The efficiency of petrochemical reactors is intimately related to process parameters, i.e. service temperatures and pressures. Low alloyed ferritic materials, such as 2 1/4 Cr1Mo(V) and 3Cr1Mo(V) steel grades, are widely used for many years to build heavy wall reactors. This is mainly due to their good mechanical properties at high temperatures under high hydrogen partial pressures and good resistance to High Temperature Hydrogen Attack (HTHA). Depending on the grades, the ASME Code gives limitations in terms of maximum temperature that can limit the use of these low alloy grades. Moreover, above a given temperature, maximum allowable stresses are driven by the creep behaviour, leading to a strong lowering of the assumed resistance and hence to extra-thickness and weight. Many developments were done concurrently to increase the efficiency of petrochemical processes. In particular, this can lead to increase service temperatures and therefore actual pressure vessel wall temperatures. Indeed, more and more temperatures around 500°C are likely to be used, leading to reduced choice in terms of permitted steel grades. The low alloy vanadium-enhanced grades are not allowed (except using specific code case) whereas the usual grades have reduced creep allowable stresses. With a view to allowing strong improvements in admissible process parameters, a vanadium-modified 9Cr1Mo creep strength enhanced material with advanced hydrogen resistance and improved toughness was developed. Very thick plates (up to 200mm thick) were produced and tested. This contribution reports both mechanical and metallurgical assessments performed on these heavy plates. Evaluations of hydrogen resistance (HTHA) as well as creep resistance under high hydrogen pressure are also reported. The V-modified 9Cr1Mo grade exhibits an excellent behaviour in hydrogen rich environment, showing therefore some advantages in terms of service conditions. The manufacturing of heavy plates has made significant progress in the recent years, allowing thick products to be manufactured with good homogeneity and mechanical behaviour. Taking into account the maximum use temperature as well as the allowable stresses as described in the ASME BPV Code section VIII division 2, the V-modified 9Cr1Mo grade will clearly be of great interest to companies wishing to enhance the efficiency of their refining/petrochemical processes. The question of welding must also be addressed more specifically to finish validating the 9Cr1MoV option.

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