The Crude Distillation Unit 6 at this European oil refinery has two kerosene shell-and-tube heat exchangers purposed with recovering heat to reboil kerosene. They are 11 metres in length and experience a hard scaling precipitant on the process side and a sticky, polymerization fouling on the intermediate side.
In 2015, the Heat Transfer Engineering Team had only two options: Replace both bundles at significant procurement and downtime costs, or try something new. They opted to implement USP Technology, an Ultrasonic Clean-in-Place system.
The process team was able to extend heat exchanger run-time from 6-8 weeks to avoiding all cleaning for 3 years.
Heat Recovery Savings
Improvements in energy recovery and furnace efficiency led to annual savings of $1.4 million (USD) in the first year of service.
Duty Target Achieved
Initially hoping to achieve 6 MW Duty in this process, the Process Team was able to sustain 8 MW duty in the first year of service.
Is your process a candidate for Ultrasonic Clean-In-Place Technology?
The Decision to Implement Ultrasonic Clean-In-Place Systems
The tubes were fouled with salt deposits, with 20% of tubes being completely blocked. On the shell-side, 50L of coke and sediment deposits from the crude were accumulating to form a troublesome sticky layer inhibiting energy recovery.
None of the chemical cleaning options tried were sufficient. After only 8 years of service, the process team was considering replacement of these 11m bundles altogether. In 2015, they decided to implement the Ultrasonic Clean-In-Place (CIP) system provided by Orange Ultrasonics, USP Technology.
CDU Reboiler E-214A with USP installed
CDU Reboiler E-214B with USP installed
Results: Mitigate Reboiler Fouling with Ultrasonic CIP
Only five years later, the Process Team was having difficulties maintaining their target 6 MW Duty, and minimum allowable Duty of 5 MW.
Results: Improve Reboiler Heat Transfer with Ultrasonic CIP
See how USP Technology can unlock new capabilities in your process