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Special Report: Maximum energy efficiency, minimum investment and plot space

by Arabian Oil & Gas Staff on Aug 30, 2017


Susanne Pahlén Åklundh, president, energy division, Alfa Laval. (Image courtesy: Alfa Laval)
Susanne Pahlén Åklundh, president, energy division, Alfa Laval. (Image courtesy: Alfa Laval)

Alfa Laval offers a comprehensive range of heat exchangers for refinery processes, providing state-of-the-art technology to address everyday challenges.

In crude oil refineries, maximising profitability depends on the capability to enhance energy efficiency, reduce costs, lower emissions, utilise plot space intelligently and augment production yields according to the market demand.

Alfa Laval offers a wide range of heat exchangers that encompass everything – from specifically designed Alfa Laval OLMI shell-and-tube exchangers and air coolers, which cover high temperatures and pressures, to optimally efficient compact heat exchangers, such as Packinox, Compabloc and spiral heat exchangers.

Refinery reliability and uptime

The key to maximising refinery reliability and uptime is using established heat exchanger technologies, which require less maintenance and repair. If at all any maintenance or repair is needed for the heat exchangers, it should be easy to service, thereby minimising downtime.

Alfa Laval has provided, since the 1980s, the refinery industry with a wide spectrum of heat exchangers. Currently, world over, several thousand Alfa Laval heat exchangers are installed and operating.

Compabloc and spiral heat exchangers from Alfa Lave help mitigate fouling tendencies in duties involving visbroken residue, cracker slurry, crude preheating, and desalter sludge. Apart from this, Alfa Laval heat exchangers help remove corrosion problems and fatigue / vibration issues, which regularly cause the failure of traditional shell-and-tube heat exchangers.

To maintain Alfa Laval high-efficiency heat exchangers, minimal downtime is needed because fewer units are required to handle a specific service, In the case of Alfa Laval heat exchangers, the heat transfer area is easy to access and easy to clean. Through the Alfa Laval Performance Agreement with the customers, the company’s service engineers make sure that the Alfa Laval heat exchangers always provide the customers with highest performance.

Energy efficiency and CO2 reductions

Energy costs, in many regions, represent up to 50 percent of the total operating expenditures of refineries. Maximising energy efficiency is high on the agenda, even in regions with low energy costs, in order to reduce emissions and the refinery environmental footprint.

The refiners can maximise energy efficiency with minimal investment and plot space required, with highly efficient Alfa Laval heat exchangers such as Packinox, Compabloc and spiral heat exchangers. Crude distillation, residue upgrading and catalytic reforming are some of the processes that benefit from using Alfa Laval energy-efficient technologies. The payback on investment in Alfa Laval heat exchangers is normally less than a year.

The Alfa Laval heat exchangers are also used for waste heat recovery from low-grade energy sources. A reduction of up to 4,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year can be realised for every megawatt of energy recovered.

Solutions for high pressures and temperatures

Very high pressures (above 100 bar) and high temperatures (above 400°C) are often seen in refinery hydrogen treatment processes such as in hydrocracking units, hydrogen production units or hydrotreaters.

Alfa Laval offers, for these processes, OLMI shell-and-tube heat exchangers with special closures, such as threaded plug types and rod baffles as well as air coolers.

Alfa Laval OLMI is a specialised producer of shell-and-tubes and air coolers made of stainless steel and other special alloys, specifically for use in high pressure and high tempera- ture conditions.

Increased production

Plot space limitations will be an issue whether a refiner plan to creep the capacity of an existing process unit or add a new one to the existing refinery.

With highly efficient Packinox, Compabloc and spiral heat exchangers from Alfa Laval, the refiner can achieve maximum efficiency, using minimal plot space.


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