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The existing world economic and political climate has intensified the need for a domestic source of liquid fuels. With dwindling crude oil reserves the need for alternative sources of liquid fuels has become pressing. Coal-derived liquids can be an important substitute for crude oil. A key component of process plants designed to liquefy coals is the “reactor”. Coal liquefaction pressure vessels (reactors) for anticipated commercial operations are large by conventional standards. They must maintain a high level of reliability for lifetimes from 20 to 30 years while operating at temperatures near 425°C (800°F) and while containing a variety of sulfurous species and hydrogen at pressures up to about 28 MPa (4000 psi). This paper attempts to emphasize the role of reactors in the coal liquefaction process and to point out potential life-limiting aspects that must be considered in the design, construction, and operation of these large, thick-walled pressure vessels.
pressure vessels, coal liquefaction, coal conversion, materials, 2¼Cr-1Mo steel, corrosion, hydrogen attack, weld overlay, temper embrittlement
Senior Technical Supervisor, Alcoa Technical Center, Alcoa Center, Pa.