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  Coal to Methanol
   
 

Methanol production in China started from 1957. In 1950's, in Jilin, Lanzhou, Taiyuan, etc., methanol plants by using coal or coke as feed stock have been established. Since 1950's, the methanol production flow by using natural gas as feed stock has been widely used. After entering 1960's, the methanol plants by using heavy oil as feed stock has been developed, and some medium and small sized plants has been built up. Besides, co-production method is used on the basis of synthetic ammonia industry for methanol production.

Coal reserves in China are far larger than petroleum and gas reserves. Therefore, under the background of re-enforcing coal clean utilization technology, since 1990's, coal has become the most important feed stock for methanol production in China. In December 1995, successful operation of 200kt/a coal to methanol plant in Shanghai symbolized a new step towards large capacity production of methanol technology in China. Along with the market demand of methanol, plant capacity continues to increase. Now several 600 kt/a coal to methanol plants are in long term stable operation. In recent years, along with continuous development of methanol to olefin projects, super large scale methanol projects have emerged. For the moment, several 1800kt/a methanol plants are in stable operation. Meanwhile, several projects of similar capacity are under construction or prepared to construct.

Position of ECEC in the industry

Early in 1966, ECEC executed new flow of synthetic ammonia -methanol co-production (abbreviated as medium pressure methanol co-production) in design of Phase II expansion project of Huainan Fertilizer Plant. On this basis, ECEC carried out engineering design for 20kt pure methanol co-production of Huainan Fertilizer plant in 1969. In July 1973, one time commissioning of this project was successful. In 1981, the engineering design of this project was awarded outstanding design prize by the former Ministry of Chemical Industry.

In 2004, ECEC completed the design for the first 300kt/a methanol plant in China - methanol plant of Henan Zhongyuan Gasification Co., Ltd. After production of the plant, the operation is stable, which has created very good economic benefit.

After that, ECEC has undertaken more engineering design and EPC projects for natural gas /coke oven gas to methanol plants. ECEC has obtained rich engineering experience in methanol industry by using natural gas /coke oven gas as feed stock.

After 2000, along with the development of coal to methanol industry, ECEC has actively completed engineering reference of several coal to methanol projects by using its existing engineering experience in coal chemical and in methanol synthesis and methanol purification. ECEC has made brilliant achievement in coal to methanol industry in China.

For forty years, ECEC has completed about 20 methanol projects of large size, medium size and small size, and production capacity and product quality have reached the design targets. The production capacity of these projects are 20~1800kt/a. The feed stocks include natural gas, coke oven gas, coal, etc. Typical projects completed by ECEC include:

     
 
   

 

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300kt/a methanol production plant of Henan Zhongyuan Gasification Co., Ltd. Natural gas was used as the feed stock for the project. The advanced technologies were used such as natural gas steam, low pressure synthesis, horizontal converter from Casale, etc. The construction scope include all main units and associated utilities. E+M management mode was carried out for the project.

300kt/a Methanol Plant of Gelmu Oil Refinery, Qinghai Company, China National Petroleum Corp. In this project, the state-of-art technologies such as one stage steam conversion for addition of CO2 in upstream of natural gas, TOPSΦE low pressure synthesis, CO2 recovery from flue gas, rectification f recovery tower for the three towers, etc. This project has been put into production and come up to the standards successfully. It was awarded the excellent engineering design by China Petroleum and Chemical Engineering Survey and Design Association.

1,000kt/a Natural Gas to Methanol Project of Inner Mongolia Unichem International Co., Ltd. (divided into 2 plants)
Plant I: 400kt/a natural gas to methanol plant. The plant was constructed by relocation of the second hand equipment from USA ENRON company, as well as newly purchased equipment in China. The plant consists of natural gas desulfurization, natural gas two-stage reforming, syngas compression, methanol synthesis, methanol rectification, startup boiler, deaerator, tank farm, truck loading and flare stack. The 2nd hand converter is used. Medium pressure synthesis technology is adopted and domestic catalyst is used. The auxiliary facilities such as methanol rectification unit and tank farm, etc. were newly built. All instrument control systems were updated.

Plant II: 600kt/a natural gas to methanol plant. The plant was constructed by relocation of the second hand equipment from USA STERLING company, as well as newly purchased equipment in China. The plant consists of natural gas desulfurization, natural gas one-stage steam reforming (carbon supplementary technology), syngas compression, methanol synthesis, methanol rectification, tank farm, truck loading, CO2 recovery, CO2 compression, etc. The 2nd hand converter (ICI quenching tower) was used. CASSLE replaced the tower internals. Medium pressure synthesis technology and domestic catalyst were used. Methanol rectification unit were all newly built. Tank farm and truck loading were newly built. CO2 recovery and CO2 compression unit were newly added. All instrument control systems were updated. The project has been put into production smoothly and the operation is good.

200kt/a coke oven gas to methanol plant of Huaibei Linhuan Coking Co., Ltd. The methanol plant consists of desulfurization, natural gas compression, natural gas reforming, syngas compression, methanol synthesis, methanol rectification. Domestic low pressure synthesis technology has been used. EPC management mode was carried out for the project. In 2011, the project was awarded excellent engineering design prize, excellent project management prize and excellent turnkey project prize of 6th session of petrochemical industry.

Huating Zhongxu 600kt/a Coal to Methanol Plant. The methanol plant consists of coal gasification, syngas reforming, syngas desulphurization and decarbonization, syngas compression, methanol synthesis and methanol rectification. Multi-slurry coal water slurry gasification technology was used. Cryogenic methnol wash technology from Dalian University of Technology was selected for desulphurization and decarbonization. Plate type converter from Casale was selected for synthesis.

Methanol plant of Guizhou Jinchi Chemical Co., Ltd. For the plant, coal was used as feed stock for production of 300kt/a methanol, 300kt synnthetic ammonia and 520kt urea. The methanol plant consists of coal gasification, syngas reforming, syngas desulphurization and decarbonization, syngas compression, methanol synthesis and methanol rectification. TOPSOE medium pressure methanol synthesis technology was selected for synthesis. EPC management mode was carried out for the project. After the project was put into production, it reached the production targets and passed performance test. This Project won the2014’ 1st grade Excellent Project Management Prize of the Association of the Petroleum & Chemical Reconnaissance and Design of China.

600kt/a Coal-based Methanol EPC Project, 1st Phase of 1,200kt/a dimethyl ether project of Mongolia Mengda New Energy Chemical Base Development Co., Ltd. Coal was used as feed stock for methanol production. The plant consists of coal gasification, syngas reforming, syngas desulphurization and decarbonization, syngas compression, methanol synthesis and methanol rectification. Multi-slurry gasification technology was used for coal gasification. Cryogenic methnol wash technology from Dalian University of Technology was selected for desulphurization and decarbonization. Methanol synthesis technology from Davy was selected for synthesis. On Nov. 26 2013, one time commissioning of gasifier was successful. And within 48 hours, on-spec methanol product was produced. It is the best result for commissioning of coal water slurry gasification in China.

For Shenhua Xinjiang 680 KTA Coal-Based New Material Project, coal was used as feed stock for production of 1,800kt/a methanol and 680kt/a olefin. The methanol plant used coal water slurry gasification of GE, sulfur-resistant conversion, Rectisol from Lurgi and methanol synthesis technology from Davy. ECEC undertook EPC for purification unit, air separation unit and OCU.

600kt/a Methanol Project of Shaanxi Changqing Energy & Chemical Co., Ltd. For detail, please refer to Sample Project.
 

Source of technology

ECEC has accumulated several decades' engineering experience in the field of methanol. To maintain its leading advantage in methanol industry, ECEC has kept long term cooperation with several domestic companies that are engaged in research of methanol technology. Meanwhile, ECEC has good cooperation wtih world famous licensors, such as TOPSOE of Denmark, Davy of the Unitied Kindom, Swiss Casale, Germany Lurgi, Germany Linde AG, USA GE, Germany Siemens AG, etc.

Sample projects

600kt/a Methanol Project (Phase I) of 1,500kt/a methanol project of Shaanxi Changqing Energy & Chemical Co., Ltd. was the key project for "the twelfth five year plan" to be invested in Baoji, Shanansi. It aimed at execution of "stepping out" development strategy of Xuzhou Coal MiningGroup Corp. In November 2007, the project was kept on record in Development and Reform Commission of Shaanxi province. In February 2009, official reply of environmental evaluation was obtained. Preliminary design started from March of the same year and detailed design started from Nov. 2010. In April 2013, the project was put into production. In May 2013, on-spec product was produced and performance test was passed. Plant capacity, product quality and consumption figures of the plant have met the design targets.
 

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Gasifier: including raw coal storage and transportation, coal slurry preparation, coal slurry gasification, crude synthetic gas washing, slag/water treatment.
Operating pressure of gasifier is 6.5MPa, 3 sets of Texaco gasifiers are provided, 2 in operation and 1 standby. Process package and key equipment of gasification unit were supplied by USA GE. Basic engineering design and detailed engineering design were completed by ECEC.

Purifier: including crude synthetic gas conversion, desulphurization / decarbonization, methanation and sulfur recovery
Domestic sulfur-resistant conversion catalysts was used for synthetic gas conversion, basic engineering design and detailed engineering design were completed independently by ECEC with its own technology. Shift section was provided with 1 shift-converter to make full use the steam in crude synthetic gas from Texaco coal slurry gasification section and ensure that CO content in synthetic gas leaving shift section meet the requirement of methanol unit; and the heat produced during course of reaction is recovered by means of byproducing medium and low pressure steam, heating boiler feed water and demineralized water.
Cryogenic methnol wash technology from Linde AG was selected for Desulphurization /decarbonization. Process package was provided by Linde AG. Basic engineering design and detailed engineering design were completed by ECEC.
Euro-claus technology from Holland Hofung was selected for sulfur recovery section. Under the effect of catalyst, air is used to oxidize directly with H2S in acidic gas to produce sulfur, so that the tail gas emission can meet the emission standard. Process package was supplied by Holland Hofung. Basic engineering design and detailed engineering design were completed by ECEC.

Synthesis unit: including syngas compression (circulating section included), methanol synthesis and hydrogen recovery
Domestic designed and manufactured steam-driven Centrifugal compressor was selected for syngas compression. Basic engineering design and detailed engineering design were completed independently by ECEC.
Casale methanol synthesis technology was selected for methanol synthesis section. Casale IMC constant temperature plate type converter was used. Process package was supplied by Swiss Casale. Basic engineering design and detailed engineering design were completed by ECEC.
Membrane separation technology and equipment from USA PERMEA was selected for hydrogen recovery. Basic engineering design and detailed engineering design were completed by ECEC.

Rectification section: 3 tower rectification technology was selected for rectification section, which had the advantages of high recovery rate, reasonable energy utilization, etc. Process package was supplied by Swiss Casale. Basic engineering design and detailed engineering design were completed by ECEC.

 

   
 

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