Quantitative safety assessment for reactor size variation on high pressure methanol production

  • Mohd Aizad Ahmad School of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
  • Anis Adila Rozman School of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
  • Zulkifli Abdul Rashid School of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia


This work studied carbon capture utilization (CCU) to methanol synthesis, which analyses reactor size's impact on high-pressure methanol production. As high pressure poses a high probability of process vessel leakage, assessment on its potential hazardous chemical impact such as toxicity, fire, and explosion must be conducted. This study examines how reactor size affects high-pressure methanol plant accident scenarios due to different leakage sizes of reactors and at various day and night conditions. HYSYS was used in this investigation to identify significant chemical components at high pressures. The analysis only limited to four hazardous chemical components namely methanol, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen. Then, ALOHA specifies the principal chemical component for the worst-case accident scenario. MARPLOT was used to quantify the methanol plant's safety by utilising distance and area plot threat analysis for reactor size variation. The volume of the reactor used is 42, 20, and 5 m3, with pressure conditions of 76, 184, and 331 bar, as the 10 mm, 75 mm, and 160 mm leakage size of the reactor has been simulated. The simulation in ALOHA was done by considering day and night conditions with one dominant wind direction according to the plant's location. The results show that the highest people affected incident was due to the toxic release of methanol from a 160 mm leak size during the night in Modified Plant 2. This scenario resulted in a percentage people affected for night conditions of 56.53%. This study is useful to predict worst-case people affected with variation for reactor size on high-pressure conditions. 


Ahmad, M. A., & Abdul Rashid, Z. (2019). Fatality assessment for high pressure reactor of methanol production plants from CO2 hydrogenation. Malaysian Journal of Chemical Engineering and Technology (MJCET), 2, 26–40. https://ir.uitm.edu.my/id/eprint/37516
Ahmad, M. A., A. Rashid, Z., El-Harbawi, M., & Al-Awadi, A. S. (2021a). High-pressure methanol synthesis case study: safety and environmental impact assessment using consequence analysis. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 0123456789. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13762-021-03724-1
Ahmad, M. A., Badli, W. N. A. N. W., & Rashid, Z. A. (2021b). Consequence assessment using threat zone analysis on sulphuric acid production plant. Malaysian Journal of Chemical Engineering and Technology (MJCET), 4(1), 58–66. https://doi.org/10.24191/mjcet.v4i1.12971
Baena-Moreno, F. M., Rodríguez-Galán, M., Vega, F., Alonso-Fariñas, B., Vilches Arenas, L. F., & Navarrete, B. (2019). Carbon capture and utilization technologies: a literature review and recent advances. Energy Sources, Part A: Recovery, Utilization, and Environmental Effects, 41(12), 1403–1433. https://doi.org/10.1080/15567036.2018.1548518
Bansode, A., & Urakawa, A. (2014). Towards full one-pass conversion of carbon dioxide to methanol and methanol-derived products. Journal of Catalysis, 309, 66–70. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.JCAT.2013.09.005
Collodi, G., Azzaro, G., Ferrari, N., & Santos, S. (2017). Demonstrating large scale industrial CCS through CCU–a case study for methanol production. Energy Procedia, 114, 122–138. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.egypro.2017.03.1155
Cuéllar-Franca, R. M., & Azapagic, A. (2015). Carbon capture, storage, and utilisation technologies: A critical analysis and comparison of their life cycle environmental impacts. Journal of CO2 Utilization, 9, 82–102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcou.2014.12.001
Elsayed, N. M., & Gorbunov, N. V. (2007). Pulmonary biochemical and histological alterations after repeated low-level blast overpressure exposures. Toxicological Sciences, 95(1), 289–296. https://doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kfl138
Encyclopaedia of Britannica (2023). Thermal radiation. In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Last updated September 25, 2023. https://www.britannica.com/science/thermal-radiation
Gaikwad, R., Bansode, A., & Urakawa, A. (2016). High-pressure advantages in stoichiometric hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to methanol. Journal of Catalysis, 343, 127–132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcat.2016.02.005
Gupta, J. P., & Edwards, D. W. (2002). Inherently safer design—present and future. Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 80(3), 115–125. https://doi.org/10.1205/095758202317576210
Hanley, M. E., Patel, P. H. (2023). Carbon monoxide CO. [Updated 23 Jan 2023]. In StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Islan (FL: StartPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430740/
Heikkilä, A.-M. (1999). Inherent safety in process plant design: An index-based approach. [Doctoral Dissertation, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland].
Johore Petroleum Development Corporation Berhad (JPDC). Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex (PIPC). Retrieved 2023. http://www.jpdc.gov.my/development/pipc/
Khojasteh-Salkuyeh, Y., Ashrafi, O., Mostafavi, E., & Navarri, P. (2021). CO2 utilization for methanol production; Part I: Process design and life cycle GHG assessment of different pathways. Journal of CO2 Utilization, 50, 101608. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcou.2021.101608
Leonzio, G., Foscolo, P. U., Zondervan, E., & Bogle, I. D. L. (2020). Scenario analysis of carbon capture, utilization (particularly producing methane and methanol), and storage (CCUS) systems. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 59(15), 6961–6976. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.iecr.9b05428
Mansfield, D., Poulter, L., & Kletz, T. (1996). Improving inherent safety. (OTH-96-521).
Mjaavatten, A., & Bjerketvedt, D. (2005). A Hydrogen-Air Explosion in a Process Plant: A Case History. [Conference presentation]. 2005 International Conference on Hydrogen Safety at Pisa, Italy.
National Center for Biotechnology Information (2023a). PubChem Compound Summary for CID 887, Methanol. Retrieved 2023. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Methanol
National Center for Biotechnology Information (2023b). PubChem Compound Summary for CID 783, Hydrogen. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Hydrogen.
National Center for Biotechnology Information (2023c). PubChem Compound Summary for CID 280, Carbon Dioxide. Retrieved October 13, 2023 from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Carbon-Dioxide
Nyári, J. (2018). Techno-economic feasibility study of a methanol plant using carbon dioxide and hydrogen [ Master of Science Thesis, KTH Royal Institute of Technology].
Nyári, J., Magdeldin, M., Larmi, M., Järvinen, M., & Santasalo-Aarnio, A. (2020). Techno-economic barriers of an industrial-scale methanol CCU-plant. Journal of CO2 Utilization, 39, 101166. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcou.2020.101166
Pérez-Fortes, M., Schöneberger, J. C., Boulamanti, A., & Tzimas, E. (2016). Methanol synthesis using captured CO2 as raw material: Techno-economic and environmental assessment. Applied Energy, 161, 718–732. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2015.07.067
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Act (EPCRA). (2023). Definition of “release”. United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). https://www.epa.gov/epcra/definition-release
How to Cite
AHMAD, Mohd Aizad; ROZMAN, Anis Adila; ABDUL RASHID, Zulkifli. Quantitative safety assessment for reactor size variation on high pressure methanol production. Malaysian Journal of Chemical Engineering and Technology (MJCET), [S.l.], v. 6, n. 2, p. 61-74, oct. 2023. ISSN 2682-8588. Available at: <https://myjms.mohe.gov.my/index.php/mjcet/article/view/21813>. Date accessed: 19 june 2024. doi: https://doi.org/10.24191/mjcet.v6i2.21813.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

Obs.: This plugin requires at least one statistics/report plugin to be enabled. If your statistics plugins provide more than one metric then please also select a main metric on the admin's site settings page and/or on the journal manager's settings pages.