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Dr. Peter van Vuuren

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Innovation in Analytical Techniques
Dr. Peter van Vuuren

Dr. Peter van Vuuren

Director of OptografTM Business Development, Sales & Marketing, SpectraSensors, An Endress+Hauser Company

Dr. Peter van Vuuren has been involved with process analysis for 30+ years. His experience with on-line process analyzers includes advanced gas chromatographic systems but also many different optical techniques. These include FTNIR, FTIR and laser based systems like Tunable Diode Laser (TDL) technology and process Raman spectroscopy. At ExxonMobil Chemical he was responsible for the global support of major analyzer projects and the evaluation and deployment of new process analysis technologies. Since retirement from ExxonMobil Chemical he was involved at Kaiser Optical Systems Inc. with the development of the on-line gas phase process Raman spectrometer which became known as the OptografTM. Since Kaiser Optical Systems Inc. and SpectraSensors Inc. were bought by Endress+Hauser, he was appointed as Director of Business Development within the SpectraSensors’ Marketing and Sales group responsible for the Optograf product line.

Process Raman Gas in Ammonia Production and Refining

Innovation in Analytical Techniques

Abstract: On-line process measurement of the composition of gas streams in refining, fertilizer, and other manufacturing industries is essential for the optimal operation of different process units within these facilities. Process analyzers based on gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, and electrochemical technologies are commonly used in these facilities. However, process conditions for certain streams present major challenges for these traditional technologies. Techniques based on optical spectroscopy, including near-infrared (NIR), infrared (dispersive and Fourier transform), and Raman spectroscopy, can provide analysis solutions for these challenging stream conditions. Raman spectroscopy is particularly useful for streams containing homonuclear diatomic gases, such as H2 and N2. These gases are key components in many chemical processes involving the production and use of syngas (H2, CO, and CO2), such as the manufacturing of ammonia and methanol. Hydrogen is the essential reactant for the hydrotreating, hydrocracking, and catalytic reforming of various hydrocarbon fractions in refineries. A case study will be presented for the application of Raman spectroscopy to analyze syngas from the gasification of petcoke in a fertilizer plant. A second case study will be presented for the analysis of hydrogen, hydrogen sulfide and other compounds in the hydrogen recycle in a refinery hydrotreater/hydrocracker and for hydrogen purity measurements in a hydrogen plant. The discussion will include the overall importance of the measurements to plant operation and potential cost savings for the Raman measurement technology over other, more traditional technologies. Competitive technologies will be discussed, along with lessons learned concerning the specifics of the Raman analyzer installations, and the unique safety features enabled in implementing this optical technology.

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