Industrial solutions provider RTS Africa Engineering has launched the Hy-Optima 2700 from US hydrogen analyser and leak detector manufacturer in South Africa, providing an advanced explosion-proof instrument for monitoring hydrogen levels in the oil and gas refining industries.
“Ultimately, with the improved measurement capability provided by this solution, refineries and other process industries will be able to produce a safer and better product, more efficiently, in terms of both time and cost,” states RTS Africa Engineering MD Ian Fraser.
Launched in South Africa in March, the Hy-Optima 2700 was developed by the company’s California-based principal H2Scan, and is ideal for applications where real-time, hydrogen-specific measurements can enhance process plant efficiencies, diagnostics and maintenance management. Common applications of the Hy-Optima 2700 are in refinery reforming, cracking, recycling, tail gas, fuel gas, flare gas and other multicomponent process streams.
Designed for the continuous and dedicated measurement of hydrogen, the instrument is, moreover, Zone 2 explosion proof, with a cast iron casing that will safely contain any explosive events that should result in the unlikely event that hydrogen enters the instrument and ignites.
Fraser explains that, when refining petroleum products from crude oil, hydrogen plays a key role as a feedstock used in the various processes. The challenge for process engineers working in oil refineries is to monitor and control the levels of hydrogen in refining processes – particularly the monitoring of the hydrogen used in catalytic cracking, as well as in the recycle gas stream.
“Too much hydrogen is not good because you have too much energy and it starts to damage the catalyst; too little hydrogen is bad because it slows down the process,” he says.
Traditional methods used by refineries to measure hydrogen involve the use of gas chromatographs, thermal conductivity meters and density analysers. However, Fraser notes that traditional hydrogen analysers are costly to install and maintain and the sampling times are typically long, barring process engineers from making decisions based on real-time information.
The Hy-Optima 2700 process analyser is a purpose-designed solution to this challenge, as this explosion-proof instrument can be installed at strategic points in a refinery’s process streams to provide analogue and serial outputs and communicate with an existing supervisory control and data acquisition-type control system.
“The Hy-Optima 2700 is the only instrument that can withstand the hydrocarbon background typically found in refineries where gases such as hydrogen sulphide, carbon monoxide, chlorides and other corrosive gases damage most other measuring instruments,” highlights Fraser.
The Hy-Optima 2700 uses a solid-state, nonconsumable sensor that is configured to operate in process gas streams. “Importantly, the Hy-Optima 2700’s thin film technology makes for an instrument that is not in any way affected or cross-sensitive to other gases in the process stream.”
With the Hy-Optima 2700, the need for calibration is also greatly reduced and, in most cases, all that is required is an annual calibration using standard calibration gases.
H2Scan’s hydrogen analysers and leak detectors are based on patented, solid-state core hydrogen sensor technology exclusively licensed from the US Department of Energy and are supported by 15 years of research and development, and field verification work. For the past ten years, RTS Africa has been the sole agent in Africa for H2Scan.