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The global petroleum sector is facing major challenges with procurement of electricity and steam for processing operations.Deteriorating qualities of oils and gas are incurring high energy costs and waste generation leading to a violation of environmental regulations. The opportunity here is for Innovative Energy Solution, or IES, to decrease energy costs and pollution for the sector. IES will use its proprietary SuperATR (Super-Adiabatic AutoThermal Reforming) process to solve two problems:

  • Decrease the cost of hydrozen sulfide disposal: toxic waste whose disposal is required by law.
  • Decrease greenhouse and acid rain causing pollution.

As a heavily regulated toxic pollutant, the benign disposal of hydrogen sulfide costs oil refineries and natural gas processing plants $5 billion a year. Present technologies, Claus-based sulfur recovery units, only permit extracting the sulfur content of hydrogen sulfide while wasting the much more valuable hydrogen portion.In addition to being very expensive, these Claus units emit a fair amount of sulfur and nitrogen dioxide, both acid rain causing pollutants.

Using small business innovative research grants, IES developed the SuperATR-max as the only economically viable process to generate hydrogen from hydrogen sulfide. For the last 50 years, various oil companies and government labs have tried to extract hydrogen from hydrogen sulfide, with no success.After all, hydrogen is the most coveted and cleanest of all fuels.


It is very expensive as hydrogen is obtained from natural gas and emits greenhouse gases.As a result, the SuperATR technology is differentiated from the industry standard by three factors:

  • Lower capital cost with compact and modular reactors.
  • Lower operating cost.
  • Mitigate SOx, NOx and carbon emissions.

The super-adiabatic autothermal reforming process, or SuperATR, is a platform technology for extracting hydrogen from any gas or liquid sources.Primarily oriented toward oil refineries, it has been proven to develop hydrogen at prices much lower than steam reformers (the industry standard) using refinery off-gases as the feedstock.The SuperATR is being adopted at the moment to extract hydrogen from residual fuel with the possibility of carbon capture.

The SuperATR process (Figure 1) is a non-catalytic version of the conventional autothermal reforming (ATR) process, but with major differences:

  • SuperATR uses a randomly packed bed of inert (non-catalyc) ceramic spheres whereas the conventional ATR is catalyc subject to the negative impact of sulfur and carbon.

  • In the SuperATR, the flame is not constrained; it is allowed to freely propogate (Figure1). To retain the flame inside the reactor, it employs a cyclic flow system. This means that the reactant inlet and product exit periodically interchange (Figures 1a and c).

  • The SuperATR operates with untra-substoichiometric oxygen/fuel mixures in adition to very high temperatures. Ultra-substoichiometric mixures consume much less oxygen than normal substoichiometric mixtures of ATR and partial oxidation (POX) process.


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