Flow control for ammonia production

Ensure safe and reliable operation

There are various valves present in the ammonia synthesis loop, controlling the flow of synthesis gas into the converter and ensuring proper recycling of the unreacted synthesis gas. Valmet offers a good selection of suitable valves for ammonia synthesis loop – ensuring safe and reliable operation plus long service life.

Safety of personnel ensured and material waste minimized with emission certified valves

Reduce operation costs with higher flow capacities

Reliability with field-proven valve design

Lower maintenance costs with modular and simple valve designs

Ammonia synthesis process overview

Ammonia synthesis is used to produce ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen. The produced ammonia can then be used as a fertilizer, or it can be further processed into urea or nitric acid. A mixture of hydrogen and nitrogen, usually originating from a steam reformer, is admitted to the synthesis loop and then compressed in two stages into the synthesis pressure of 150-300 bar (2200-4400 psi). The stream is preheated by heat exchange with the hot effluent coming out of the converter before entering the ammonia converter.

The ammonia conversion process is a compromise between temperature and pressure. For the catalyst to be efficient a temperature of at least 400 °C (750 °F) is needed, but since the reaction is exothermic a higher temperature negatively affects product yield. To counter this issue, the pressure is increased to push the reaction equilibrium toward ammonia (thus increasing product yield). Heat is recovered from the effluent by generating steam and by pre-heating the incoming feed. The effluent is then sent to refrigeration before the product is separated from the medium and unreacted gas is recycled to the start of the synthesis loop.

Process challenges

  • High temperature, between 200 °C and 450 °C (400- 840 °F)
  • Very high pressure (130-220 bar / 1900-3200 psi)
  • Presence of hydrogen and ammonia make for a challenging environment as both hydrogen attack and nitriding may occur
  • Emission control is important due to toxicity of the media being handled
  • Since pressure is a very expensive commodity, efficiency in the synthesis loop is important to keep the operating costs down

Valves in ammonia synthesis loop

The role of valves in the ammonia synthesis loop is to control the flow of synthesis gas into the converter and to ensure the recycling of the unreacted synthesis gas.

Converter inlet valve

This valve is used to adjust the flow of synthesis gas into the converter. The flow may need to be adjusted to cope with temperature fluctuations in the converter.

Converter outlet valve

This valve is located after the reactor and is used to regulate the flow of effluent to the boiler.

Boiler bypass valve

This valve is used to control the flow of reactor effluent that bypasses the boiler, allowing the amount of pre-heating by the synthesis gas heat exchanger to be controlled.

Power-to-X – New sustainable technologies to couple with renewable energy production

Power-to-X – New sustainable technologies to couple with renewable energy production

What is Power-to-X? What role do valves play in all of this?

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