Q & A > Question Details
In a case study for safety improvement and process analysis for SR naphtha reforming, I want to know If one of four reactors can not be in service is it possible to work with three?
Is it safe to work with three reactors?
Does anyone have such experience?
Could anyone please inform me to find some useful resources to find a similar study and situation?
16/12/2019 A: Eric Vetters, ProCorr Consulting Services, ewvetters@yahoo.com
You could probably still make octane targets by cutting feed rate and raising reactor temperature to offset the loss of a reactor as long it's one of the first 3 reactors. In typical semi regen units the last reactor has about 50% of the catalyst. Without that catalyst volume to help get the slowest reactions to completion, I think you would have to severely restrict rate or significantly limit max octane. Your licensor should be able to give you more definitive answers.
16/12/2019 A: keith bowers, B and B Consulting, kebowers47@gmail.com
To operate a naphtha Catalytic Reforming with only 3 out of the four (optimal configuration) reactors is certainly physically POSSIBLE--with the appropriate piping and instrumentation reconfigurations. Many (most) previous generation Cat Reforming (CR) units had only 3 reactors and a 1:1:2 catalyst volume loadings and markedly different inlet temperatures. Since the 'reforming reaction' is highly endothermic there is very little likelihood of 'reaction runaway' or local overheating of catalyst. Furnace outlet temperature control is typically very precise.

Such a radical reconfiguration (from 4 to 3 reactors) should be a cooperative effort with the Process and Catalyst Licensors since catalyst change (both type and relative loadings) will probably be required to achieve both safe operating stability and best economic operating conditions. Specific unit details and operating environments are far too important 'variables' for any 'general answer to be meaningful.