All refineries manufacture products from crude oil and its derivatives. These products consist of a wide range of fuel oils and types of gasoline and also include naphtha, asphalt, coke additives, waxes, lubricating oils, solvents, etc. Sulfur and sulfur compounds are present to some extent in almost all crude oil reserves.
Sulfur compounds are poisons to the catalysts used in many processes employed in converting feedstock to useable intermediate and end use products. Very expensive noble metal catalysts (platinum, palladium, iridium among others) are destroyed as a result of this contamination. Because of this, sulfur compounds are removed from refinery streams of all kinds, normally at point prior to a vulnerable process or prior to sale of a processor to an end-user. Analyses are made at a point directly downstream from the sulfur removal step and are used a s a checkpoint on removal efficiency. The sulfur removal process can typically be hydrotreated (over a non-sulfur sensitive catalyst) or scrubbing with solid, liquid, material that reacts with and removes the sulfur compounds.
Scrubber removal materials have a tremendous affinity for absorbing many different sulfur compounds but, eventually reaches a saturation point, when the reactivity drops and no more sulfur can be absorbed. When the saturation point is achieved the scrubber must be regenerated. Usually scrubber beds are operated in parallel, enabling one bed to be regenerated while the other remains on-line. Without a sensitive, specific, on-line analyzer, the beds are regenerated much more frequently. The consequences of a down or ineffective scrubber can result in product waste, production downtime, spent scrubber material and poisoned noble metal catalyst. Bringing in a CI Analytics Total Sulfur Analyzer can virtually eliminate these losses.