Newsroom - Jul 13, 2022

Guide to Upgrading Metallurgy for Renewable Fuel Conversion

As industries transition towards renewable energy sources, such as converting from oil to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), upgrading the metallurgy of process vessels becomes essential. This guide provides an overview of the steps involved in upgrading metallurgy for renewable fuel conversion and highlights the benefits of using high velocity thermal spray (HVTS) as an alternative to automated welding.

Understanding the Need for Metallurgy Upgrade

When converting to renewables, process vessels like reactors and drums may require a metallurgy upgrade due to new operating conditions. Factors such as high temperature free fatty acid (FFA) corrosion, sulfidation, wet chloride corrosion, and stress corrosion cracking can affect the performance of reactors. Similarly, drums may be susceptible to wet CO2 corrosion, wet chlorides, and potential NH4HS and NH4CL damage mechanisms.

Exploring Metallurgy Upgrade Options

Upgrading metallurgy can be achieved through automated welding or high velocity thermal spray (HVTS). Both methods have their advantages, but HVTS offers certain benefits that make it a preferred choice in some cases.

Assessing the Benefits of HVTS

Integrated Global Services (IGS) provides an HVTS solution that has demonstrated significant cost and time savings compared to automated welding. The HVTS process eliminates the need for preheating materials, making it suitable for facilities operating in extreme conditions like Arctic climates. Additionally, IGS offers turnkey services, reducing the need for multiple vendors and ensuring a streamlined approach.

Material Selection Considerations

For upgrading reactors, NiCroMoXX type materials are often specified due to their excellent resistance to chloride corrosion, stress corrosion cracking (SCC), and sulfidation. In the case of drums, NiCroMoWXX materials are chosen for their proven corrosion and erosion resistance properties.

Prequalifying the HVTS Solution

Before implementation, comprehensive pre-qualification tests are conducted to ensure the quality and durability of the cladding applied through HVTS. These tests help determine the effectiveness of the HVTS protection against the new corrosion mechanisms introduced by renewable fuel processing. Proper surface preparation, accessibility, and critical parameter control are crucial for achieving a homogenous alloy cladding with the right mechanical properties.

Project Execution

During the project execution phase, IGS delivers an engineering package that includes a project plan, method statement, inspection test plan, project safety analysis, risk mitigation plan, and job-specific safety data sheets. IGS takes responsibility for the entire project, providing services such as blasting, ventilation, thermal spray application, and inspection.

By following these steps and considering the benefits of HVTS, industries can successfully upgrade the metallurgy of process vessels for renewable fuel conversion. It is important to prioritize careful material selection, comprehensive pre-qualification, and efficient project execution to ensure long-term performance and durability of cladding systems.