The Importance of High Quality SRU Feed Streams

The SRU is only as good as the feed streams it receives – this is a common statement in the sulfur recovery industry.  Before testing an SRU, one of the first questions we ask is “how stable is the acid gas flow”?  And after analyzing the samples, one of the first things we check is the acid gas quality, i.e., the H2S content, as well as the concentrations of contaminants in the feed stream(s).   


The reaction furnace (RF) is the first vessel and considered the ‘heart’ of the SRU.  Its performance is based largely on the quality of feed stream(s) it is processing, whether it be only Amine Acid Gas (AAG), or the additional Sour Water Stripper Acid Gas (SWS AG) often processed in refineries. The H2S content affects how hot the RF can run, and the higher the better; it also dictates which configuration can be utilized, whether it be straight through, split-flow, or direct oxidization.   


The concentrations of contaminants, mainly hydrocarbons and BTEX, is also important for the RF performance.  For their complete oxidization, hydrocarbons require much more oxygen than H2S does; this negatively impacts the smooth operation of the Air Demand signal.  Hydrocarbons and BTEX also cause various issues downstream if they are not completely oxidized, therefore keeping their levels at a minimum is vital.  Maintaining stable and consistent feed stream flows is also crucial for the smooth operation of the Air Demand control loop. 


Optimizing the operation of upstream Amine and Sour Water units is vital for providing the SRU with the highest possible quality feed streams, and for minimizing the levels of contaminants. SRE now offers full Amine Unit Performance Evaluations, along with the SRU testing we’re known for. Our highly trained team of engineers can safely obtain these hazardous samples, and our optimization programs make the sour units achieve the highest efficiencies they were designed for.