Heat exchangers are both a vital process component of every refinery and petrochemical plant and a potential limiting factor in a plant’s operations and profitability.
Plants are always striving to optimize operations. Given that they are usually operating far beyond their design limits, heat exchangers are often a bottleneck to increasing capacity or maintaining product split.
During the summertime, many process units often experience cooling limitations. Usually, these are due to warmer cooling tower water or because fin fans have become less effective.
During a turnaround, vessels need to be ‘steamed out’ to remove containments, which requires additional heat exchangers. In addition, chillers and additional exchangers are often used as part of novel approaches to quickly cool hydrotreater, hydrocracker, and reforming catalyst before opening a vessel.
This paper demonstrates how temporary heat exchangers can be installed to solve these problems and streamline catalyst cool downs.
A case study shows how a temporary heat exchanger solution helped an ethylene oxide producer avert leaking product to the atmosphere. This solution not only helped the producer avoid steep fines, but it also yielded tens of millions of dollars of profit that would otherwise have been lost.
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