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Pre-Project Planning & Project Feasibility Identify Greater Efficiencies Across Ammonia Production

Pre-Project Planning & Project Feasibility Identify Greater Efficiencies Across Ammonia Production

By Michael Goff, Rochman Goswami and Gary Martin

As large consumers of power, water and other critical resources, fertilizer plants worldwide are searching for low-cost solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase usage of carbon-free technologies and minimize water consumption. Black & Veatch has more than 80 years’ experience working in the ammonia industry on a wide range of technology and commercial arrangements, from feasibility studies through EPC project execution. 

This includes extensive work in revamps and greenfield execution for several large ammonia and fertilizer companies, providing front-end loading (FEL-1, FEL-2, FEL-3) studies, also referred to as pre-project planning, front-end engineering design (FEED), feasibility analysis, conceptual and detailed design and early project planning.

Improved Project Definition and Execution Planning

The company has recently been involved in various FEED feasibility analyses at multiple plants for a variety of heat exchanger services requiring replacement, providing feasibility studies, conceptual and detailed design, procurement development and bid evaluations, estimating and detailed project execution planning services.  

The company was recently awarded its second FEL3 heat exchanger replacement project for a large ammonia production client. This award builds upon an existing relationship, as Black & Veatch conducted the previous FEL1 and FEL2 studies. To date, the team has completed the detailed engineering for the first heat exchanger replacement project and has commenced fabrications of the heat exchanger.

Recent advances in technology are allowing ammonia plants to operate at 1.5 to 2 times the plant’s original nameplate capacity. As a result, exchangers are operating under different conditions than the original design; rather than replacing these exchangers in kind, it is advantageous to replace the exchanger with a new design that meets current operating conditions. These replacement heat exchangers will add operational benefit by increasing reliability, production and efficiency.

Careful consideration should be given to feed/effluent exchange in the loop, particularly when replacement in kind can result in sub-optimum temperatures to the converter and/or increased duty on downstream exchangers. Evaluating a new design requires a relatively small amount of effort while offering future operational benefit. These studies include evaluating existing plant conditions, layout, support structure and future plant capital projects, while determining various total installed cost (TIC) to allow for final client selection.

These replacement heat exchangers will add operational benefit by increasing reliability, production and efficiency.

Delivering Projects Safely, On-Time & On-Budget

As a leader in the industry, we have completed more than 50 projects involving new and revamped ammonia fertilizer plants that range in size from 50 to 2,500 metric tons per day. These projects have involved planning studies, revamps and ammonia storage and terminal facilities. We also have nitric acid, urea and urea ammonium nitrate experience. Technology-agnostic, we work with all technology licensors, ensuring that the selected equipment and technology best fits your project’s needs.

Black & Veatch develops insightful flow sheets and tailored engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) execution plans for reliable – and improved – plant operation. Our ammonia process team specializes in increasing capacity and improving energy efficiency for ammonia, urea, UAN plant and ammonia plant infrastructure. This experience ranges from individual units to complete plant turnarounds.

You can be confident Black & Veatch’s proven performance record will consistently deliver your project successfully from feasibility assessments through EPC solutions and steady plant operation. We have a proven track record in executing projects safely, on-time and to the highest quality standards with minimal disruptions to operations. Our industry-leading planning services and expertise in EPC solutions can improve plant life-cycle management – helping you understand your project’s performance and sustainable impact.


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