Freeport McMoran El Paso Refinery Steam Control
Additonal authors: Parra, Ricardo. Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:
Proceedings, Vol. Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019, 2019
Wesstrom, Bradford C.
The Freeport McMoRan El Paso Refinery uses co-generation to produce some of its electricity and all of its steam. This paper will cover the operation of the co-generation plant natural gas turbine at a fixed RPM for blade longevity and energy output. The by-product heat from the turbine passes through boilers with additional heat from a duct burner to produce steam for the Tank House and auxiliary operations. The steam demand varies dramatically throughout the day based on unloading activities in the Tank House. The use of an automated steam control system within the El Paso Refinery will help stabilize line pressure by incrementally controlling steam consumption based on electrolyte temperature. This will minimize steam line pressure fluctuations.
In the mid 1920’s the Nichols Copper Company of Laurel Hill, New York recognized the need for a modern copper refining facility in the southwest. Due to the many railroad heads, affordable power and abundant labor supply, and the close proximity to regional copper smelters in Mexico, Arizona, and New Mexico, El Paso became the logical location. In December 1928, ground was broken for the joint venture refinery between the Nichols Copper Company, Phelps Dodge, and the Calumet and Arizona Mining Company. In September 1930, Nichols Copper Company became a part of Phelps Dodge Corporation after a stock exchange. In July 1938, Nichols Division officially became Phelps Dodge Refining Corporation. In March 2007, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold acquired Phelps Dodge.
Energy costs (electrical and thermal) are critically important in the viability of modern copper electrorefineries. The El Paso Refinery produces electricity and steam through its cogeneration system. The El Paso cogeneration facility is a natural gas, 15-megawatt facility containing five turbine generators and associated waste heat recovery boilers.
The facility is divided into two phases. Phase I consists of two Allison 2.2-megawatt turbine generators. Phase II consists of three Solar Taurus 3.5-megawatt turbine generators. Presently three units in Phase II are operated. The Phase I units were purchased and installed in 1986 and the Phase II units in 1992 (Solar 1991). The facility operated at full capacity until 2003 when steam demand was significantly reduced due to decrease in cathode production and closure of the copper sulfate and precious metal operations. Phase I units were taken out of service and put on care and maintenance status.
Copper 2019, COM2019