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Safety and Inspection for Preventing Fouling in Oil Exchangers

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BASIC AND APPLIED SCIENCE


Insan Akademika Publications

P-ISSN: 2301-4458 E-ISSN: 2301-8038 Vol. 01, No. 02 Oct 2012

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Safety and Inspection for Preventing Fouling in Oil Exchangers


Mehrdad Setoudeh 1, Amir Samimi 2, Soroush Zarinabadi 3
1

National Iran Gas Company, Boushehr, IRAN setoudeh_m@nigc-boushehr.ir

Department of Chemical Engineering, Shoshtar Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shoshtar, IRAN amirsamimi1161@gmail.com Department of Chemical Engineering, Shoshtar Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shoshtar, IRAN dr.zarinabadi@gmail.com

Key words
Wax fouling, Fouling in the oil industry, Heat exchangers, Deposits in the industry

Abstract
One of the most costly problems in the maintenance of heat exchangers is defouling, which results in a waste of time and money. The present study includes two parts: the first section addresses fouling factor, its disadvantages, and circumstance of formation, fouling types, and general models of the fouling. In the second part, the problem of fouling in oil exchanger and particular type of fouling, namely, wax fouling in the oil mixtures has been studied. This paper reviews the fouling which is the most important parameter in designing heat exchanger and states the losses of the oil industry and other industries related to ignoring this issue. Failing to estimate this factor correctly, can result into problems in exchanger and as a result fluids of the process fail to reach the desired temperature. This paper tries to present solutions to deal with the problem of fouling in the oil industry and assesses the financial loss that comes from deposits in the industry.
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Introduction

De-fouling of the heat exchanger is the most expensive thing in the maintenance of the exchangers whichresults in a waste of capital and time. For example, costs arising from the fouling in America's industries reach $ 5 billiard in a year which imposes enormous costs on the industries. Foulingon heat transfer surfaces reduces heat transfer rate and increases fuel consumption of exchangers such as coal, natural gas resulting in increased production of carbon dioxide which lead to global warming. De-foulingis therefore inevitable causing loss of production time and enormous cost. Standards associated with the exchanger are: standard developed by the Association of tubular exchanger manufacturers in Americais used for design and construction of shell and tube exchangers. American Petroleum Institute 660 has been developed by Petroleum Association of America and is used for the design and construction of the shell and tube exchangers. API 660 developed by Petroleum Association of America is used for design and construction of air cooled exchangers.
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Fouling in Exchangers

Accumulation of unwanted deposits on the exchangers'surfaces is known as fouling in exchangers. Fouling includes crystalline, biological materials, products of chemical reactions, involving corrosion, or special materials.Foulingdeposited depends on the type of fluid (gas or liquid) transmitting through the exchanger. Deposited Layer depends on a fluid (liquid or gas) transmitting through the exchanger. Voluminal fluid may cause problem of being deposited such as decomposition of the organic liquids under thermal conditions. Fouling which is common in industry includes: a. Minerals: soil and dust, mud and sludge from the water, calcium and magnesium salts, iron oxide b. Organic materials: biological materials, bacteria (e.g., fungi), oils and lubricants and waxes, organic deposits, polymers (such bitumen) and carbon The detrimental effects of foulingare as follows: a. Reducing the heat transfer rate b. Reducing fluid flow c. Closure of industrial nozzles and valves d. Increasing thickness of the deposited layer, metal walls has been destroyed by further heat e. Increasing operating costs for chemical cleaning - Brushing f. Corrosion caused by electrolysis between fouling layers and the metal body g. Making a stop at the factory and increasing the production costs h. Increasing the rate of environmental pollution i. Increasing the metabolic rate caused by the salts which reduces the heat transfer. j. Pressure drop and reducing fluid flow k. Bursting Pipes due to too much pressure arising from clogging on them l. Shortening the tube life m. Clogging the pipes n. Reducing the exchanger and consequently engine houses efficiency o. Puncturing the tubes because of using chemicals forde-fouling p. Reducing efficiency of heating and cooling appliances, such as water heaters, packages cooling tower, and condensers q. Fouling formed on the surface of elements acts as insulation against heat transfer and consequently in a variety of appliances such as household appliances, packaging. There is a lot of energy dissipation due to deposits Fouling coefficient is given in The TEMA standard to help the designer to design the shell and tube of exchangers in a way that work satisfactorily for a while, until they are released from the circuit and be cleaned up again. Periodic cleaning of the heat exchanger causes the performance coefficient to increase. If removing the deposited layers by mechanical devices is not feasible, the chemical cleaning is used. Below are three steps in removing the fouling on the surface: 1. Permeable transferring of fouling or leading material through the boundary layer in the vicinity of solid surface or fluid flow 2. Sticking of deposited material to a surface and exchanger, itself. 3. Transferring the materials from the surface All these basic compositions show the increase of deposited materials on the surface. In mathematical terms the growth rate of deposited material is shown as the difference. respectively, the mass flow rate per area unit of deposited materials and substances that are separated from the surface. In fact, the equation shows the mass balance on the separator surface of the fluid and solid. This means that: the rate of accumulation = input - output

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If the thickness of the deposited layer is visible, for example, in case the material deposit in the tube, fluid area and surface area of the fluid passing through the tube are reduced, and this reduction is dramatic. For this amount of fluid, the fluid velocity will increase and under the same circumstances, Reynolds number will increase.

Fouling in Crude Oil Pre-Heater

Crude oil distillation unit is one of the most widely used process units in the field of energy consuming in all of the chemical industries. Selection of the best design for heat exchangers of shell and tube depends on prediction of crude oil fouling in several semi experimental models called the threshold of fouling models which has been delivered by researchers of crude oil. Chemical and physical mechanisms of fouling occur mainly by one of the flows and usually in the crude oil direction. The process of fouling occurs throughout the heat exchanger network, but the mechanism of fouling varies in the exchangers. In upstream exchangers of the desalination unit, fouling mainly is due to deposits of salts, waxes, and products resulting from corrosion. While in the downstream of desalination unit, the dominant process of fouling is chemical reaction. There are fouling threshold models related to fouling arising from the chemical reaction in sources. Basis of these models is the competition on fouling and de-fouling. Fouling threshold model is defined as the model whose parameters obtained based on the observed intensities of fouling and can be assessed under the circumstances in which the intensity of fouling reaches zero (can be ignored). The concept of fouling threshold for the first time was presented by Ebert and Panchal in 1995. They offered Fouling threshold concept by using information obtained from a pilot unit and monitoring tests and the lateral flows of Exxon Research unit. In 1997, this concept was evaluated by Panchal and his colleagues for other crude oils. Table 1 shows one of the most popular models of fouling threshold. When designing a heat exchanger, fouling coefficient must be exactly determined so the most heat exchange can be done in designing the relevant heat exchanger. In case the fouling coefficient value is not set correctly, some problems will occur in the heat exchanger performance. By increasing Fouling coefficients to 50 percents, the cost of processing exchangers of network increases up to 6/208 percents. So by this cost, some problems resulting from fouling will be copped with so that the cost of copping these problems is far more than mentioned costs. Even in this equation, using of the model is difficult unless determining the experimental conditions used to solve the problem of fouling are known.

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Table 1: Using of the Model is Difficult Unless Determining the Experimental Conditions Used to Solve the Problem of Fouling are Known

Effect of Waxy Fouling in Oil Mixture

Crystallization and fouling of waxy compounds cause many problems in production, transmission, storage and processing of crude oil or its derivatives. The clean up cost of this fouling worldwide is totaling several billion dollars in each year. The fouling problem may not only arise in heavy crude oil but may be visible in the light crude oil. Different methods to deal with this problem have been presented. Among these methods, using chemicals, because of the ease and relatively low cost, has been further expanded. Thus identifying the
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chemical composition affecting decrease of fouling and investigating effective factors on the performance of these compounds are important. Variety of inhibitory substances and their consumption, as well as amount of them,due to the mechanism of their performance on waxy fouling, have different effects onforming these kinds of fouling in different samples of oil. Chemical inhibitors which are often polymeric compounds and are composed of one polar and one non-polar part (hydrocarbon chains) result incontrolling of waxy fouling, that it is done by involving in the process of wax crystallization and influencing on each of its various stages, by reducing the growth or preventing from formation or by changing in the mechanism of crystal growth. Often the best way to prevent crystallization is using the inhibitor materials. Selecting the appropriate inhibitor compounds with oil and obtaining optimal concentrationsare also importantin decreasing the temperature of fouling. By measuring the cloud point and pour point, the influence of inhibitory compounds on formation of wax crystals and fouling in mixture can be realized.

Effect of Fouling Coefficient in Heat Exchanger of Preheater

Petroleum fouling in the heat exchangers of pre heater causes billions of dollars additional costs to refineries. For one unit of pre heater with the capacity of one hundred thousand barrel a day, one degree drop in temperature can cause fuel cost to increase by 40000 dollars and to emit 750 ton Carbon dioxide. Insome refineries of the country, fouling causes a 50 degree drop in temperature. As mentioned on the other hand, fouling increases the pressure drop, and consequently, increases the load of pumps. Pressure drop of 10 percent is more costly than problems resulting from decreasing the recovery of heat. All these problems are due to not estimating the fouling coefficients of crude oil correctly. Using equipment of increasing heat transfer can have an important influence on reducing fouling and increasing the heat transfer coefficient. Using spiral baffles can also reduce pressure drop in shell side and will also reduce fouling. But using these tools requires a high cost. Cloud point is the temperature at which, wax solid particles appear and pour point is the highest temperature in flow fluid. Accurate prediction of clouding temperature is almost impossible. Even a thermodynamic model can not accurately predict the temperature. So pour point and cloud point of the oil fluids must be determined by testing. Evaluation and comparison of inhibitors and their effect on different types of crude oil are helpful for determining the way of their function and reaction of oil sample in different manners. Some researchers have investigated deterrence and nucleus creation phenomenon and the reduction of pour temperature in the presence of polymer Doing cloud point and pour point tests on different samples of crude oil with different amount of waxes and various inhibitors is the only way to select the most appropriate deterrent. Selecting method is not simply possible and tests are required to be done according to standard methods so that researchers have the ability to compare this work with previous ones.

Conclusion

When a heat exchanger placed in service at the start of the work, heat transfer surfaces are clean but over time, heat transfer capability, due to the accumulation of sediment on heat transfer surfaces, gradually becomes low. Consider an industrial process that involves several main machines. If the whole process, because one of the heat transfer means loses its ability in the process of heat transferring, is going to be disabled, this incident is economically unpleasant. However, fouling in exchangershas widely covered the image of technology.Fouling has created severe competitiveness in reducing the production cost in the global market; it is also required to respect the Eenvironment and natural resources, not to sacrifice the improvement of work conditions in the industry.It is hopeful that by presenting this article whose main purpose is clearing the minds about serious problems of the fouling, an incentive will be provided for young researchers so that they solve these problems by presenting scientific and technological approaches and take a major step in the country industries.

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References
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