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Sour water stripper

Applications: Many process units throughout a refinery generate significant quantities of sour water. Sour water collected within a refinery contains both H2S and NH3. These components are present as ammonium hydrosulphide (NH4HS) within the sour water. NH4HS is the salt of a weak base and a weak acid. In a solution this salt will be hydrolysed substantially to form H2S and NH3. In the aqueous phase the free H2S and the NH3 are volatile. The hydrolysis increases with higher temperatures, therefore the gaseous H2S and NH3 can be removed by the application of heat in a Sour Water Stripper. Depending on client requirements, a single stage or a two-stage stripper can be applied.

Description: The sour water feed is collected in a sour water flash drum to facilitate flashing and hydrocarbon separation. The sour water is then introduced to the top section of the sour water stripper column after heating in the feed effluent exchanger. In the stripping section of the sour water stripper column, the sour water is contacted counter currently with steam (from the reboiler) to free the H2S and NH3.

The sour gases from the stripper column are cooled with air or water, so that the majority of the water vapor is condensed. The separated sour condensate is reintroduced into the stripper column as reflux.

The sour gas is routed to the sulphur recovery unit (Claus plant) in order to recover elemental sulphur from the H2S, the stripped water is cooled further and typically routed to the waste water system.

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