MHPS and KBR pitch in

12 June 2020

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and KBR have signed an agreement to co-operate on expanding the sales of power plants firing SDA pitch. SDA pitch is the insoluble matter remaining when light oil fractions are recovered from heavy oil fractions using solvent de-asphalting (SDA). Solvent de-asphalting is the separation and elimination of asphalt (bitumen) from crude oil after distillation (vacuum residual oil), using mixed solvents.

By working to combine the respective proprietary technologies of each company, the aim is to provide the petroleum industry with “the world’s first method to effectively utilise SDA pitch, from which energy recovery has been difficult up to now, as a fuel for power generation.”

KBR has an SDA process, known as ROSE®, which enhances the extraction ratio of the light oil fraction.

The SDA-pitch fired plant boilers developed by MHPS incorporate burners that allow the heated high viscosity SDA pitch to be combusted as liquid without installing additional systems. The boilers incorporate high-temperature-corrosion countermeasures, mainly in the combustion area, to prevent corrosion caused by the high concentrations of sulphur and heavy metals.

Further, to reduce the environmental load, the NOx, SOx, and particulates in the exhaust gas are removed using MHPS air quality control systems, including flue gas desulphurisation.

Demand for light petroleum products has risen in recent years in response to tighter regulations, mainly in Europe, on the use of heavy oil C in marine vessels. As a result, refineries have been exploring the use of SDA and other residue cracking systems to convert heavy oil to light oil. However, the effective utilisation of SDA pitch, a byproduct with limited uses, has been an issue.

Above Image: SDA-pitch fired power plant

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