Steam Methane Reformers (SMR)

Cut Steam Methane Reformer CO2 and NOx Emissions with IGS Solutions

Fired Heaters, including Steam Methane Reformers, have the greatest running cost on your site. If any one of these heaters is 1 or 2% inefficient it can consume an additional $1m in fuel over a year or result in $millions in lost revenue.

IGS Steam Methane Reformer (SMR) Solutions deliver: 

  • Improved processing efficiency
  • Energy/Fuel Savings
  • CO2 and NOx emission reduction 
  • Increased capacity
  • Elimination of operational limitations (excess flue gas temperature, firing duty, draft)
  • Refractory particle encapsulation

Our Solutions

Cetek Efficiency Coatings 

Tube Tech

Environmental Services for Steam Methane Reformers:

Hot-tek Services:

  • Hot Refractory Repair
  • Hot Inspection Service
  • Hot Vacuum Service
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Cetek Efficiency Coatings

High-Emissivity Ceramic Coatings for Refractory

Cetek provides a distinct benefit in treating refractory surfaces with a high emissivity ceramic coating, increasing the radiant heat transfer inside Steam Methane Reformers over design. The coating increases refractory emissivity which results in fuel savings and a more uniform heat flux which may help to mitigate process tube hot spots. 

The problem 

The refractory linings of Steam Methane Reformers are designed for structural integrity and insulating properties, to contain the high processing temperatures.

The refractories used have relatively low emissivity and consequently are not efficient at handling radiant heat, which is the major heat exchange mechanism inside the furnace.

Read: ‘SCR Efficiency in SMR Optimized’ Case Study 

Watch: Cetek in action

The Solution 

Cetek’s High Emissivity Ceramic Coating system increases the radiant heat transfer inside Steam Methane Reformers, delivering optimum performance and reducing CO2 and NOx emissions.  

The Benefits 

  • Improves Processing Efficiency
  • Fuel Savings
  • CO2 and NOx emission reduction 
  • Elimination of operational limitations (excess flue gas temperature, firing duty, draft) 
  • Refractory particle encapsulation

Read: ‘SCR Efficiency in SMR Optimized’ Case Study

Watch: Cetek in action


WATCH: Enhanced SMR Efficiency: Fuel & Emissions Reduction delivers a Sustainable Decade-long Benefit

Furnace Efficiency Specialist Larry Emch recalls an application where IGS reduced SMR fuel consumption by 2%, leading to lower CO2 and NOx emissions.

This sustainable decade-long benefit was achieved with the application of a Cetek refractory encapsulation coating within the SMR’s radiant section.

By closing the performance gap and increasing the efficiency of the SMR unit, IGS delivered:
  • 2% fuel saving
  • CO2 reduction
  • 9% complimentary reduction in nox
  • Reduced bridgewall temperature

Tube Tech

Engineered Convection Section Cleaning 

Tube Tech’s Steam Methane Reformer convection section cleaning service is recognised by world-leading refining and petrochemical companies as the most effective technology to achieve OEM performance clean fired heaters.  

95% clean guarantee even on the most fouled assets. 

The Problem


Steam Methane Reformer fouling is a costly problem for refineries around the world. Heater intake collects 1 ppm airborne particulate whilst in service, which results in deposits of 2.5 tonnes over 12 months either landing in or travelling through the heater.  

These deposits most commonly land:  

  • In the base of Radiant Section 
  • On Convection Tubes 
  • In the Air Pre-Heater 

Fouling results in: 

  • More Fuel Consumed 
  • Increased Emissions 
  • Higher Stack Temperature 
  • Heat Stress on Tubes, uneven expansion, and heat distribution 
  • More Running Costs 
  • Potential Tube Failure 
The Solution 

Tube Tech’s Steam Methane Reformer (SMR) convection section cleaning service is recognised by world-leading refining and petrochemical companies as the most effective technology to achieve OEM performance clean SMRs. 

Traditional cleaning methods are only able to clean 30-45% of the total fouled area. Tube Tech, backed by multi-million-dollar European funding, has developed a Rover system that penetrates deep between tube rows to remove even the most stubborn fouling.  


The Benefits 

  • Removes 95%+ of Fouling 
  • No Refractory Damage 
  • Safety – No Man Entry 
  • Reinstates Thermal Efficiency and Reduces CO2 Emissions 
  • Extends Asset Life due to Reduced Stack Temperature 

Read: Fired Heater Convection Bank Cleaned Robotically at German Refinery 

Watch: The Effects of Fouling in Fired Heaters

Environmental Services for Steam Methane Reformers

Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) Screens

The Problem 

Fine particles from loose refractory and insulation can plug the catalyst and dramatically reduce production, shorten catalyst life, and even cause forced outages. Simply increasing the catalyst pitch is expensive, reduces the catalyst life, and typically does not eliminate the build-up. 

IGS SCR Screens allow plants to effectively utilize proper pitch without build-up concerns. 

The Solution 

IGS Base Filtration Screen Technology is designed to catch refractory and insulation fibers before they reach the catalyst. Key features of this solution include: 

  • Perforated plate design assists in self-cleaning 
  • Designed to allow particles to collect at the lower edge of the screen and trap them there for permanent removal during a planned outage 
  • Built with standard interchangeable panels 

The Benefits 

  • Eliminates build-up-related forced outages, system derates, and excessive pressure drops 
  • Extends catalyst life 
  • Improves NOx removal 
  • Reduces ammonia usage 

Mixer Plates  

The IGS patent-pending flow mixing system is designed to maximize ammonia mixing prior to the catalyst to reduce ammonia usage and ensure an even ammonia concentration distribution through the catalyst, which improves DeNOx and preserves the catalyst reactivity. This can be installed in conjunction with the filtration screen or even as a standalone improvement. 

Hot-tek™ Services for Steam Methane Reformers

Online Maintenance & Emergency Services (During the Heater’s Normal Operation)  

Hot-tek™ is the industry leader in hot maintenance and online Steam Methane Reformer repair and cleaning techniques and holds multiple patents on the approach, methods, and tools used to carry out these services. The approach is customized for every client’s needs. Often, multiple Hot-tek™ Services are employed simultaneously during an application to achieve the best results.

Hot Refractory Repair

The Problem 

Failure of refractory material can lead to energy wastage, poor performance and even complete shutdown of your Steam Methane Reformer. 

The Solution 

Hot Refractory Repair Services may be made gaining access through the heater steel shell directly behind the damaged area. Minimal openings are used to insert specially designed components to support the repair material. This technique offers a semi-permanent repair method lasting at least until the next planned turnaround. 

The Benefits  

  • Restore Production Rates 
  • Fast, Effective Short-term Solution 
  • Avoid Costly Unplanned Shutdowns 

Read: Our Latest Hot Refractory Repair Case Study 

Watch: Hot-Tek’s Hot Refractory Repair Service

Hot Inspection Service 

The Problem 

Sometimes, an issue can arise in high temperature fixed equipment, but you can’t see the cause or the exact location of the problem. We designed and developed Cetek’s Lancescope™ fired heater inspection tool for just this situation. It allows a high-temperature furnace inspection to be carried out to determine the scope of the problem, often avoiding an expensive shut down of the heater. 

The Solution 

Cetek’s Lancescope™ system provides real-time, close-up, or wide-angle views of virtually any area inside a fired heater, or other high-temperature equipment while it is still in operation.  

The hot inspection system uses a state-of-the-art digital camera system, which provides clear, detailed images of problem areas up to 3000°F (1650°C). The furnace inspection system can be inserted into openings as small as 2.75” (7cm) and reach up to 30ft (10m). In applications below 1000°F (540°C), the heater inspection system provides illumination via a high-temperature light source for optimum clarity. 

Thorough inspection provides data needed for other Hot-tek online services. 

The Benefits 

  • Performed while unit is in operation 
  • Provides insight for production availability 
  • Identifies damage in early stages 
  • Reduces maintenance costs 
  • Minimizes repair down time 
  • Maximizes production 

Watch: About Hot Inspection Services

Hot Vacuum Service

The Problem 

Over time, debris such as ceramic fiber inorganic dust and combustion by-products entrained in the flue gas accumulate on the upstream face of the SCR catalyst. This debris hinders gas flow through the catalyst increasing the pressure drop across the SCR unit. To overcome this effect, the induced draft fan utilization must be increased consuming extra energy. After the fan has reached max capacity, production must be reduced to decrease the pressure drop across the SCR. 

The Solution 

IGS’ Hot Vacuum Service cleans catalyst banks in SCR units to Steam Methane Reformers and other fired heaters. SCR catalyst banks are cleaned during operation with no interruption to production, offering a rapid payback on associated costs. 

Our online SCR catalyst cleaning service removes pluggage and fouling from SCR screens, immediately improving catalyst reduction system efficiency. 

The Benefits 

  • Prevents costly unplanned shutdowns 
  • No disruption to process 
  • Maximizes catalyst efficiency and lifetime 
  • Increases plant uptime and reliability 

Watch: Hot Vacuum Cleaning 

Read: ‘Hot Vacuuming Prevents Emergency Shutdown’ Case Study 

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