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HP-HiGAS Unit Inauguration by HPCL CMD at Vizag Refinery

Visakhapatnam, 17 February 2015

A Major Milestone by R&D in developing New Generation Refining Technologies!

C&MD of HPCL, Ms. Nishi Vasudeva inaugurated ‘HP-HiGAS Unit’, a new commercial scale unit developed based on HPCL R&D technology at Visakh Refinery. Director-Refineries, Shri. B K Namdeo, Director-HR, Shri. Pushp Joshi, Director-Marketing, Shri. Y K Gawali, ED-Visakh Refinery, Shri G Sri Ganesh, ED-Retail, Shri. S Jeyakrishnan, ED-Direct Sales, Shri. H C Mehta of HPCL and other Senior Officials from HQO, Visakh Refinery, Marketing and Corporate R&D graced the occasion.

HP HiGAS is a first of its kind unit / technology in the refining industry and is based on the concept of Process Intensification for Distillation / Absorption Processes.

HiGee technology based on the principle of process intensification was initially developed in collaboration with IIT Kanpur. The original design was based on two rotors. However, during the last few years the technology was further developed by HPCL R&D Centre and simplified the unit by making it a single rotor machine. The new technology finds main use for gas processing and is named as HP-HiGAS technology. The operation of the HP-HiGAS involves removal of H2S from Refinery Fuel Gases from a level of 5 wt% to 100 ppm using Amine as the absorbent, which is similar to that of the existing Fuel Gas Amine Absorption Unit (FGAAU) column in the Visakh Refinery. The remarkable breakthrough achieved with this technology is plant size reduction by 10 times, with a 2.5 metres HP-HiGAS unit replacing the existing conventional trayed FGAAU column of 23 metres.

The HP-HiGAS technology is based on intensifying the mass transfer processes by carrying them in rotating packed beds in which high centrifugal forces occur. Traditional distillation/absorber columns in refineries are limited in throughput by the liquid descending the column due to gravity. To overcome this limitation a rotating packed bed is devised, which uses centrifugal forces over 100 times that of gravity. This high driving force greatly improves the mass transfer rates between the liquid and gas and reduces the HETP (Height Equivalent to Theoretical Plates) by about 50-100 times thus significantly reducing the unit size.

The HP-HiGAS unit is a rotary equipment which is designed and fabricated with high mechanical integrity and accuracy, thus making it a first of its kind unit in the refining industry. This unit will further lead to setting up of similar units in refineries and other related industries for gas processing, leading to larger capacities in smaller footprint. The technology will be the first step by HPCL towards technologies development and commercialization with prospect for licensing to customers.

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