Liquid amine, a derivative of ammonia, is used in gas sweetening processes. Acidic gases, through a chemical reaction, are absorbed and pumped through a series of exchangers, towers and contactors. The amine solution must be carried throughout the system at certain pressures in order for the gas sweetening process to take place. Once the process has occurred, the amine solution is reclaimed and recycled. This operator, like many others, has historically used small positive-displacement (PD), duplex/triplex, plunger pumps to move the liquid and to maintain pressures in gas plant amine applications. The operator found PD pumps costly to operate and maintain.
- The PD pumps consistently leaked expensive amine (In addition to the product loss, this caused environmental problems that required costly remediation)
- The PD pumps required constant modification to meet changing plant and process conditions
- Vibration inherent in the PD pumps was causing piping fatigue
- Maintenance of the PD pumps was running between $500 and $1,500 per month and required excessive attention from maintenance crews
- Extra capital was spent to install 100% backup in an attempt to eliminate plant downtime (installing spare pumps increased pump availability, but also increased maintenance expenses)
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