After the crude oil has passed the separation process it is led into a refinery. Here it is split into high-value products such as fuel, kerosene, naphtha, lubricant oil, LPG and also asphalt and petroleum coke.
Whilst slowly heating the crude oil, its various components can be extracted – each at a specific temperature. Most refineries are specialized on only some of the end products. The heating as an essential part of the process is done by steam or a so-called reboiler.
The heating process as such facilitates fouling in the heat exchangers. In this case, this means that parts of the crude oil stick to the inner surface of the heat exchangers. Eventually, this leads to blockage of the flow and as well reduces the heating/cooling capacity.
In consequence regular cleaning of the heat exchangers is necessary. At planned shut-downs every few years, all the equipment is dismantled and cleaned mechanically or chemically.
Improving the heat transfer and reducing fouling with Merus
Concerning the water cooling side of the heat exchanger, we have gained a lot of experience with the Merus Group all over the world. If you are interested in our successful installations in this field please follow this link: Merus Water Treatment
For the hydrocarbon side of the heat exchanger, the goal is to stabilize the heat transfer. In ideal cases existing fouling can be removed over the long term. Here the heat transfer capacity is slightly improved after the installation.
Reduced costs for heating/cooling
Improving the efficiency for heating and cooling, in the end, has economic benefits. After the installation, we expect all processes linked to the heat exchangers to be running more stable. A stabilized heat transfer directly saves fuel in the reboiler for heating the crude. In consequence, less carbon is emitted.
Apart from that less fouling in the whole system, reduces the stress for pumps and machines and increases their lifetime.