Refinery's unit that produces hydrogen for use as a feed stock (natural gas, refinery offgas, liquefied petroleum gas or naphtha) in other processing units in the facility. Gaseous hydrocarbons and steam are reacted over a Nickel catalyst at high temperatures. The reacted gases, which contain Hydrogen (H2), Methane (CH4) slippage, steam, Carbon Monoxide (CO), and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is passed through a shift reactor containing an iron catalyst where carbon monoxide and water are reacted to form carbon dioxide and more hydrogen. The methane, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are separated from the hydrogen (using Pressure Swing Adsorption) and waste gases are used as fuel gas to help fire the reformer.

Pressure Swing Adsorption purification technology can produce high levels of purity of Hydrogen.

  • Feed Inputs: H2, natural gas, H2 rich gas, LPG, and steam
  • Temperature / Pressure: Ambient to 1540°F / 90 to 480 psi.
  • Products / Outputs: H2, steam, and electricity
  • Major Equipment Involved in the Seam Methane Reforming Process: Compressors, desulfurization reactors, steam methane reformer, steam generator, shift converter reactor, condensate, separators, pressure swing adsorption (PSA), steam turbine generator (STG), gas turbine generator (GTG), selective catalytic reduction (SCR), heat exchangers, fin fans, and pumps.
  • Safety Hazards to Consider: High temps, volatile H2 & light hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide (CO), high pressure steam, ammonia (NH3), Boiler feedwater chemicals such as BETZ balanced polymer, and rotating equipment.

Potential Exposure

Hydrogen production is a continuous process and the streams are contained in piping and process vessels. The potential for exposure is limited, but can occur during sampling, maintenance, or in the event of a leak, plant upset, or turnaround.

Inhalation: there is the potential for inhalation of light hydrocarbon gases, carbon dioxide, small amounts of carbon monoxide, and hydrogen-rich process gases. If inhaled briefly at low concentrations in air, none of these gas streams, except for carbon monoxide, will normally cause any harm. However, all can cause asphyxiation upon prolonged exposure to sufficiently high concentrations. Always avoid exposure to high concentrations or prolonged breathing of these gases. Carbon monoxide replaces oxygen in blood causing shortness in breath, headaches, dizziness, loss of consciousness, and even death.