Ammonia cracker: design and safety considerations


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Ammonia cracking is an endothermic reaction with characteristics similar to those of steam methane reforming. As a result, large scale ammonia crackers are likely to more than a passing similarity to the steam-methane reformers which are currently used to convert natural gas to hydrogen. When transferring technology from one industry to another the challenge is to distinguish between know-how which benefits the new application, and which should therefore be applied; and know-how which is detrimental to the new application and therefore needs to be either unlearnt or relearnt. The presentation will cover the choices facing the designer of a large-scale ammonia cracker and, from a process safety perspective, will compare and contrast ammonia cracking with steam methane reforming. In so doing, aspects worthy of special consideration when comparing technologies will be highlighted.