Operational experience with a running Ultra-Low Energy urea plant
The Ultra-Low Energy (ULE) Design was first introduced in 2012, aiming to reduce the energy consumption of urea plants. Especially in areas with high energy costs, this design offered an alternative for more energy-efficient urea production. The first operational experiences have shown that, indeed, applying ULE can help reduce steam consumption by about 35% and cooling water consumption by about 16% compared to traditional CO2 stripping processes.
The first ULE plant went into operation in 2021 in China for Xinlianxin (XLX) Chemicals Group, with a nameplate capacity of 2334 MTPD urea. A number of other ULE plants have been licensed since then and are currently in the construction and engineering phases. This article shares the highlights of the ULE technology and the first experiences with the operational ULE plant in China.