In oil refineries, the Pre-Heat Train (PHT) is a network of usually shell-and-tube heat exchangers which aims to reduce the energy requirements in the crude distillation unit, i.e. the unit where the fractionation of the all the crude-oil takes place. When the PHT does not work efficiently, more fuel must be burnt in the downstream furnace. A typical decay rate in the coil inlet temperature in the PHT is 2-5℃ per year, or 8-11℃ per year according to less optimistic estimates. A yearly average drop of 5℃ costs a refinery about €1 - €1,5 million. A 1℃ drop in the furnace coil inlet temperature has been reported to cost for a UK refinery (processing 210,000 bbl per day ) ca. €400,000 per year.
There are several modifications or enhancements that can improve heat exchanger efficiency, but unless they are installed during manufacturing, it is not cost efficient to apply them after the heat exchanger has been put to operation.
The Flow Enhancer is a shell-and-tube heat exchanger enhancement that improves crude oil flow from the header’s inlet towards the heat exchanger’s tubes. It ensures reduced turbulence, a 10% increase in tube inflow velocity and a corresponding 7°C increase in outlet temperature. The potential savings to refineries could reach up to €1.8m per year and a 9:1 return on investment.
In order to ensure the adoption of the technology, we have formed a partnership that brings together all the necessary elements: technology, manufacturing, commercialisation and scientific analysis to develop a marketing strategy based on proven results. The Flow Enhancer will increase the efficiency of European and global refineries, with significant environmental benefits, as it results in a reduction of 8 tonnes of CO2 per day for each 100k barrels processed, and has the potential to reduce EU CO2 emissions by 466k tonnes per year.
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