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Heat exchanger and biolers

Heat exchanger and biolers

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Published by JAy Patel
basic introductary part of heat exchanger and boiler is given.
basic introductary part of heat exchanger and boiler is given.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: JAy Patel on Jan 24, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/31/2013

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After the previous description of fouling, one can ask how important the whole issue really is.
Does fouling actually have a major impact on a heat exchanger and does it actually occur that
often?
Since everything in this world is all about money, these questions will also be answered by
expressing the impact of fouling in money. Actual costs e.g. for removing fouling effects for a
specific heat exchanger are unfortunately not available, but there are some data about the total
amount of costs of entire industries.

First of all, fouling costs can be separated according to how they are generated. Roughly taken,
there are four types of costs:
1) Additional capital costs or costs for special design considerations
Lots of costs in using heat exchangers can be prevented in the R&D departments of a
company. Especially when it comes to fouling. A good design can reduce the effects of
fouling and thereby the operational costs of the heat exchanger. But of course research
and design costs money.
A way to prevent fouling is to choose a bigger heat transferring surface then needed, as
discussed before. The heat exchanger will become bigger and heavier, and thereby also
more expensive.
2) Energy costs

A heat exchanger that suffers from fouling needs additional energy to keep operating at
the same level. This is because the fouling layer decreases the amount of heat transferred
as well as it increases the amount of pressure drop needed to maintain the same
throughput through the smaller cross-section. All this additional energy is pure loss.

3) Maintenance costs

A fouled heat changer has to be cleaned once in while, in order to keep the energy
needed for operation low. This cleaning can be online or offline, mechanical or
chemical, etc. Sometimes it’s needed to replace some parts of the heat exchanger, for
instance because of corrosion.
4) Costs of loss production or shutdown costs
When a heat exchanger is cleaned or maintained offline, there is no production. No
production means no income, so this is considered a loss. The effect of this shutdown
depends on the normal plant capacity and the length of the shutdown.
In recent years many research has been done to know more about the magnitude of the costs
mentioned above. These amounts were presented in total fouling costs of a complete industry or
a country. Two results from history are presented in the following table.

Cost component

U.S. (1982)

U.K. (1978)

Capital costs

$ 960 - 1280 million

100 million

Energy costs

$ 700 - 3500 million

60 million

Maintenance costs

$ 2000 million

80 million

Loss production

$ 200 million

60 million

Total

$ 3860 – 6980 million

200 million

These are of course enormously high amounts. But it gets even worse when you compare these
results with the total heat exchanger sales. For example, sales in the U.S. in 1981 totaled $ 1.5
billion, or $ 1500 million. This means that fouling costs double the sales by far! And thereby the
importance of fouling analysis is shown.

24

4P570 Energy Conversion 2 October 2003

Of course research has done a great thing in recent years, decreasing the amounts of costs
compared to the amounts of 20 years ago. Still, fouling stays a big problem in industry.

The precise moment to clean a heat exchanger also strongly depends on the costs, of course. In
the figure below this is illustrated for a simple example for a heat exchanger with a linearly
increasing fouling factor, thus linearly increasing energy costs. The heat exchanger is
periodically cleaned offline. A cleaning operation takes a certain amount of money, so when
time increases this amount per unit time will drop. The right time to clean the exchanger is
when the sum of the two is at it’s minimum:

Figure 3. 6 Simple example of choosing the cleaning moment

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