Published: September 2007
Hydrogen (H2) consumption has increased quite substantially during the past ten years or so. The major reason for that is the steep rise in the demand for refineries, which are now the largest consumer of H2, surpassing the market of one-time leader ammonia (see market details in Chapter 3). This change in the H2 market stems primarily from the imposition of stricter fuels quality standards, use of sourer crudes, and deeper hydroprocessing requirements of the refinery products. Refineries, being under a H2 crunch now, are outsourcing the gas production and supply. Commercial H2 companies are building mega-sized H2 plants, supplying the gas to multiple H2 consumers from a single production station. It is said that large-scale integrated production and supply to multiple users yields higher cost-effectiveness to H2 production.
This report is written keeping in view the abovementioned reasons for the increasingly large requirements of H2 . The report presents techno-economic analyses of large commercial H2 units (45–180 million SCFD) using single trains of the process equipment. As H2 production capabilities of refiners from refinery waste gases are at the point of impaction, they are left with mainly two options for H2 production: 1) from natural gas (which they are mostly doing generally by outsourcing; 2) from naphtha (used mostly in Asia; the U.S. produces H2 mainly from natural gas).
This report is, therefore, scoped to provide:
- A demand and supply scenario of H2 basically for ammonia, refineries and methanol
- A discussion of technical elements of the production technologies in light of R&D work performed over the last ten years (reforming, water-gas shifting, gas purification, etc.)
- A techno-economic analysis of H2 production from natural gas (process design, process description, process material streams flows, process flowsheet, design parameters discussion, process economics [capital and production costs, cost sensitivity analyses, etc.])
- A techno-economic analysis of H2 production from light naphtha (process design, process description, process material streams flows, process flowsheet, design parameters discussion, process economics [capital & production costs, costs sensitivity analyses, etc.])
Between the above two options (analyzed for the Gulf Coast Region of the United States), H2 production from natural gas is cheaper and environmentally better.