize have reached approximately $700 MM, according to a recent industry survey.

Learn about analog computers

W. Cadman and T. G. Smith, February 1968

This series describes the basic concepts of analog computers. It will detail how analog computers can be used to simulate processes and to solve problems peculiar to the HPI. Among the items to be covered include amplitude scaling, time scaling, process simulation, circuit design, diode switching, function generation, memory and logic, and future roles.

Noise pollution: A new problem

M. Hopkins and R. H. Congelliere, May 1968

Air and water pollution have stirred a new interest—noise pollution. This article discusses the effect of excess noise on employees, existing legislation designed to control industrial noise and an effective noise-control program.

Compare DGA and MEA sweetening methods

C. Dingman and T. F. Moore, July 1968

Among the processes for sweetening natural gas, monoethanolamine (MEA) ranks at or near the top in number of commercial installations. Now, a very similar process, using a chemical called diglycolamine (DGA), presents credentials which appear to make it extremely competitive with the long established MEA process.

Petrochemicals: Still fine in ‘69

G. Sawyer, January 1969

Petrochemicals remain the pacesetters of the HPI. Last year proved better than expected, but the same problems of price fatigue and overcapacity plagued certain areas. Discounting short-term variations, the long-term outlook is excellent.

Optimum: Hydrocrack + reform

R. Kittrell, G. E. Langlois and J. W. Scott, May 1969

For best refining operations, it is important to consider the yield-octane relationship between hydrocracking and modern catalytic reforming. This article provides some generalized correlations.

Olefins by dehydrogenation-extraction

B. Broughton and R. C. Berg, June 1969

By combining catalytic dehydrogenation of linear paraffins with molecular sieve extraction, high-purity linear internal mono-olefins are produced in good yield at a cost of approximately $0.02/lb.

Furnace tubes: How hot?

M. Lenoir, October 1969

The measurement of surface temperatures for furnace tubes is important to achieve optimum operation. Not hot enough: Uneconomical processing; too hot: Quicker tube failures.

Ideas for gas plant automation

A. Eckerson, December 1969

This article provides a look beyond the control of simple operating variables. It provides practical ideas—many already tested—for the control of air coolers, sulfur plants, plant emergencies, truck loading and the operation of absorption oil units. HP

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