Success has come through advanced R&D capabilities, talented engineering teams, and beneficial mergers. Indeed, the Oklahoma-based company has set new standards with its equipment. Dan Harvey reports on this innovative, environmentally friendly enterprise that continually expands the possibilities related to emission reduction.

From the 1960s through the 1980s, Los Angeles’ smog problem was a running gag for Johnny Carson (in his “Tonight Show” monologues) and other California-based comedians.

But two companies deemed the situation no laughing matter: UOP (Universal Oil Products) and Callidus Technologies. To help address the problem these entities married their talents through a merger, creating the Tulsa, Okla.-headquartered UOP Callidus.

“Everything we do revolves around minimizing emissions in environmentally friendly fashion, which means cleaning the air,” relates Doyle Bishop, general manager of UOP Callidus. “In layman terms, that translates into reducing smog. For example, in the 1970s, Southern California’s smog problem was horrendous. For the most part, it has now been removed, and we were active players in this effort.”

Anyone who traveled into the region in the latter half of the 20th century saw the problem in the form of a thick mist that hung overhead like an ever present, apocalyptic thundercloud. “You can now see the improvement, which has involved transportation and industrial emission reduction,” says Bishop.

Specifically, UOP Callidus is a combustion technology expert. For 100 years, UOP has been a leading international licensor and equipment supplier for the refining, petrochemical, and gas processing industries. Its merging with Callidus strengthened its purpose: to reduce emissions, improve destruction efficiency, maximize operational performance and energy efficiency, and minimize environmental impact – providing total solutions applicable to new projects or retrofitting efforts throughout the world.

Indeed, it isn’t just focused on Southern California. “We are a global company, with 70 percent of our business international,” reveals Bishop. “We serve engineering companies and OEMs as a custom equipment manufacturer.” He adds that, from an end user standpoint, some of the companies’ best customers are Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and BP.

Products: Four Lines
Bishop reports that UOP Callidus’ output includes four main product lines. “Our process burners, designed for heating applications in refining and petrochemical plants, provide heat for all of the necessary processes, with the technology characterized by low emission,” he says. “That’s our niche: We offer the best technology emissions in the world.”

Next are the flares. “Essentially, these are safety release devices that burn combustible gases in the event of an emergency release,” describes Bishop.

The third category includes thermal oxidizers. “In combustion, these then treat waste stream created in the manufacture of gas and petrochemicals. Our technology renders the byproducts harmless,” says Bishop.

The fourth includes catalytic reduction. “Our offering, called SCR (for selective catalytic reduction) helps eliminate problems such as carbon monoxide,” he adds. Let’s look at each category in greater detail.

Burners: Setting the Standard
Innovation is key to UOP Callidus burners, and the company resides on the leading edge in designing equipment. The company’s burner design group collaborates with customers to develop solutions to the greatest challenges related to NOx reduction. Specific products include:

  • Next Generation Ultra Low NOx (CUBL) – These process burners offer significant NOx reduction, maximum duty, excellent flame stability, wide turndown range and a reduced physical footprint. The burners incorporate two technologies to lower burner peak flame temperature and NOx emissions: combustion staging and flue gas recirculation;
  • Low NOx Burners – These burners incorporate a mechanism for reducing the peak flame temperature relative to premix and conventional burners. Reduction in peak flame temperature results in lower NOx emissions;
  • Premix Burners – In this equipment, fuel and air needed for combustion are drawn together and mixed prior to discharge from the burner tip;
  • Conventional (CRG) – In a conventional burner, fuel and air needed for combustion are mixed in the throat of the burner where ignition and oxidation reaction occurs. There is a single flame zone, whereas Low NOx burners typically use multiple flame zones.

Further, among the many various process heater types and configurations, several are so unique in design and required performance that a very specialized burner is required. UOP Callidus can develop high-quality burners for these unique furnaces. “We’re a company that customizes to a client’s specific needs,” says Bishop. “Our client base is very sophisticated, and each customer has their own set of specifications. We sell—and they operate—equipment that if not designed right could be hazardous. So our customers are very particular. And so are we.”

UOP Callidus flares systems function at optimum levels, meeting EPA and international standards while safeguarding plant and terminal operations. Its flares and flare systems operate in hydrocarbon processing, oil and gas production, petrochemical processing and the steel and carbon black industries.

Pipe – The pipe flare, also known as a “utility flare” is the most basic type of flare tip. The tip includes a flame retention device along with a pilot. The upper portion is typically constructed of 310SS and the lower portion of carbon steel;

Multipoint – The multipoint flare system represents more than 20 years of work in the development of multipoint flare designs. UOP Callidus’ unique burner system develops significantly higher surface to area relationships for the waste gas exit. This feature provides more air inspiration and greater turndown capability;

Steam – The Upper Steam flare tip incorporates a high-stability pilot and a flame retention system. With a high efficiency, low noise steam injection ring, the flare tip provides smokeless burning with lower noise than traditional steam injection systems;

Low Noise – The UOP Callidus flare configurations are single-point steam assisted flare tips that incorporate a multiple internal steam injection system. These designs generate lower noise levels and high smokeless capacities; Enclosed Ground – UOP Callidus’ TEGF flare system consists of a refractory lined cylindrical flare structure designed to have combustion take place within the cylinder. This type of enclosed flare system was originally designed to eliminate the light and noise from the flaring of waste gases;

Air Assisted – This type of flare represents an effective alternative to traditional steam assisted smokeless flares. Significant advantages of the air-assisted design are a dramatic reduction in maintenance of the flare tip and lower operating costs;

Production – UOP Callidus also offers a wide range of production flare technologies for oil and gas production. These innovative flares produce low heat radiation levels and smokeless burning at all flow rates;

Offshore – The company’s offshore technology uses supersonic or sonic flare nozzles that produce low radiant heat levels at high release rates with dramatic reductions in flare tip weight;

Pit Flare – With this technology, the flared liquids and gases are piped to a horizontal flare burner that discharges into a pit or excavation;

Demountable – A demountable flare features a derrick with the riser or risers mounted to permit lowering the flare burner to grade for service. The riser is typically assembled in sections that can be raised and lowered using a track and guide system;

Flare Gas Recovery – These cost-effective, money saving units reduce emissions from a facility. Also, they can reduce requirements for purchased gas and extend the life of flare tips. A flare gas recovery unit can be easily integrated into an existing flare system.

Thermal Oxidizers
UOP Callidus incineration systems are in service in a variety of gas and liquid waste applications including halogenated, chlorinated, fume, tail gas and nitrogen bearing wastes, according to the company. Each system is designed and built to meet the highest quality standards and to meet or exceed the latest environmental regulations including NOx standards.

Thermal oxidation of nitrogen-bearing wastes requires a specialized combustion approach. Single-stage combustion of these wastes can produce NOx emissions in excess of those allowed by most regulatory agencies. UOP Callidus’ equipment maintains NOx emissions within acceptable limits.

  • Fume Thermal Oxidizers – Fumes can be air, inert or organic-based. An air-based fume stream is generally destroyed at a temperature of 1400 to 1600° F. Destruction efficiency can range from 90 to 99 percent. Because they contain very little organics, a preheat exchanger downstream of the oxidizers is used to reduce fuel consumption by preheating the incoming fume stream;
  • Halogenated Waste Systems – These systems are capable of destruction efficiencies exceeding 99.99 percent. Depending on the destruction efficiency required, operating temperatures of 1500 to 2200° F can be used with residence times of 1.0 to 2.0 seconds;
  • Downfired System SRU Combustion Equipment – Tail gas from Sulfur Recovery Units for cid gas contains a variety of sulfur compounds, which must be destroyed by combustion before the gases are vented to the atmosphere. The units can be natural draft or forced draft operated. Oxidizing temperatures can vary from 1200 to 1800° F with residence times of 0.6 to 1.0 seconds;
  • System for Organic Wastes – Aqueous or organic waste streams containing inorganic or organic salts require that the Thermal Oxidizer be down-fired to prevent the accumulation of molten salts in the oxidizer furnace.

Catalyst Systems
UOP Callidus delivers technically superior emission control products and services to the power, petrochemical and refining industries. Its Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) products utilize state of the art CFD modeling, engineering and fabrication techniques. The company offers total solutions for the power industry: SCR, CEMS, DARS and DCS. It also offers equipment for new and retrofit applications such as duct burners, ammonia vaporization skids and ammonia injection grids. International fabrication and service capabilities meet global needs.

UOP Callidus understands all aspects of SCR processes including turbine exhaust gas conditioning, ammonia vaporization, ammonia injection and mixing, catalyst selection, acoustic attenuation and related process control integration.

A Century’s Worth of Expertise
While Callidus Technologies was established in 1989, UOP had been around for a century.

“Since our founding in 1989, we’ve experienced strong growth, as the company began with three people and now includes about 400 employees,” relates Bishop. “Along the way, we were purchased by Honeywell International [2008]. UOP, which we merged with in 2012, is also a Honeywell company. UOP is a 100-year-old enterprise, and it developed almost every major invention involved with oil refining. As such, it garnered 80 percent market share, making it a major brand in the refining and petrochemical world. That’s the market that UOP continues to target.”

Today, UOP Callidus is part of Honeywell’s Performance Materials and Technologies business. UOP has 3,000 patents issued and pending worldwide, and it files an additional 200 distinct patent applications each year.

UOP has advanced research and engineering centers in Asia, North America, Europe and the Middle East. These innovative centers have been the source of important advances in process technology, profitability consulting and equipment design. UOP Callidus’ state-of-the-art R&D facility is world renowned for solving the most difficult environmental and combustion challenges.

As far as production, UOP Callidus has two manufacturing facilities, reports Bishop. “The larger one is located in Beggs, Okla., and at that location we manufacture process heater burners, flare tips, and control systems. The other manufacturing facility is in Shanghai.”

In Oklahoma, the company also houses its R&D facility. “That’s where we do full-size combustion testing, because we need to be very precise,” continues Bishop. “If we’re not, a lot of things can go wrong. In this industry, if something goes wrong, it can be really wrong. So we test and demonstrate every single project.”

That strong focus on R&D indicates other significant company differentiators. “We have multiple offerings, and out of about 30, we have about six that are considered best in class,” reveals Bishop. “For a specific purpose, they are the best. For instance, we have the best ultra low NOx process heater burner. It achieves the lowest NOx available on the market, with the smallest flame possible.

“Another best-in-class is our enclosed flare. Some clients don’t want to see the flame or hear the flare go off. We can do that for them, but it takes a special design and sophisticated noise abatement. Also, we have installed the world’s largest enclosed flares, removing hundreds of thousands pounds per hour of waste gas without any visible or audible signs.”

In addition, in response to market demand, UOP Callidus maintains an inventory of rental flares, oxidizers, combustors, and other equipment to provide quick, safe solutions when regular equipment requires maintenance or becomes inoperable. As with all equipment, UOP Callidus’ rental units are fully inspected with our rigorous quality assurance inspections before leaving its facility.

Overcoming Challenges and Moving Forward
For UOP Callidus, it may appear that all has come rather easy – what with its advanced R&D capabilities, its talented engineering teams, and its mutually beneficial mergers. But the company certainly isn’t immune to industry challenges. One in particular involves the economy. “In 2009, we saw a number of major projects being cancelled,” reports Bishop. “We’re talking about multi-billion dollar investments where the plug was pulled.

Of course, it had to do with economic circumstances. It seemed that we couldn’t give away equipment, but we clawed back to where we previously were.”

Indeed, the company is pushing forward into the future with confidence. Even with the 100 years’ experience that UOP brought into the overall picture, Callidus remains a relatively young company, describes Bishop. “There remains a lot of untapped regions and opportunities,” he says.

Expect to see the company place a lot more equipment on the ground. “We’re focusing on geographic expansion, as well as execution and delivery,” says Bishop. “Our goal is to achieve 95-percent delivery or better. True, that’s a lofty goal for a custom design organization. Also, environmental regulations have gotten tougher, and we operate in the United States, a nation that has the strictest environmental laws in the world.”

But UOP Callidus is up to the challenges. “As far as emissions reductions, we are constantly pushing the envelope,” says Bishop.